Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Holiday Traditions

I’ve been talking a lot with my friends recently about what kinds of holiday traditions we do now that we have children. Here are some of ours:

  • On the first weekend in December:
    • Going out for dinner/breakfast and then getting a Christmas tree
    • Decorating the tree, house, and putting up the outdoor lights
  • On the second weekend
    • Building and decorating a gingerbread house
  • In the first 1-2 weeks, writing and sending out holiday cards
  • Christmas baking – usually 3-4 recipies
  • Christmas Eve
    • Lobster dinner
    • Drive around to the best decorated homes in town
    • Kids always get PJs
  • Christmas Day
    • Some kind of special breakfast
    • Opening Gifts
    • Turkey Dinner
  • New Year’s Eve
    • Bunch of appetizers
    • Try to stay up as late as we can

These are all pretty normal, and I’m sure lots of others do the same, but we still love them anyway. We’re starting to put our own personal touches on them, and I’m sure they’ll evolve as the kids get older.

We also took part in the Angel Tree program at the boys’ school – someone sets up a tree in the school that is decorated with tags with information about a child in need (age, M/F, clothing size, what they’d love to get for Christmas), and then you can choose a tag and buy a gift for that specific child. This year, we choose a 5 year old boy and bought him lots of toy cars (think Hotwheels), a car-hauler truck for them, and a Connect 4 board game. The boys enjoyed picking out the gift and also learned about how not every child will have a Christmas like they do.

What are your favourite holiday traditions? 


Valentine’s Protest

As with many elementary school classrooms, E’s requires students to either give valentines to everybody OR nobody.

The past two years, he’s given them to everybody, but never seemed to care too much about it.

This year, after I bought him some dollar store valentines, he said he’d rather not give them out. When DH asked him why, he said that there are a few kids who have been mean to him this year, and he doesn’t want to give them Valentines. So, he’d  rather just not give any given the choice.

I totally respect that, and am actually very impressed and proud of his decision.

I think the whole “you have to give Valentines to EVERYONE” rule is ridiculous and totally takes the meaning out of the tradition. Yes, I get that some kids would not get any, and that’s sad. So, since both these options suck, I wish the whole thing would just be abolished at this age.

6 year-olds don’t care about cards! Why not just have a Valentine’s party without the stupid cards and be done with it?

We got a message from C’s daycare about this topic. Since the kids don’t know how to write and no parent knows all the other kids, they suggest just sending in blank cards. WHY? Just GET RID OF THIS PART, for the love of God!

Based on this, you probably wouldn’t be surprised that DH and I basically ignore this holiday (unless me asking him to pick up 50% off chocolate the day after counts). His birthday is about a week after VD, and mine is in mid-March, so we’d much rather focus on celebrating those.

What do your kids end up doing for Valentine’s? 

Buying Into Christmas

I am so completely sick of so many things about the Christmas season:

– Writing and sending cards
– Advent calendars
– The whole Santa charade
– Getting token gifts for EVERYONE EVER (teachers, daycare staff, mail carrier, pet walker/sitter…)
– Baking 123 dozen cookies
– Over-solicitation from charities
– The whole FOCUS of “WHAT do you want for Christmas?”

I’ve never really found the holidays super stressful, but this year I’m just finding the whole season annoying because it’s so totally full of obligation, competition, and pettiness.

I used to like Christmas shopping. Going out to the mall/wherever, and just looking around until something struck me for someone specific. Now I just feel like it’s all about gift cards and lists, and it’s not even something I want to think about, let along DO (especially since everyone turns into an asshole when Xmas shopping).

I like baking all year round, but I find baking at Christmas really annoying because it just seems like some big competition – who can be the most miserable about baking? I also can’t stand all the pictures on Facebook about it. It just seems so obnoxious.

Last year I didn’t send out Christmas cards because of stroke. I liked the freedom so much that I decided to do the same thing this year.

I can’t stand the focus on Santa and chocolate and presents for the kids.

Even decorating our house for the holidays didn’t lift my spirits, and that ALWAYS works.

I don’t know where I’m going with this post other than I don’t like how the holidays are presenting themselves this year. I’m just feeling “meh” and “bleh” and want to just wash my hands of the whole thing. I need to either change my attitude and/or change the way we do things.

How are you feeling about the holidays this year?

First Re-Birthday

This weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada. We had an awesome weekend with skating, apple/pumpkin picking, great outdoor time, and an amazing Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday (and a day of best-ever leftovers on Monday).

It was in stark contrast to last year’s Thanksgiving, when we were struggling with a newborn and I had my stroke* (1 year ago tomorrow). In stroke-survivor circles, it’s known as a re-birthday. I kind of feel like I was “reborn” that day – it certainly changed every aspect of my life, and all our lives have changed in the last years. We’ve been through a lot as a family, and have come through all the better on the other side.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wrote and delivered thank you cards to some of the doctors, nurses, and staff who, quite literally, saved my life. It’s not everyday and opportunity like that comes around, and I wanted to share my gratitude.

I know I’m very lucky in how everything has turned out. A year ago, I’m sure we’d never thought I’d be throwing together a Thanksgiving feast like it’s nothing, and thriving in my BEd program.

I am so thankful for so many things this year, and I feel like all future Thanksgiving will always have a special meaning for me.

*For those who aren’t familiar with this, all my post related to it are here starting with this one.

Stroke Deficits

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and were able to have some fun and get some relaxation in. I had a great Christmas, spent with DH, the two boys, and my parents. It was fun and enjoyable, and pretty much stress-free (though having to give Evan two time-outs on Christmas day wasn’t a highlight!) .

It’s been about 2.5 months since my stroke. I noticed a lot of improvements until my surgery two weeks ago, then that week was pretty awful. It was like I was regressing. Thankfully, the doctor warned us that might happen, and things started to get back on track and things have been going rather well in the last week or so.  I feel stronger, more energetic, and just more “together” in general. That being said, there are still several deficits I’m dealing with:

– Lower right quadrant field cut in my eyesight
– Speech issues (minor, but I notice it, especially when I’m tired)
– Fine motor skills with my right hand (like typing)
– Spelling in written communication
– Feeling foggy (comparable to when you’re over-tired)
– Multi-tasking
– Issues with orientation (for example: figuring which way to orient a sock to get it on straight)
– Issues reading and/or writing numbers (especially on the computer)
– Easily frustrated, especially with the kids.

It will be interesting to see how these deficits evolve over the next few weeks and months, or if new ones appear. The doctors said full recovery would take 6-12 months, but it could be a life-time in the making.

The good thing is I’m feeling more like myself, and more confident that I will be able to live a “normal” life. Here’s hoping all the worst is behind us now, and that things keep improving from here on out.

Rules and Routine…

…apparently go to hell over the holidays. Evan’s regular routine is so screwed up that we just let so much stuff go in order to keep some sort of peace around here. He eats on the living room floor, watches way too many cartoons, barely goes outside, and has dessert before dinner.

I assume – hope – we’re not the only house going through this?

Ready for Christmas

I’m really happy with our decorations this year. We amped it up a bit by adding garland with lights on the mantel and it makes quite the statement, especially with the new fireplace.

Our tree also looks fantastic. Now that we’ve been together for 6 years, we have amassed a nice collection of decorations that are full of meaning and memories. We both have decorations from our parents and grandparents as well, so the tree is a wonderful focal point for our living room.

We are hosting both sets of parents over the holidays – DH’s arrive first and stay about a week, and mine arrive on Boxing Day and also stay about a week. They will overlap for a couple of days, so it will be a full house! We’re ready though:

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to everyone!

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