We had a nice weekend that involved watching Kent run a race downtown, teaching Casey to ride his tricycle, two big family gatherings, nonstop baking, trips to the playground, an adorable cousin egg hunt, Easter morning mass, board games, tons of chocolate, and thrifting and a playdate on Easter Monday.
AND, we actually had some actual nice weather for once, although you can’t tell by the fact that Casey and I are wearing winter boots and a winter jacket in these photos. I’m always cold and I never trust that it’s actually spring until a few weeks in. I was right this time – we had a blizzard happening yesterday.
I didn’t take many pictures but here are a few from Lauren’s iphone from our Saturday afternoon festivities.
We tried for a nice family picture. Casey was more interested in keeping an eye on the chocolate he had just collected and make sure no cousins got too close.
And a trip to the playground with the cousins:
Luckily, sometimes the best family photos are totally unplanned!
And of course, the requisite Easter morning picture. Please note the handfuls of chocolate… love it.
Our Christmas celebrations officially started yesterday evening, with the “lighting of the lights” ceremony downtown with Kate’s family. Casey spent most of the time running through the lit up trees yelling “wow! wow!” He’s a keeper.
Could they be any cuter?
Today we met some friends at a Dutch store in town to see Sinterklaas, the Dutch Santa, and Zwarte Piet, his elf. Casey was way too afraid to do the lap thing, but he was okay talking to Sinterklaas while I held him. I’ll take what I can get.
Note the “choo choo” in Sinterklaas’ hand. Casey never lets them get too far away! The only way I got Casey that close was by telling him that Sinterklaas wanted to see his trains.
Later I showed him a picture on my camera of Kate’s family with Sinterklaas, and he immediately brought the camera over to his three Chuggington trains and showed each of them the picture one by one. The only time he cuddles with me is while we watch Chuggington, so I approve.
I admire the couple of bloggers I’ve seen who create a list of things to do each day to enjoy the season as a family. I think we may have to start doing that too, to make this crazy time of year feel more organized and enjoyable than hectic. Do you do the list thing? What is (or what would be) on it?
Happy Halloween! This year we decided to just go ahead and be completely unoriginal or creative and just let Casey be what would make Casey happiest – which was a store bought costume of his hero, Elmo. His “smile-for-camera du jour” seems to involve closed eyes. Such a monkey.
It was a good decision. Casey loves wearing it, loves looking in the mirror at himself, loves everyone hearing everyone shout “ELMO!” when they see him, and happily keeps the hat on (miracle.)
I had the best day with my little guy! In the morning we did some daytime trick or treating and visited my parents, my Oma, a couple of friends, and surprised two of my sisters at work. Kate and Lauren and their co-workers had eaten all of the candy, so Kate’s boss reached into his lunch bag and gave Casey his banana. Ha! I was thankful for a healthy snack on the way home!
In the evening we dressed him up again and headed out around the neighbourhood. It was drizzling and cold out, but Casey was such a champ. If we asked, “Casey, do you want to go home?” he’s answer with “NO!” and if we asked, “Do you want to get more candy?” he’d say “YAH!” He wanted to do all of the walking, all of the candy-holding and choosing, and all of the knocking. He learned that if he asked for “more?” people were completely charmed and he was rewarded with boatloads of candy. He even started saying “trick or treat!”
All that candy seemed like a great idea until we got home, then we decided to give that same candy out to trick or treaters, since we hadn’t bought any. Casey was more than happy to hand it all out. We’ll see if this still seems like a good idea tomorrow!
And the best part of Halloween? A brand new nephew! Kent’s sister and brother-in-law had a little boy named Benjamin yesterday. So happy for them and psyched for Casey to have another boy cousin!
Not to talk this to death, but in case you thought I was crazy for not thinking that Casey’s hair is too long from the picture yesterday, here are a few pictures from today that show what it actually looks like now. I caught Hailey standing behind him springing his curls today. So cute!
Hope all my mom-readers had a great day! I woke up to Kent and Casey bringing me a surprise McDonalds for breakfast in bed. We took an early trip to the gym but sadly I quickly realized I was feeling pretty awful. I took a rest when we got back and then headed to a bridal shower for my cousin’s fiance. When I got back Kent had the house all cleaned and had made rhubarb muffins. Late in the afternoon my dad came by to help Kent cut down a huge tree that Kent has decided he wants out of the yard and then we all ate dinner outside. I put Casey to bed, Kent’s playing guitar in the basement, and I’m feeling like an early bedtime is in order. Just in case you wanted a play-by-play. I like doing that sometimes – it feels like old school blogging. I’d be happy to hear yours too!
And of course a big happy mothers day to my own wonderful mom and equally wonderful mother in law!
SO, official Casey-hair poll: Time to cut or not time to cut?
On Saturday while designing thank you’s for Casey’s birthday party on Picnik, I came across some templates for Valentine’s Day cards. Since they’re closing in April (SAD), all of the templates are free game so take advantage, people! All I needed to do is stick a photo of Casey in each one, print off an 8X10, cut them up, and for a couple bucks I’d have some super cute cards. When Casey woke up from his nap, I put a red red shirt on him and tried to take a picture. Unfortunately he was ridiculously sad at first (waking up to a camera in your face isn’t fun? huh.), and I could only get pictures like this:
Once he cheered up, he wouldn’t sit still for long enough to look at the camera. So that idea went out the window and I used some cute pictures Katelyn took at our family shoot a few months back.
Since I didn’t get a job today (teachers like to be in their classrooms on a fun day like Valentine’s Day, I guess), I got to go to a playgroup party with some girls that I’ve been friends with for-eva that have all had kids in the past couple of years, and our kiddos.
Casey’s Valentine was there… so I had to get a picture of them together, you know, just in case it’s ever needed!
Kent is working all evening so we’re celebrating by going out for dinner on Thursday.
And now my wee baby Valentine is awake! Time to go out for a walk! How are you celebrating today?
Casey is hardly a baby anymore but it was still his first Christmas! He missed last year’s by three days. It was a little overwhelming as we were gone for three days and went to three different family Christmas parties in that time. Our car just kept getting fuller and fuller! Now that we’re home and it’s all cleaned up and the cardboard has been put to the curb, I don’t know who is loving his new toys more – Casey or me. It’s fun showing him how everything works and to see what he can figure out.
My parents got us a La-Z-Boy recliner. Kent has been lusting after one for years so I forfeited my Christmas present from them so that we could get this chair for the office. I must say though, it’s ridiculously comfortable. It’s also good to have another comfortable spot in our small house – if one of us is playing with the babe or watching TV in the living room and the other wants some quiet it’s a perfect spot. We named her Mariah, after a woman from Florida (from a Timeshare company, we later found out) who called us last night trying to convince us that we had won not one, not two, but three vacations. She even convinced Kent to get me on the other phone, told us about how wonderful our vacations would be for a good twenty minutes (Kent even believed her up to a certain point, I however did not) …and then told us that we needed to pay her $250 a person right then and there over the phone. The conversation went something like this at that point:
Mariah: So I have this Visa that begins with a 4 and I will charge the amount to it now. [No idea how she got that... we do have one Visa but haaardly ever use it. I figured she got our info through the company we booked our trip to Cuba with, but we didn't use a Visa card. I don't know.] Kent: Oh, no, we’ll need you to email us the information and then we’ll decide. Mariah: Kent, you don’t want to miss this! The information I said I would email you is the trip itinerary that you get after you pay. So I’ll charge the amount to your Visa now. Me: Please don’t charge anything to our Visa. Mariah: $250 for all that we are giving you, plus you can bring two extra couples for free is an amazing opportunity. Did I mention the “swim with the dolphins” experience in the Bahamas? It is truly amazing. So I’ll now be charging that amount to your Visa. Kent: Mariah, you really aren’t going to get any further with us, so for your sake we should end this conversation now. Mariah: Many vacation companies book trips just like this one through the phone. It’s a totally legitimate way of doing business. So I’ll now be charging your Visa. Kent: …Is this a recording? Mariah: Why would you say that, Kent? Kent: Because you aren’t listening to a word I’m saying…
We even hung up at one point because it wasn’t getting through to her… AND SHE CALLED BACK and continued right on with this schpiel. This woman was relentless and wanted her commission like no other. It amazes me that people can do this to others and still live with themselves. In the end, Kent let her down gently and basically hung up on her because otherwise I have no doubt we’d be on the phone with her for a few hours. The problem was by the end we both really liked her – her sales pitch skills were incredible and she’d be so much better off working for a legit company and do really well. Oh, well. Afterwards Kent was so disappointed because for a few minutes he had thought we really had won a vacation. He was all, “But people really do win vacations, right?” I said, “Yes.. but we definitely didn’t.”
Anyways! Back to Christmas. I wasn’t expecting to go off on that tangent, making this the weirdest Christmas recap of all time. We didn’t take many pictures – the only ones we took were from Christmas morning. We were at Kent’s parents’ house, in case the house looks unfamiliar.
I was reading through Five Blondes and found this survey that Lauren took.
1)Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? White hot chocolate! Last year Kent and I drank white hot chocolate every time we waited in the hospital before our prenatal class started, and he bought some for me every day of our four day hospital stay after Casey was born. So needless to say, white hot chocolate has some wonderful connections for me. Except that last week I tried to create a white hot chocolate date downtown for us with the babe and it totally bombed. So we might have to recreate that one because I’d like it to be a yearly tradition.
2)Does Santa Wrap Presents or Just Sit Them Under The Tree? He wraps them in these bags!
3)Colored Lights or White Lights. I have white because they are attached to my fake tree. I think I might like coloured better – never really thought about it though.
4)Do you hang Mistletoe? No, but I totally should!
5)When Do You Put Your Christmas Decorations Up? Sometime in the end of November or beginning of December.
6) What is Your Favorite Holiday Dish? Turkey, mashed potatoes, caesar salad, meatballs. My comfort food.
7) Favorite Holiday Memory as a Child.
Getting up really, really, really ridiculously early with my sisters every year.
8)When and How Did You Learn The Truth About Santa?
I don’t remember at all… probably wasn’t that traumatic. I think I was in grade two.
9) Do You Open a Gift on Christmas Eve?
We have a family get together on Christmas Eve with a gift exchange.
10)How Do You Decorate Your Christmas Tree?
Umm, I put ornaments on it? I don’t do a “theme” tree or anything like that. I’m not that hardcore.
11)Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it for a month or two, then dread it.
12)Can You Ice Skate? Yes sir.
13)Do You Remember Your Favorite Gift? Hmm, Kent made me a scrapbook once. I love getting homemade things.
14)What’s The Most Important Thing About The Holidays For You? Spending lots of time with family and friends, and from now on it will be making the holidays special for Casey.
15)What is Your Favorite Holiday Dessert? Pavlova!
16)What is Your Favorite Holiday Tradition? Holiday Home Tours, parades, Christmas Mass, coming up with great gift ideas, going to the mall when it’s ridiculously busy (I know most people hate it, but I love it. As long as I’m done my shopping, or most of it), getting together with my family and Kent’s, decorating my house, all my sisters being in one place at the same time. As Casey grows up I need to start creating our own little family traditions.
17) What Tops Your tree? Nothing! How sad is that! I’ll put it on the garage sale list for this summer!
18) Which Do You Prefer: Giving or Receiving? Giving, when I know the gift I picked out is really good. I don’t really like opening gifts in front of crowds at all.
19)What is Your Favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night
20)Candy Canes…good or bad? Good!
21)Favorite Christmas Show? To Grandmother’s House We Go. I can pretty much quote the entire thing.
22) Saddest Christmas Song? Silent night – that was Lauren’s answer and I’ll agree.
One year I was looking for a seasonal job. I got an interview with a popular home decor store and sat on a bench in the mall with the interviewer. At the end of the interview, she asked this question:
Interviewer: How are you at gift wrapping?
Me: (Ughh, not very good. But I can’t say that because this job obviously involves gift wrapping. I’ll just go home and watch YouTube videos to teach myself.) Oh, I’m pretty good!
Interviewer: What would you give yourself out of ten?
Me: (A four? Can’t say that…) About an eight.
Interviewer: Wow, an eight? No one else has said anything higher than three! Why don’t you come into the store right now and wrap something for me.
Me: (TOTAL SENSE OF DOOM.) Sure!
So I followed her into the storage room where she presented me with a tiny table, a huge empty box (have you ever tried to wrap a huge empty box? No, you have not because it is not normal to wrap huge empty boxes. It caves in on you like crazy), and a giant roll of plaid wrapping paper – meaning any lines that weren’t perfect would be painfully obvious.
The result was not pretty. When the interviewer examined it she said, “Not bad… I don’t think it’s an eight but maybe it’s a six” (I think she was just being nice.)
Did I get the job? I got called in for a second interview – I know, a second interview for a two month seasonal job in the mall? I didn’t even have a second interview for substitute teaching! I didn’t need to take the interview though because I got another job in the meantime.
So maybe this is part of why I now stick to handmade bags.
How are your gift wrap skills on a scale of 1-10? Have you ever had to prove them?
I was at the mall with Kent and Bowie last week when Kent saw the big Santa display. He was dying for Bowie to get his picture taken with Santa but I was all, “Nooo there’s no snow on the ground! It’s November! It doesn’t feel like Christmas! And he’s wearing orange! Let’s wait until after Cuba! Move along, move along!”
That evening he told me he wanted to have a “really good family day” later that week since it would be his last full day with Bowie before we went on vacation. When I asked what he wanted to do, his eyes lit up and he said “It involves a jolly old man!” I think I set myself up for that one.
So since I apparently have no backbone (slash, didn’t really care that much about waiting until after Cuba for Santa photos) off we went for some pictures on Santa’s lap. Bowie was totally unfazed by the whole experience. He just enjoyed the fact that mommy, daddy, and the photographer were dancing around trying to make him smile. Worked like a charm… Santa, on the other hand, was not cracking, as you can tell. He obviously hasn’t watched as many episodes of America’s Next Top Model as I have because the concept of smiling with his eyes hasn’t sunk in. He there wasn’t even any ho-ho-ho-ing or “What do you want for Christmas?” to the babe. It was all about the picture. I heard some of that to the older kids later, so I guess he’s just not a baby Santa.
(The sweatpants. I know. What was I thinking?)
…and then Santa robbed us.
Okay, not exactly, but do you have any idea how much Santa pictures cost in this day and age? If, like me, you haven’t had kids at Christmas , you’re probably thinking, $5, or maybe $8, max. The cheapest package was $12.99 plus tax. The most expensive? 49.99!!!!!!!! (and yes, there were packages. I know.) I guess I don’t need to tell you which package we went with. And I think I’ve now effectively taken all of the holiday joy out of this experience.
I will say that they did do a really good job. The photographer took about 20 pictures and really took her time on them (it probably helped that there was no line.) Then we went through all of them on a computer screen to choose our favourites, and she was as invested in it as I was. So now we have this huge honkin’ 6X8 picture of Bowie on Santa’s lap in our living room. And Kent put the little proof that they gave us in his wallet. Which is pretty adorable. Maybe even $13.76 worth of adorable.