Saturday, December 29, 2012

Glimaces of Christmas

Christmas has come and gone once again. It's two days away from a new year and my boys' January birthdays. We stayed local this year in light of our upcoming travels in March to B.C. for my sister's wedding. Thanks to Amazon, I didn't have to stand in any lines, and the non-discript brown 'smiley' boxes that arrived didn't peak much curiosity with the children. Here's a few pictures from our big day...

 Our resident handy-man and tool-guy...

 "What? I'm not supposed to be behind the gate? It's Camille's fault!"

Big Buzz Lightyear and Little Buzz Lightyear. No explanations needed.

This really was a good Christmas for our family. Earlier in the month I hosted my second annual cookie-exchange with twelve other moms from Russell's elementary school. The simple act of hospitality really opens up the doors (literally!) for friendship, as it is so rare nowadays to be invited into somebody's home- and to be served a hot cup of coffee and a fresh cinnamon roll. Never underestimate the impact of these acts.

Since the school children were still in school during the cookie-exchange, two of the moms asked if I would share the Nativity story with their children, so the following week we hosted an after-school "Nativity Party" complete with snacks, story, and simple craft. I was amazed at the thirst the children had for a story that was true and not just another fantasy story. 

Finally, the thrill of our season was the answered prayer that we prayed daily for the month of December- that one of our friend-families would attend the Christmas Eve service with us. And. They. Did. A year ago, I was given a polite but clear "no thank-you..." This year, an excited "yes!" This family has burdened our hearts and it has been so amazing to see God stir their souls and cause them to question what faith is and why we believe what we believe.

A final sign-off for the year of 2012! May 2013 be a year of renewed blessings for us all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Autumn in a glance

Summer has long ago wrapped up but this Canadian-Cali-girl hangs on as long as possible. That means enjoying garden tomatoes long past Labor Day and "hooky" beach days in October, when school just doesn't seem as important. Dan and I and the kids met my parents at Lassen National Park in mid-September for some 'camping' (i.e. air conditioned cabin with a kitchenette).

 Definitely a must-return in the years to come. So much to explore... and so few people to shoulder around. It was only a 5 hour drive from home as well!

 This September marked ten years of marriage. My parents took care of Russell and Camille for the two nights while we had Elliott with us. Another ten years, we'll have a house full of teens- which I don't think Dan will mind so much;-)

 October was Camille's month of birthday celebration. "Toy Story" is the best thing in her mind, and the fact that Buzz can fly just makes her dream of the day that she can. We celebrated with neighborhood friends and  Lemon Cake.

 A last splash in the pool before the chill of Fall finally set in for good. Elliott LOVES water, sand, and dirt. He is the only one of my children that embraced sand in infancy instead of screaming. A few handfuls in the mouth, and he was off scooting and chasing the seagulls with all the effort he could afford.

A few more pictures remain on my cell phone. Memories pop up despite the lack of a real camera in tow. These days are very long (often) but photographs prove that the years are too short. May we as parents cherish the youth our children hold because all too soon they'll be grown.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Summer memories

Life tends to drag by in the dreariness of winter but it roars by in the warmth and sun of the summer. After Russell's school year ended May 31st, we started to make arrangements and get ready for our two-week trip to the NW and B.C. It's been four years since we drove to Vancouver Island and back to the Bay, this time with three children in tow instead of one. The drive up was very difficult on the two youngest but we all adjusted to Grandpa and Grandma's house on the Island once we had a good night's sleep.

 Great-Grandma (Nana) meeting Elliott for the first time... 99 years apart!

Grandma and Camille at the Forest Discovery Museum on the Island. 

We celebrated my Dad's 65th birthday with friends and family and then spent another few days with them. Mom and Dad made sure the grandkids had a fun time- and so did we:-) My youngest sister Andrea and her husband Kris were kind to visit from Edmonton since we hadn't seen them since Christmas 2010. I had the opportunity to see a few friends in the evenings once Elliott was in bed and didn't need to be nursed, but I would have loved to see more (Tanya W and Jen K, if you're reading;-) We blitzed back down south on the I-5 later the following week and spent a few precious hours with friends as well, before attacking the Eugene-SF Bay leg of our trip. Amazingly, all the kids did great- what a blessing.

The Sunday after we returned home was Canada Day (July 1st), so that called for a grill-out and guests! We've been friends with each couple since moving here in 2004/2005 and it's been fun to see the families grow over the years. Elliott and another baby boy didn't make the picture this time. 

Not to be outdone, Independence Day was a few days later. Dan and I celebrated at the local block party with food and friends and fireworks. I had taken Camille and Elliott home early but they still didn't sleep until late due to the explosions and noise.

 A (literal) taste of summer! Fresh cherry tomatoes for our tummies and ripening squash and peas and sunflowers to come.

I was in Target last week and the 'Back to School' displays were already up. I averted my eyes and instead bought ice-cream and cones and Popsicles to continue our celebration of summer:-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Family of 5

This picture above is our only (therefore, first!) family picture we have of the five of us. Perhaps by Christmas, we'll have another but for now, this is my cherished photo:-) We went out to dinner on Saturday night for a pre-Mother's Day meal instead of fighting the crowds on Sunday. The older two children did fine but Dan ended up pacing around with Elliott for a good part of the time- he likes to keep moving! Sunday was a relaxing day with another empowering sermon from one of our pastors. Although I dearly miss our old church, our new church home has had a spiritual banquet of lessons for us to learn.

 Russell now knows that we will let him order whatever he wants when we go to a restaurant (his palate is limited, so I know it won't be steak for a few more years!) and he was heartbroken that he couldn't order the chocolate chip pancakes (he's learning to read, hence reading menus as well) but we insisted that he order something else since it was 6pm by this time- and we'd be back another weekend for the pancakes.
Dining with Littles isn't easy since we don't want other couples' dining experiences to be miserable but Camille did great... and in a few year, Elliott will as well. Until then, we'll keep McD's on our 'restaurant' list;-)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

A Day at a City Farm

Russell's kinder class had the last of their three field trips for the year this past Thursday. They went to Prusch Farms in San Jose. In the past, I'm sure the farm was massive with several hundred acres but now it's probably no more than ten acres, situated under a major freeway interchange. (Welcome to California living!) The farm has the requisite animals; chickens and roosters, pot-belly pigs, ducks and geese, rabbits, a few head of cows, and one massive turkey- who is quite smart and lives on top of the rabbit coop where hundreds of children's hands can not reach him. 

The day we went there were a lot of schools there, ours having 100 kinder's alone. It was important to Russell that we joined him on his special day as I have not been able to help out in his class as other parents have, just due to the fact of Camille and Elliott being a distraction (at best). Russell gave us a smile at first but mostly just ignored us;-) He said later he was glad we came, so that's all that matters.

 The best picture of all: Russell and his three classmates joined with Camille and another preschool aged friend from down the street. Happy times!! Three weeks left of school, then summer break, then first grade!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Last weekend (4/22/12) we celebrated Camille's 2 1/2 birthday with grilled Martha Stewart's Chicken Souvlaki (yum!!) and fudgy chocolate cake, and with friends from down the street. It was a taste of summer and good times to come... 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Three Months Old

Happy three months to our "Little Bear."  He likes to lay in the bouncy seat and just ramble/talk to himself. He lights up like a lightbulb when either Camille or Russell come to entertain him, and he kicks his feet like he imagines himself running around after Big Bro and Sis. He's a happy little fellow when he decides that all is well and life is good!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Photo Drop

Before another month passes, I wanted to offload a few pictures. Above are my boys... Russell in March '06 and Elliott in March '12. I can see their facial differences starting to develop but they still both have the chunky cheeks! (Yes, the same batch of washclothes, six years later. Money well spent;-)

 The morning sun in the living room seems the best to capture the true colors of the kids...

 And a quick moment on my bed where no-one was getting smooshed...

 ... and the smooshing begins.

This school year has flown past. Russell has two months left of kindergartan and then summer break begins. We'll continue his swim lessons throughout the summer and we hope to drive north to B.C. in June, but otherwise, a quiet summer. This summer will be more fun for the children as they now have friends in the neighbourhood in addition to friends on the Peninsula. One mom and I are planning on kid-swapping each week to give the other mom a morning to herself.

Hope to post more next week with the Easter pix!

Friday, February 10, 2012

A few pictures...

 My two sweet boys...

... and Camille...

The only picture I have to date of me and my munchkins... 

... and Grandma and Papa visiting for ten days last week...

... and our brand new six year old!

I don't know if we've had a break from coughs and colds since early December but we still have managed to do a few fun things (minus missing MOPS and Sundays at church:-( Elliott was born on the 17th and my parents came into town on the 27th. It was nice to have them here and to have the extra set of hands I wish I had on a daily basis. We went out for Russell's 6th birthday (the 31st) at a local restaurant (yeah- kids eat free night!) and then on February 4th, celebrated with family friends and school friends- bouncy house at the mall included.

I hope we don't limp along with colds and coughs until spring (seven weeks and counting!) but if the other children in Russell's K class are an indication, it could be a while yet before all of us go to church together... and we don't regret it by Tuesday (the traditional day when kids get sick from germs at church. Grr.).