When did the chocolate Christmas calendars turn to 32 days of chocolate holiday calendars? What are we counting down to exactly? Is it New Year's? Then why not call them New Year's Calendars? Should we who want to count down to Christmas start a week early in November? It's just a bit annoying, so 3 days after Christmas I told my kids to go for eat, eat the rest of the chocolate and be done all ready.
One of my favorite treats at Christmas time are these Candy Cane Kisses. They remind me of those party mints, you know the pale pink/green/yellow treats made with white chocolate. Which in turn reminds me of my grandparents. My dad's parents used to send us a box of those at Christmastime when I was a kid. Just a sweet memory for me.
This is the first year of many that I haven't run a Christmas concert (or 2). I earned a reputation as being a classic concert type of music teacher. My theory is that most people want to hear their kids sing something familiar and nostalgic. I've also quite enjoyed the Christmas around the world theme to concerts. One thing my students learned not to ask is if they could perform the 12 Days of Christmas. They thought I didn't like the song. That's not quite true. I do like the song, I just can only take so much of it. Remember that I start on their Christmas music back in November and two months of it is too much. Only once in recent memory did I let a group perform this one and it was a grade 8 extra group of students who weren't taking music but still wanted a spot in the show. It was pretty funny they way they did it, but I only worked with them a few lunch hour practices before the concert. Here's proof that I actually do like the song. Yesterday, I heard two versions of it while driving. The first is my favorite get me in the Christmas humor version, the second is new to me, they both had me smiling!
Jeremy: "Olivia told me in her baby language that she doesn't want her Timbit, she wants to share it with her big brother Jeremy"
Jeremy (on discovering a small blemish on his face): "Oh no, I'm growing a whisker!"
Elijah (after hearing Jeremy cry and complain that he didn't get a blue cup for his milk) in a somewhat irritated, angry tone: "Here! but I'm not switching cups because you cried about it, I'm switching because I love you!"
I am not naturally gifted at mingling. I much prefer the comfort of chatting with people I know, in my own little space of the room. Unfortunately, one aspect of being married to a pastor is that you mingle. You mingle after church with the congregation and you mingle at events. I've worked at it over the past few years and I think I'm getting better at it. Having a baby in arms helps, a lot - they are ice breakers. And I find it easy to talk to the older ladies who are just delighted with the kids and delighted at the work your husband is doing at the church. I find the older ladies have a lot of stories to tell and are often glad to have another ear to listen to them. The more difficult part, for me, is approaching new-comers, helping to make them feel comfortable at a church event or church setting. Getting beyond the "hi, my name is Kristen" part. Again, having little ones help (everybody loves a baby) and it also helps if they have kids. Common ground. I guess that is the biggest thing, trying to find common ground with a complete stranger in a relatively short period of time, isn't it.
Yesterday I had all 3 kids home, sick with colds. Not a great start to the day really. But I accomplished much. We went and got a few groceries (I didn't mind taking my school aged son to the store while he was home sick because we really did need some cold medicine and a few other things). And really, I know what it's like to be all stuffed up and tired and have to sit and work at a desk all day, you'd rather be home. Anyway...there was a few moments yesterday that had me think, life is good.
One was the sense of home maker accomplishment, it was the feeling in the early afternoon that came over me knowing I'd gotten groceries in and put away, another load of laundry done, all 3 kids fed and medicine dolled out, the baby was napping upstairs and the boys were cuddled up on the futon well into their own naps. The house was quiet and I could sip my tea and read for a little bit.
Another was the very gentle, loving way my boys were being kind to each other. They had all their library books scattered around them, Elijah was reading and Jeremy was watching a Diego DVD. Jeremy turned to Elijah and said, "we love watching Diego, don't we brother?", Elijah said, "yes, but not as much as we love each other". I admit, I melted a bit and had a tear in my eye.
Jonathan and I have taken to watching back to back episodes of Seinfeld at night. I really didn't think this show was that funny. It wasn't for me when it first aired. But now I think it's hilarious. Definite sign that I'm getting older.
We finally had a day out at Kensington Market. It was the one place I really wanted to go to around Toronto that we hadn't been to. It's a neat area of town, with a kinda hippie vibe, but mixed with some East Coast and city feel into it (not quite Victoria or San Francisco). Here's some pictures and highlights:
The boys in the trenches - or at the Army Surplus store
Sometimes an outing turns into the Jeremy show - he's quite a ham
Olivia, content to watch from the stroller
"look at the fish blood!" is what was exclaimed when we went into the fish market - yep, that's boys
All sorts of varieties of veggies available
Jonathan with his cuddly teddy bear
They didn't have a step behind this, so yes, that's me lifting him up
The burger place we went to for a snack was having it's opening weekend - really good burgers (I just had a taste of Jonathan's - I wasn't hungry after having a Jamaican patty a little earlier on)
This was so cool - a bike lock up area made out of old bike parts spelling out the word - Kensington
There's something really cool about watching your kids play with the kids of your friends. Not friends that they have known their whole life and are growing up with, but friends you haven't seen for a long time and now you all have kids.
I have to remember that babies grow fast, even when you got a good deal on clothes. You see I found a great deal on jeans for Olivia in the 6-9 month size and I love them. (They only had that size in or I would have bought more). I have to face the reality that at 9 1/2 months she is not that size anymore. Sigh. She's growing too fast.
I was invited to go to a celebration of Posada in December. One sentence really stood out to me and I've been pondering ever since. It said something about how, since we are in a multicultural city, there will be no religious focus, just the Mexican food and dancing and singing.
Interesting. Posada originates in the Nativity Story. That's what it is about. But they aren't going to have any part of it. So how is this a Posada celebration exactly?
Since when does being multicultural mean no Christian focus at all? Because let's face it, Diwali would still be a Hindi festival with religious content. The recent Chinese Moon Festival had religious content too. But that's okay right? Because that's multicultural. I'm sure the Vegetarian food festival earlier this summer hosted by the Hari Krishna's had religious context too. I guess multicultural means everything is okay as long as it isn't Christian in any way. Makes me wonder what they are so scared of? The gospel is pretty powerful. It's true after all.
Yep, it's happened, Olivia is in the very, very busy stage of babyhood. She wants to go everywhere, see everything, put everything in her mouth and just doesn't have time to sit and cuddle unless she's really tired. Even then, she fights it. She's into self-feeding, which means daily bathing to get the applesauce/beef stew/banana/cheerio much out of her hair. I still do feed her to get the food into her mouth, I just give her her own spoon too, it's easier that way. And she loves yogurt! Oh my goodness, I can't even show her the yogurt until everything else is done or she won't eat anything else. Still no teeth, though she's working on it. And usually a good sleep schedule. Two naps a day and down for the night at 7:30/8ish. She doesn't sleep through of course (I have yet to have a baby that does), but when she's up it's just to nurse and she's back down pretty quickly. She wants to crawl everywhere, so much so that she wouldn't sit still for her 9 month pictures, so we got a belly shot instead. Oh and she's our first child to traditionally crawl. I've heard about these babies, but I didn't believe I'd ever have one. (The boys bum scooted). She loves to 'talk' and make spit bubbles (attractive I know). She's perfectly loveable and sociable and just a doll. Very happy, lovely, little girl!
Elijah's learning his phone number. He had it perfect when we lived in New Brunswick. Here it's not going as well, maybe it's having to remember the area code too? Funny enough when he says his phone number he gets the 416 part right, he then launches into 870-0973. That's not our number, it's the radio station. So yes, he knows how to call Boom 97.3, but not home. There's power in advertising.
There are a lot of quotes I like that work with this theme. One is you do the best you can with what you know and when you learn better you apply it. Another is preach the gospel at all times use words if necessary. So I guess that's me. Doing the best I can with what life has to offer and offering myself and life up to the Lord.
So my 30 Day Challenge is a little bit off as I got distracted with all sorts of company arriving at my home. Here's my catch up blogging.
My hopes, dreams and plans are not my own but for my family. I'd like to see Jonathan get as much of his degree done as possible. I'd like to see us settled somewhere and move onto the next stage. The weight of what to do with this and how to move forward is driving me nuts!
I have 3 distinctive marks on me. The first, a scar close to my wrist, under my left thumb. It's a little one, but a leftover present from the cat we had when I was a kid, Skippy.
I also have 2 tattoos. The first one I got is a maple leaf. I had thought about getting a tattoo off and on since high school and got this one the summer after I graduated university. I think I was a little bored at the time. My second is a daisy head which is what I should have gotten the first time around because it is what I really wanted. I got that one a year and a bit after the first.
Okay, so I could go one of 2 ways on this one. One, a feature I love on others, or 2, a feature I love about myself. I'm going to go with the second choice. I've always loved my green eyes. Green eyes are rare. My Dad has them, but not as dark as mine. I was pretty indignant at my science teacher in school who grouped me with the blue eyes when doing genetics studies. I know green eyes is a variation of the blue eye gene, but really, they aren't blue. I'm also pretty pleased that one of my kids (Elijah) has my green eyes. He likes it too, it's a special bond between us.
We lived in Sechelt, BC for a couple years when I was a kid. One of my favorite days spent with my family was exploring on family hikes and picnics. We went so often my parents re-named the place Krissy's Cove and Jeffrey's Point after my brother and I. I went back there once as an adult and felt at home. I loved climbing the rocks and listening to the waves. The arbutus tree still reigns as one of my favorites because of these hikes.
I know, everyone has a spaghetti recipe. This is mine. Jonathan and I actually worked a lot to get a recipe that we really, really like. This is the one that I made at my parents house last year and my brother commented, wow, Kris is a really good cook.
1 bulb garlic
1 red pepper
1tbsp olive oil
1lb lean ground beef
1 small onion
2 tbsp italian seasoning (or sub in 1 tbsp basil, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp parsley flakes)
1 can pasta sauce (generic)
1 can tomatoes
1/4 cup red cooking wine
1 tbsp beef boulion
Preheat oven to 350*. Seed red pepper and cut into chunks. Take skins off all garlic cloves on you bulb. Reserve 1 clove to use later. On a sheet of aluminum foil, place your red pepper and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up into a little package and cook in your oven for about 40 minutes, or until contents are soft. (you'll be able to smell when it's ready).
In a large saucepot over low-medium heat, saute ground beef with onion and seasonings. Drain the grease off when there is no pink left in the beef. Return mixture to pot. Add pasta sauce and stir everything together. Take the tomatoes and squish them one by one into small chunks into your sauce (it's messy, but it's fun). Add cooking wine and beef stock. Stir.
Take your pepper/garlic package out of the oven. Carefully open up (don't burn yourself with the steam) and place everything into a food processor, or a small bowl if you have a hand blender. (Make sure all the oil drains in too). Blend contents into a puree and add to your sauce. Stir. Add more seasonings if you wish. Just before serving, press your reserved garlic clove into your sauce.
Serve over whole wheat spaghetti noodles.
November 5th, 1999 and the days following. I remember the date with such certainty because it was the day that I gave my life to Christ. It was the day that I met the Holy Spirit. It was when I fell in love with Jesus. It was the most exciting, wonderful thing that has ever happened to me.
I had no idea what I was missing out of my life until I met you. I thought I was happy, but I wasn't truly. I thought I had life figured out, but I knew next to nothing.
You came in like a whisper, soft and gentle to my heart. Your word struck me deep in my soul, part of me that I never knew existed.
My life before you was just living. My life since I've met you is so much more that there aren't even words to describe it.
You are the reason I live.
Thank you for taking my sins upon you. Thank you for dying for me. Thank you that you live so that I may have life.