Saturday, 27 December 2008

Christmas is:

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Waiting for the cousins to arrive on Christmas Eve, .
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Cache obliterating the pinata,
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Opening presents,
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Skating around the park,
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New clothes (toque, gloves, coat),
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Warming up by the fire,
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Having just the right number of children to go on tour!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A Christmas Carol

God Bless Us, Every One!

I've wanted to take the family to see A Christmas Carol at Theatre Calgary for a few years. (Just been waiting for everyone to grow up a little bit!) I think I know a child or two who still prefer A Barbie Christmas Carol, but the play was well enjoyed. It even got Steven's "better than I thought it was going to be" stamp of approval.

At the end of the play, following the standing ovation, the actor who plays Scrooge gives a heart wrenching speach about the needs of the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank and the number of children in our city who access it with their families every year. The rest of the actors gather at the exits with baskets to accept financial donations for the food bank. After watching the plight of Bob Crachit and his little Tiny Tim you just want to dump your purse out into those baskets! I mean you've been sitting there all comfortable and priveledged throughout the play and then you have the reality of the play brought out into the current situation of families here and now. Well. My kids were all scrambling over each other to get at my wallet, except for Jaclyn who had brought her own purse and was retrieving her own money.

We are so blessed, every one.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

I'm dreaming . . .



I sure hope the snow lasts till Christmas.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Steven made the team!



And this is the only basketball related picture I have to go with the post - him as a fan in Portland 2 years ago.
Steven really hasn't spent much time with a basketball in his hands - he's been pretty dedicated to hockey. But last year I asked him what he would do if he had to choose between hockey or school teams in junior high and his response was an upset, "I have to choose???" Which created a quick reply from me, "No, no, you don't have to choose." I wondered if his choice to play hockey for the past 4 years instead of community basketball would have made the decision for him, but he's on the school team, so here we go!
Brace yourselves, sports fans. [Mostly I'm just talking to myself there.] Time to reschedule (Jaclyn's piano) and work around things (activity days). Basketball season is upon us, and I'm sure, soon to be upon the blog.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Sweet Success

A good concert picture & a girl who sacrificed recess to practise hand bells.
I'm amazed by both.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Crafty

Last week for Spanish class Jaclyn had to make a 3D object that represented weather and incorporated several sentences using the weather vocabulary they've been learning. Additionally, the project had to represent something from Hispanic culture.
(I really thought arts and crafts homework would be over by high school.)
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Jaclyn made a pinata rain cloud with Cricut raindrop letters falling below, making up the vocabulary aspect of the project. In order to craft a pinata just the right shape - not a party balloon shape - we bought a mylar balloon and she set it on it's side which gave a nice cloudy silhouette.
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The greater challenge came in figuring out how to display it. Hanging it from the classroom ceiling would have been a fire hazard, so I had to go out homework shopping in December. The happy ending is that I found just the right thing: an upside down tomato cage./Lucky for me there were some tomatoe cages in the back of my nearby garden center. It's not exactly tomato season around here.
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So I had some internal grumbling going on about this Spanish project, I'm not gonna lie. But it did lead to some bright Christmas ideas:
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1) Tomatoe cages look like Christmas trees. I've never noticed it in July, but plenty of other people have. I might not craft a tomato cage this week, but I will keep it in mind for the future.
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2) I know of only one other person who is going to truly appreciate this idea, but what have I been doing constructing my own elaborate Christmas pinata shapes for all these years? Mylar balloons, Marie.
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They're the wave of the future.
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Sunday, 14 December 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

video

(Chloe's in the lower left, Carmen's in the second row on the far right. Ha! As if I expect you to be able to pick them out.)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

This Week

Like I don't have enough Christmas projects of my own, Carmen decided she wanted to do something homemade for her friend Marguerite. She sat down to the computer and googled *things to make*. The first page of results had a sock monkey tutorial, which satisfied her completely.
(Google never works that well for me.)
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Carmen was instantly delighted when the first step in the tutorial produced a body and legs.
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The sock monkey has been named and played with. Marguerite is getting a used toy for Christmas, if she gets a gift at all. The whole friendship is in question at this point.
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In sadder news, Carmen's first riding horse may be put down today. My Grandpa referred to himself as a thin horse going into winter towards the end of his life, and indeed that's what Salty is. Carmen moved on to more spirited horses back in March, but Salty has a special place in her heart of hearts, so this has been a tough 10 days since we found out Salty's fate. In an effort to make Carmen feel better, her riding instructor offered to let Carmen ride Salty one last time on Monday, which I thought might just strengthen the bond and thus the grief, but I was wrong: Carmen got a little closure to have one last ride on Salty. Bringing Salty into the arena actually had the opposite effect on the riding instructor and that is why the vet appointment today is a maybe. We won't know for sure if Gail went through with it till our next lesson on Monday.
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Photography continues to mystify me. I took a couple of pictures from the same angle using the same settings last night at Steven's band concert, yet somehow this one, my favorite, turned out looking cross-processed. So interesting.

Monday, 8 December 2008

School Service Saturday

The first Saturday in December the junior high students in our school always put on a Service Saturday, led by a special teacher *Mrs. C*.
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This year the Service Saturday took on more of a Christmas Fair format with all the money going to local charities.
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Steven signed up to work the bake sale.
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Jaclyn preferred the traditional Service Saturday activities from when she was in junior high. She likes direct service better than being entertained and having the money raised go to charity, so she helped pack up warmth and hygiene kits for the homeless.
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Carmen and Chloe were happy to be entertained!
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The hay ride was a big hit.
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As was the cookie decorating,
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And writing letters to Santa, which the junior high students respond to. Chloe should be getting a return letter in the mail this week.
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The Angel Tree was up. Apparently we were very quick on the draw for the Angel Tree this year. The jr. high students also spent a lot of time wrapping coins brought in by families to donate to Change for Change.
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We were done with the Christmas Fair before Steven was done with his shift working the bake sale, so we went out to the playground while we waited. It was hard to get a good photo of the playground and the mountains: the good mountain view is just to the right of this picture. It is an idyllic setting for a school.
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The little girls have been wanting to share their new equipment with me for quite a while, and they were pleased to show off a little.
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I can't believe the brown winter we've had so far, but I certainly appreciated it when I had to run to 5 different stores later on Saturday to buy materials for a school project for Jaclyn. I was very glad not to be bracing against the cold or driving on ice and snow.
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Somehow I had a change of heart when yesterday I walked out of church to this (in strappy little shoes and bare feet). My first thought was: Finally!
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It will be a White Christmas.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Friday Night



Everything that's ever been said about the little black dress is true. Last night I wore mine to Ken's office Christmas party for the 7th year in a row, and I felt great! Why would I ever buy another party dress when I have the perfect little black dress?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

SPT: Showing the Love



Each year our school puts up an Angel Tree filled with wishes for less fortunate kids. Students can choose an angel off the tree and then buy the wish-list item for the less fortunate child in our community. My littles just figured out this year that the Angel Tree gifts go to students at their own school - they were a little surprised by this and didn't know that there are families in need so close to home.

Monday, 1 December 2008

For me Christmas & fine arts go together like hot chocolate & whipping cream. Imagine my pleasure as we drove downtown this unseasonably warm evening amid twinkling Christmas lights, beginning the month of December with Carmen and Chloe's choir singing in the Knox United Church Carol Festival.
The event was great, or as Steven would tell you: not as bad as he thought it would be. The performances were inspiring and there was sing-along time between the choirs - naturally, Steven joined in on the singing when he knew a funny version.
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Carmen is a performance-night singer (fine arts version of a game-day player), and enjoyed herself despite the discomfort of new black pants.
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It seems that the choir director has spoken to Chloe about not dancing while singing, which I think is a shame, but there you have it. The director must have her creative control I suppose. [Chloe found humor in the title another choir sang, Oh Tannenbaum, and desperately wants to sing Oh Tannenbum when we go delivering our chocolates and caroling as a family.]
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Jaclyn had a friend in the audience who was there to hear his own sister sing in the LDS Institute Choir. The boy's presence was endlessly fascinating to my younger girls who seem overly interested in Jaclyn's current social stage-of-life.