Girls Week in London

You may have noticed in May if you follow me on Instagram that I had a seemingly sudden trip of a lifetime to visit my dear friend who lives in London, England. I wanted to record a few more details of the whole experience for my own failing memory (#momory) and also for any curious blog stalkers who may be curious why and what was going down.

One of my dearest lifelong friends, the Maid of Honour at my wedding, Mary, moved to Europe a number of years ago. Since her family lives in my hometown she was always coming back occasionally to visit me (and them, I suppose) but in the past 6 or so years, we never had more than a few hours together each year for a lunch or tea, or her wedding.

Mary and her husband and their beautiful daughter live in central London now, and since we both turned 30 this year we had talked more than a year ago about arranging a trip for me to come visit her. The plans fizzled out when she and then I got pregnant, but then suddenly were re-kindled when her husband so kindly and generously asked me to come spend a week that he had to travel for business and he wanted someone to come keep her company. My own wonderful husband stepped up to the plate of taking care of our 3 for a full week, with lots of help from my Mom and Dad, so plans were finalized and I had a few weeks to prepare, get a new passport, worry and wonder if the kids and I could make it apart from each other for so long, and then finally head over the ocean.

Taking the kids to the park before we headed to the airport

The goal of our time together was for me to help Mary take it easy and maybe even make her life a tiny bit easier by being around to help with her 4 month old. But we snuck in a little bit of walking the city and seeing some sites from afar and filled the rest of the time with the most wonderful food and conversation.

In front of Buckingham Palace

It just so happened, and I only found out about the coincidence after my tickets were booked, that my older sister Katelyn had an overnight layover in London while I was going to be there. She was on her way home to Atlanta from the Holy Land. It turned out to be another incredible gift of the trip to get to spend a few uninterrupted hours in conversation with her catching up and hearing all about her pilgrimage.

I tried to keep a little journal note of the places we saw each day, and I will share that along with some pictures of the highlights  (Sorry it’s LONG!) But I also wanted to share some of the other reflections that having actually some time to think and reflect gifted me with.

I was really blown away by how needed and enjoyable it was to have time to think. I guess I hadn’t noticed just how thinly I have been stretched the past few months, but it was so wonderful to get time to organize my thoughts and think about bigger and better things than the immediate and urgent, and it inspired some of the longer lasting efforts I’ve maintained to keep up with things (such as youtube lectures) that keep my mind active since the trip.

I also was so happy to get to focus on my friendships and benefit from the incredible gift of wonderful friends. Truly, friendship is such a gift and should be fostered even when it entails sacrifice. It was hard in some ways to leave the kids and trust that they could survive without me (spoiler alert – they did fine, as did I) but it was very worth it!

Riding the Tube

Day 1

Mary suggested I take NoJetLag to help with the flight, and along with frequent walk/stretch breaks, lots of water drinking, and trying to sleep instead of WATCH ALL THE MOVIES, the flight went really well and I didn’t have any tough jet lag when I got there. Or maybe I just had no sleep routine/habits to get out of so I didn’t notice much difference.

Mary met me at the Gatwick airport and we tried to find the best train route to the city – Whew!! there are a lot of trains and options! I was so grateful to have her there to help me figure it out. There were some train delays but we eventually got to London Bridge Station and walked around their old flat, near the Tate museum, had amazing sandwich and tea in a sweet little cafe and talked constantly as we walked through Borough Market (traders have been trading here 1000 years) and got flowers, coffee and bread, passed the Globe Theater. Walked toward the Shard building, stopped to nurse baby, took the metro to their stop walked through gorgeous park to her flat for bath and dinner and endless chatting and catching up of all the things.

I was so amazed by the old and new architecture meshed together, the little gardens and very Un-grid-ed streets of flats and row homes. Kids walking home from school along the canal streets and riding their scooters in their uniforms, the beautiful park, the small space living, watching Mary be a mom to her sweet little girl. Amazing buckwheat crepe with emmental cheese and ham and fried egg. {These really are the best and I will share the recipe in a separate post because, the kids still eat them and we love them and they are gluten free (if that’s a concern for you) and so good.}

Day 2

We took the tube to Buckingham Palace, walked through Green Park, walked to Fortum & Mason (the Queen’s Grocer!) luxury goods, hats and scarves and their fancy nursing room, Gotta trust Mary to know all the posh places to stop and nurse a baby! Then we walked to Liberty to explore and see the Loewe collection and Carnaby shopping area. Had chicken pot pie (on my food London Bucket List!) at Le Pain Quotidien. I really wanted to see Selfridges (after watching ALL the shows and documentaries on them) so we walked through and but mostly check out the Selfridges food court (tried Tsuki Mochi– YUM!) and ambled through Oxford Circus, the Mayfair shopping district and then headed back to the tube and home during rush hour. Skyped the kids, Mary made a delicious supper, (again, I prove just how helpful I am) Then movie night; Bridget Jones Diary obvs.

Selfridges

Day 3 Thursday

Sleep in til 1! 1 pm! SERIOUSLY!!! So much for me being helpful with Mary and the baby. We leave at 2 to walk through the City Farm and get to the dock for a water taxi along the Thames past all the sights visible from the river. Tower bridge, London Bridge, Tower of London, the Eye, the Houses of Parliament. Walk up past Westminster Abbey, stop in at a department store (House of Fraser) and find the pink and blue tea room and have tea and scones there before heading to the Westminster Cathedral for a beautiful Holy Mass sung by their famous boys choir. Explore the cathedral, walk across the river and down past Mary’s old flat to meet our friend for dinner at a cute Italian restaurant. Take the bus home late. Skype kids and Brian and stay up too late.


Day 4 Friday

Woke up 9:30. Read, visited, headed out at 12 to walk through Mary’s area and meet her friend (and my friend now!) Marie at a cafe. Amazed at the beautiful old gorgeous winding lanes, canals, parks. Had croissants in the park beside the cafe and visited with Marie and her 3 kids for a long time, walk more through the Rotherhithe area, saw site of the launch of the Mayflower, Brunel Tunnel site, king Edward manor ruins, townhomes Mary’s wants to move into, and beautiful parks. Ended at Marie’s and have tea of course, then walked more to a great restaurant for fish and chips and then home, house and hours of GREAT discussion and conversation, and staying up in extroverts delight til 3am.

This little cafe just blew my mind!

Saturday

Headed to the National Gallery walking through Trafalgar Square, also saw Bob again and met Coco the Parrot, we walked through Convent Garden marketplace, and then Bob and I headed to Heathrow so I could meet Katie and brought her to Mary’s for the night, very good conversation, hearing about her trip to the Holy Land and catching up for the first time in probably 5 years without being distracted by babies.

Van Gogh

Sunday

Wake and leave early for Mass at the Farm Street Church (Jesuit parish, Immaculate Conception) BEAUTIFUL Latin sung Holy Mass. Get lunch at Pret, walk Katie though Fortnum&Mason to see the glamorous shower caps that millionaires must wear and saw glimpses of sunshine in Green Park, Londoners coming out like ants for the first Sunny day of the whole week. Took Katie to the train station. Katie went to the the airport for her flight home and Mary and I headed toward home and enjoyed walking in the sun along the canals and got tea at The Pear Tree Cafe and talked talked talked.  Mary made her wonderful buckwheat crepes again and Marcos arrived home from his trip and had the sweetest reunion with his baby again, I think around now I start to miss my babies. I give them some alone time and finish watching the Rubin and Jordan Peterson Interview and talked to Brian.

Monday

Marcos accompanied me on the trains to Gatwick and we had a wonderful discussion, got to know him much better and looking forward to the visit to Canada that they will have this summer in August.

Side note – in browsing the fancy shops I found the perfect perfume if I ever win the lottery. Jo Malone Rare Tea  Darjeeling

All in all it was such a great trip and I am so thankful to Mary and Marcos and Brian and my mom and dad and everyone else who made it possible, and if I have it my way at all, this won’t be the “trip of a lifetime” but just the first of many!

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Quick Takes of Summer

I might have to make this a Quick Takes (Good thing I am starting on Tuesday, and look at that – finishing on Friday!) Because I want to blog but don’t know/there is too much? To write about – which seems to happen when I post only once every 2 or 3 months.

  1. I have kept a list of all the books I started reading since March and there are 19 Titles! … the even more impressive part (to me) is that 8 of them are checked off as actually fully, cover-to-cover, finished. Some others are more of the longer Spiritual reading tomes that I will return to in time, and others of the unfinished bunch were non fiction types that I skimmed and took the parts that I thought might help and left the rest. Either way, I  am impressing myself in a tiny way.
  2. I have also been dedicating some time to keeping my brain from turning to mush by watching lectures on You Tube (homeschooler or what) but I am just enjoying it so much, having BIG ideas in my brain and not just the day to day mundane taking over and frustrating me. So far I have followed along with Jordan Peterson’s ongoing Lecture Series on the Psychological Significance of the Bible Stories. There are 5 lectures so far and they are each over 2.5 hours so it’s like being back in school pretty much, but it is very interesting stuff.
  3. I’m still super pregnant. (and so are almost all my sisters!) 33 weeks now, and people tell me I look small (thank you, kind people) but it sure doesn’t feel like that when I try to roll over in the night.
  4. I feel like I spent my energy on “Summer” activities in May and the beginning of June – which was so much fun, we did some weekend trips to see friends and sisters, trips to local little attractions etc. and now I am sparingly using my tiny bit of energy to get to the lake once or twice a week with friends and, that’s about it. The pool in the back yard and lots of Popsicles and I am hoping some nesting urge kicks in because I have got absolutely nothing ready for this new arrival.
  5. We did make a tiny bit of headway this past weekend on our biggest baby preparedness step we need to take – upgrading our vehicle. I wanted to really give cheaper minivans a chance and so we spent an afternoon trying to fit our 4 car seats into  something cheaper that the highly recommended for families (and now we know why)  Honda Odyssey. But it seems other van makers don’t really try to hard to accommodate more than 2 or 3 car seats with any real effort, so now in the next week or two we have to find an used one within our budget and snatch it up.
  6. Other things on my baby list of to dos is:
    1. wash some of the newborn clothes/blankets
    2. set up the baby room for a newborn baby, raise Tessa’s old crib up to baby level, put the change table back in there etc
    3. find and set up a bassinet in our room
  7. I am going to work this weekend on my London Re-cap post of my trip in May – adding in the pictures (since lots of it is already written) so that it my goal for myself. Lets see if I can meet the Challenge
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Rocking Motherhood

Awhile ago Jen tagged me in a Rocking Motherhood blogging challenge. Today I am attempting to fulfill it because it seems like the hardest thing I could blog about right now. Today’s been rough, and this whole week, and honestly the past few months, and in a lot of ways I know I dwell on the things that aren’t going well or have been total failures lately, so maybe some positivity would be good for my mindset. So here are some ways in which I’ve been “Rocking” it at motherhood lately.

  1. I say Yes and No carefully.
    The kids have been in a few select activities this semester. Clara was in an excellent music program (that I did as a child – with the same teacher) and she and Hugh participated in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd which my mom was teaching and was SO GOOD. We also went to mothers group (which has a great babysitting/playschool program for the kids) and frequented Story Time at the library. It wasn’t too much and it certainly is showing its effects in what they are learning and talking about, so I think it was a pretty good job of selecting the right amount of activities outside of the house for all of us. And that took a lot of saying No to cool things and fun opportunities that for one reason or another might have pushed us as a family over the “too much” line, even if I personally would have enjoyed having more “Things” to do.
  2. The kids can entertain themselves, and each other.
    I find that the mornings we are at home, while I work on things in the kitchen, (meal prep, dishes, whatever) the kids will often come up with a fun and very imaginative game to play together, happily. And as long as I don’t sit down, make any sounds or do anything tooo interesting that they have to get in on, that they play happily with themselves for awhile. This morning the game was Clara was the aunty and Hugh was a kid but the mom had died (I was told I was the grandma) so she had “taken over” and she was taking her son Huey to Church and since he behaved well at church they go tot go to “the beach” so the game turned to Swimming so on went their swim suits (and they have been on ever since – its 7:52pm – it was a home day today).
  3. The kids are becoming literate
    We reached the age where Clara and Hugh are happy to listen to read aloud REAL chapter books for bed time. We have read Peter Pan and are on the 4th book of the Little House on the Prairie series which we are moving through really quickly! They will also ask for audio books on car trips and sometimes just while we are colouring or again working in the kitchen, so Clara and I have listened through some of the Anne of Green Gables series, and are in the middle of Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as Wizard of Oz and shes listened to Dr. Dolittle twice… I love it and am getting to read some books I have always wanted to or barely remember and its fun to have stories to talk about that are more elaborate and not from TV shows.
  4. Reading Lessons
    Speaking of which, with me totally failing on any “formal preschool” if that’s a real thing, Clara’s picked up on so much with letter writing and showed great interest in learning to read, so we are moving through “Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons” and she looks forward to her reading lessons and asks to do 2 at a time, so as long as I fight for the 20 minutes we need without other kids or things interrupting us each day, I hope we can finish before the baby comes so she can read him or her stories!
  5. We Eat Homemade Almost Everything
    I don’t know why exactly, but getting take out doesn’t really cross my mind as an option, so pretty much every meal every day is a home made something or other, usually decently healthy, despite the huge amount of work that is.
  6. Their Messes don’t Take Over
    Its so much work to stay on top of, but our house is usually generally tidy and things haven’t been really out of control messy in a long time. There are always things to be picked up and bathrooms that really should be scrubbed, but I never have to say no or be embarassed if a friend were to stop by and when we want to do a thorough clean its usually possible with out too much effort. I have my husband to thank for most of this because he is a saint and cleans the whole kitchen, no matter how messy it is, every night before he goes to bed.
  7. I’ve pursued a few of my “own things”
    Knowing the danger of having my kids be the be all end all of life, I have made time and sought direction in carefully establishing a few of my own things to make part of my time. Reading (which takes great effort for me) and finding a spiritual director and a few more things to feed my soul (like going on a 4 day retreat) as well as getting a little involved in local politics, organizing and hosting multiple Saint Peg Doll Swaps, and occasionally making time for some hobbies and catching up with old friends… It sounds like a lot but really that’s spread out a LOT and still 99% of my time and effort is probably spent at home, focused on my family and vocation, but still I am glad I have made the efforts I have and I really enjoy the but I am pretty sure they haven’t ever been too much or taken away from where my first focus should be, and that’s not always a easy balance to find.
  8. I’m not intimidated by glitter
    I let the kids get messy and do projects, even ones that involve paint and glitter. I enjoy crafts myself a lot, but its still hard to let them just go wild knowing I will have to clean it all up or even worse – have to walk them through cleaning it up “themselves” as a learning opportunity… But we still do it and have lots of beautiful “art” to show for it.
  9. I take care of myself
    I mentioned in my last post starting physio for some issues I suspected, it was really not easy to make that call and I usually can ignore my own little discomforts but I am glad I am learning to take care of myself and do hard things
  10. I’m patient and punctual
    I know it takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r to get the kids dressed or in the car or anything like that, so I plan for it and give us SO much time and am not usually surprised by anything that makes us late, in fact sometimes things go better than average and we end up places decently early, without any yelling on my part.

So that felt like a whole lot of needless bragging… but, Blogging a list of 10 or 100 ways I feel like I am failing at this whole things would have only taken a tenth of the time and thought, so Its good to focus on the positive. I know most of the bloggers I might have tagged have probably been tagged already, so if you have been tagged and have ignored it, consider this your reminder tag and get to it! We would love to see what you have to say!!

 

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Pregnancy #4 update – 23 weeks

I’ve kind of left this blog hanging since announcing our new baby on the way, and that was gosh a long time ago. Excuses excuses, we haven’t had a working computer in 4 or 5 months, but now we do so I will try again! Pregnancy wise, we are at 23 weeks now with this one, more than half way so its certainly time for an update for posterity sake!

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Now that all of them have made official announcements I can also add here that to build on the excitement of our baby due August 16, my sister Emma (the one who had  a son exactly one week before our Hugh was born) is due with her second on August 17! AND my sister Anne is expecting her first on August 30! Its the summer of #tripletcousins!
And there are even more babies arriving on my husbands side of the family, my sister-in-law had her second at the end of March, and another sister-in-law is expecting her first in June! Babies everywhere!

We are once again waiting til birth to find out if its a boy or girl (so are my 2 sisters – so much suspense!!) but we’ve had a few ultrasounds and gotten to see mostly the baby’s spine… since he or she decided to be very un-cooperative and not turn over, but either way, things are looking good. Baby is growing and moving and making their presence known, both visually and through the evening ritual of lovely heartburn and hunger.

I feel relatively well. Lets be honest, it’s pregnancy and a winter of eternal colds and sickness for the 1.5, 3 and 4.5 year old so its been  unbearably pretty tiring, but there are no major complaints so of course I am really thankful for that. And now lent is over so I can motivate myself to get through the day with jelly beans like I am a toddler, but hey, do what works!

I haven’t needed to go back to the chiropractor (yet) which I sort of miss (except the price tag and the unbearable hip pain – I really love the lady I was seeing!) I have started to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist to counteract the effects of 4 pregnancies in 5 years and as awkward as that can be, I think its worth it and I hope I can do the exercise and improve my posture and hopefully fend off any serious damage. it definitely IS awkward, but not nearly as bad as I was dreading, if its something you’ve ever thought “hay maybe I should look into….” but stopped yourself because, AHH!! I say do it.

I am thinking of planning a few different elements for the babies arrival this time around; a doula/birth photographer friend of mine to capture the event, and maybe even venturing into the world of a birth pool/water birth, which I have never tried before, so we will see how plans continue to evolve. I think my subconscious wants to change it up to make it a little more of something to look forward to, as much as that is possible.

Of course I am excited to meet and get to know this little person, but the reality (of 3, let alone 4)  is still way overwhelming and as much as people keep telling me “three is the hardest!” its a little hard to imagine how that is possible while corralling 3 and it is a bit bewildering to attempt to work out how a forth will add to that without leveling up the difficulty, so we will have to wait and see! And keep myself busy with planning and mental nesting since the energy to actually do any physical nesting is nowhere to be seen.

Until we meet again!

 

 

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January in a Coconut Shell 

[A short quick update that isnt actually super short? Or is it? I can’t tell from this silly phone!]
I really want to write more but the desktop computer we bought turned out to be a total dud and I avoid it at all costs unless absolutely necessary. And so far blogging hasn’t seemed necessary. Phone written posts are so hard to proof read and edit so forgive me if there are terrible auto corrected words all over the place. 

We took the kids to the mall today so they could spend the lucky dollars they got from Chinese New Year and Hugh had a few other dollars from his birthday. No luck finding the double Lego minifig scabbard at the Lego store, so they settled on some jelly beans and he got a race car at a cute toy and games shop.

It’s gotten cold again. But in a desperate effort to avoid cabin fever we walked to the mail box (correction, I walked) the way there was a cheery IGStories worthy moment of cuteness and the way home (in total about 14 minutes) was a tear filled, dragging, running away, nearly frost bitten exercize in humiliation. So, it just goes to show that no, it’s not worth it in the cold. 

A bunch of peg doll swaps are in the works again, so a crowd of naked angry Judases (‘s?) are stating back at me. 

Hugh had his 3rd birthday. It was very low key but we also celebrated the week before with his cousin who is a week older and they had a lovely Batman and other super hero’s party of wild little kid fun 

^^this is the worst photoshop ever.

It was also my 30th birthday

Which was also quite low key. Clara decorated this cake for me with a pattern of chocolate chips that turned into a gun in the middle. Not sure what to make of that but it tasted very good. 

Brian and I did escape for 2 nights away alone in the mountains. It was magical and full of sleeping and eating uninterrupted. 

Clara wrote this alphabet and I am so proud of her. She’s getting so grown up in many ways and more and more dramatic and exuberant every day. 

Huey is adorable and hilarious and almost always in a costume or underware or both. 

Unrelated but this from our road trip. I had to pry this milkshake out of her (very) cold fists. She loved it so much. I had to even out the cute kid pictures and include one of everyone 

Including


Baby #4  due August 16

Yes. Apparently that was a first trimester blog silence, again. Oops. Although I was probably more suprised than you maybe, I didn’t clue in that anything was going in til I was 8 weeks along, so apparently I felt pretty good, about the same as an exhausted mom dealing with sick kids over Christmas expects to feel. 

I’m feeling  pretty good now, still generally exhausted and probably should write lots more updates. 

And excitement alert… More potential twin cousins in store! My sister (the one who had her little boy 7 days before I had Hugh) is also expecting and due….. The day after me…! What??? Yeah crazy. Unplanned I swear. 

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a look back at 2016

I really love these Look Back posts of each year. It’s taken me awhile but I wanted to pull this one together because it’s about the only way I remember most of what happens some years. And I don’t want 2016 to become a black hole of my momory.  (what started out as a typo is now starting to seem quite fitting for the sieve like mental capabilities of the mom brain at remembering.)

January

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Looking back on January, all the pictures started looking sort of like this. In summary: We didn’t leave the house much.

February

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In February we hit this big milestone of Brian submitting his Permanent Resident application. Still waiting to actually receive it, but after our long uphill battle with constant immigration efforts, it was a momentous day to finally sign those hundreds of pages.

March

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March was a month that seemed I really was on the ball, we celebrated St Joseph’s day with something I have always wanted to do – eat pasta off the table like Kendra’s family. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, Worked hard to live Lent with kid friendly Stations of the Cross around the house and of course Easter with home grown easter grass and basket blessing and brunch and road trips and outings. My Gramma helped us prepare our Easter basket and bring it to the Church to be blessed, and also helped the kids dye easter eggs and spend a lot of special moments with us.

April

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April had nice weather, weekend trips away, a beautiful weekend retreat for me, and then Brian slipped down the stairs and dislocated his sholder 😦 Very sad and painful experience for him and  we had to cancel a trip we had been planning to the coast to visit our good friends.

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May was SO NICE! It was good we enjoyed it because the summer was not very nice. We went to the lake for the day many times. Spent a long weekend at our friends ranch, lots of play outside because it was a beautiful spring, we also sew the circus and the dentist for the first time. Wahoo

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Lots more play outside, camping, trips to spruce meadows, the zoo, walks in fish creek park.

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Clara’s unicorn birthday, our 5th anniversary and a night away, concerts in the park, but this picture was deceiving because most of July and August were rainy and cool.

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So much fun, many messy faces from trips to Fort Edmonton (above) and the Corn Maze with friends. Also the Zoo (wow we go a lot in warm weather!) I had a getaway girls weekend with my good friend which was AH-MAZING! First ever trip to a spa and so many good meals uninterrupted at non chain restaurants. Clara went to a CGS day camp and my sister and her husband had a pig roast.

September

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I terrified my children by taking them on a log ride at an amusement park. #bigmistake. Our epic houseboating trip and a few days in the mountains, going to see the Enchanted Forest and Three Valley Gap, Ice Cream at the Dutchmen Dairy Darn (pictured) with my sister who came to town for the trip, And a good friend’s wedding and fall colours on our trees. Bye Bye summer.

October

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The double birthday of Brian and Tessa, the first snow of the winter, Tessa’s first steps. Brian and I spent a lot of time picking paint colours, we took the kids on a trip downtown to ride the LRT train and see the firetruck. Clara took swimming lessons and we used the lessons for an excuse to take the kids out on lots of one on one “dates” which was so fun, a trip to edmonton and our first trip bowling and seeing a real live active Bee hive sandwiched between glass and of course, Halloween.

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The saga of house painting and our efforts to be out of the house all day every day, including going to the kids first movie (finding Dory, pictured). Clara’s week away from us when she stayed with my sister, our trip to visit my cousin and her family, lots of projects and cleaning and moving things for painting. We visited the Zoo again, and the graveyard to pray for all the souls.

December

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December seemed like mostly a month of Sick (which in some ways is still ongoing….:() We decorated and celebrated St. Nick’s day and Advent and prepared for Christmas, The kids got cute hair cuts and we had Brian’s parents visit for the Holidays, We had a wonderful Christmas and New Years and spent time with my family and extended family and we wrapped up the year with most of us still sick and never leaving the house…

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My House Painting Saga

 Our house painting its finished!

my sister asked for pictures and I may one day wanna remember what it was like when it was all fresh and new so I took way too many and plan to share them all. So consider it a bit of a house tour?

No we did not do it ourselves. If so it would not be finished, let alone in two weeks. Professional painters are awesome. It looks so good and there are no drips on the carpets or smudges on the ceilings and light fixtures. But that whole ‘be out of your house from 730 am to 6 pm every day’ was harder than I imagined. But in order to keep the 30 little fingers I am responsible for (my to mentions toes and tongues and noses and my own digits!) out of the wet paint, it was worth it, but hard.

For the record (because I always complain that I would be happier if I were going somewhere doing something… remind me of this!) we went

  • to the library
  • to a movie at the cheap theater
  • to the zoo
  • to a friend’s acreage
  • to the pool
  • to mothers group
  • on Friday my dad and brother took the big kids to the planetology museum.

And that was the first week. And I couldn’t do it again so I sent Clara away to her aunties for the next week. So when I just had the two younger ones, we went

  • to ikea
  • to a doctor’s appointment and the hardware store
  • to a cousins house and a friends house
  • to moms group and grandma’s house
  • to my sister’s house an hour away
  • And on Friday my mom kindly took them and I packed our bags and we headed north to see my sister and my cousin for the weekend.

We. Are. All. So. Tired.

And sad Before pictures go well with that. And I like so many other badDIYbloggers didn’t take many pictures of rooms I wasn’t too happy with just for the sake of having before pictures, but these ones with cute babies in them seem to work just as well! And most people reading this are my family members and know this house in its former state all too well!

Fireplace Room:

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Cute baby Tessa… and ugly beige panel wall

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Front Room (we used it as a living room and now as a play room)2015-05-26-16-23-392015-02-02-20-23-332015-09-09-13-45-02

Hallways and Railings and such

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lots of beige and white trim

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railings that are half brown and half white. and the cutest little duck and chicken

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odd railing colous

 

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more taupe hallways and bicoloured railings

Dinning Room. More taupe. 2015-05-11-21-46-53

Bedrooms upstairs (the ones we haven’t painted since moving in) are all this colour.

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Anyway, Lots and lots of brown and beige and taupe. Now the best part… the afters!

Look how pretty and Cheerful it looks!

Bedroom 1 (Benjamin Moore Caribbean Mist 2061-70) 2016-11-11-09-31-37 2016-11-11-09-31-27 2016-11-11-09-31-13 2016-11-23-11-37-37

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Bedroom 2 (Benjamin Moore Peach Parfait 2175-70)

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Hallways (Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17  – for walls Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace 2121-70 – for Trim, railings, wainscoting and panelled wall)

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 Front Room (Benjamin Moore Caribbean Mist 2061-70)

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Staircase/ Entryway (Benjamin Moore Coral Spice 2170-40)

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Dining Room (Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue HC-143)

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Fireplace room (Benjamin Moore Sanctuary AF-620, White Dove 75% whitewash for bricks)

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New carpet coming soon (tomorrow!) and working on a way to hide the cords, maybe a mantel?

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And another hidden benefit, getting to reorganize all the cupboards and closets!

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Anyway, that was a lot of pictures! Whoa…!

Now that you have seen all this, Emma, Christy, Tara, anyone else who read this far, don’t take this as a excuse to not come visit and see it in person!

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How We’ll Wait ~ Keeping Advent, Advent

kaa-afswI noticed on the way to the mailbox yesterday, that a neighbor already has a beautiful Christmas tree in their window. Wow. I am still trying to pick up the sand toys from the back yard and get them put away before they are buried in snow, but it got me thinking about what our Advent and Christmas will look like this year.

I wrote a post last year about what worked, and what didn’t in our advent and Christmas celebrations, and now I am glad to get a chance to look ahead and make some plans for how we will celebrate Advent this year. Wow I am glad I re-read that post. Totally forgot about most of those things and now I have a chance to possibly pull one of them together! Thank you once again blog for being my memory when the one in my brain has forgotten to do its job.

So this year, here are somethings we will do, and some things we won’t do to keep  the season of Advent, as just that and save the Christmass-ing for Dec 24th and on.

Our Christmases through the years

Our Christmases through the years

We Will

Celebrate St. Nicholas day in some small way. Wake up to a small gift (christmas PJ’s?) in shoes by the fireplace. Chocolate gold coins? They always love that. Something like that.

Listen to Haley’s advent playlist and any other advent music I can find, some of the time.

Pray around the advent wreath each evening. As I have shared before, my family had such a beautiful tradition when I was growing up of having an “Advent Log” instead of a wreath, with candles for every day of the season. I haven’t convinced my dad to make me a log of our own yet, (nudge nudge) so for now we will gather each evening after dinner around a simple wreath, light the candle(s) for the week and say (or sing, the like it better singing) some very simple prayers and one decade of the rosary. This the Advent Log at my parents house in all it's glory

 

Have a peg doll nativity set! I have been spending time on painting ours, and organizing swaps so 60 other families can have a set too, so that will be my contribution for the “adding one new tradition each year”. I will try to keep baby Jesus out of the picture til Christmas morning and make a big deal about his arrival.

Have plans of special things to do on the 12 days of christmas (I love Bonnies simple and totally fun suggestions!) and also for the days while Nana and Papa are here to make sure we have lots to look forward to when we(I) have to turn down things I want to do now that aren’t as liturgically season appropriate.

Bring out all our kids Christmas and Advent books. A well as finding little ways to discuss advent and Christmas and what it means and why it’s important. I will find some coloring pages to print and crafts to do and hopefully we can work some simple acts of service and charity into our days. Little by little folks.

Try really hard to send (for the first time ever, we are terrible!) a card and picture to our two children we sponsor through Chalice.

Have Grandparents staying with us for Christmas! Which I am so excited for! The kids and of course my husband too (his parents live in Michigan and we don’t get to see them nearly enough) so they will be here and I know it will make everything more special and fun for all of us to be together!

 

We Won’t

Wait to buy eggnog. the past few years I have waited and been SO disappointed because when Dec 24th rolls around, you know what? They don’t even have it in the stores any more. So this year eggnog lattes are my advent treat.

Decorate and bring out all the Christmas things until the “Pink” Sunday to keep the atmosphere in the house more subdued during advent.

Participate in all the “Christmas festivals” before the feast really begins on the 24th. (This is always a big sacrifice for me, but If I have fun things to look forward to that I have been “saving” it should be ok).

Thanks for reading!

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If you are curious about how other families are planning to keep Advent, Advent then check out the Sienna Sisters Blog Hop where many of us are sharing the different ways we live this beautiful season in our homes!

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44/52 another trip to the Zoo

Clara. Jumping in the hat

Hugh. Watching flamingos, on one leg of course

Tessa. Always filled with JOY

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42/52 jumping back in the saddle 

I have majorly dropped the ball on project52. But the unicorn trifecta of free time + WiFi + battery life in my phone is happening now and I thought I’d take advantage of it. 

She was actually pretty impressed that they could build a whole model of the library out of Lego. And the 300+ minifigures were pretty cute 

Smouldering at the BP’s where we went for pizza dinner with my folks last weekend. 

Living the hi (chair) life. 

I haven’t forgot about blogging, it just hasn’t been my priority lately and we have had some more computer isses unfortunately. Hopefully one post leads to another and another and another. But the tl:dr version is that we are all doing well and lots of same old same old! 

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