Friday, December 31, 2010

awake my soul

{#100} has arrived.

I think a couple of days ago I was saying that I was going to make this post about the things I am thankful for in twenty-ten.  I look back on the year and really all I see is stress, change, stress and more stress.  so to wrap up a month focused on joy, I am going to make a list of things I am thankful for.  I need to not look at this past year as awful, but as a series of events that have brought me to where I am today and today, I am in a completely different place than I was 364 days ago.  and this is such a good thing.

if I have learned one thing this december, it is this:  a thankful heart is a joy-filled heart and vice versa. joy walks beside thankfulness.  so I am hereby devoting {#100} to the top ten things I am thankful for in twenty-ten.

1.  health.  okay, so other than my dad's heart event in october, our family has had good health.  and considering the heart event, I do not take this for granted.

2.  jobs.  as we embark on hopefully a short, short, SHORT season of unemployment, I am thankful that john & I were both employed with decent jobs.  yes, today was john's last day of work.  pray that he finds something quickly!

3.  family.  I rant and rave about my kids frequently.  they drive me crazy and are the source of much pain and suffering [ha!], but I love them to death.  and my world would not be as enjoyable, as comedic or as memorable without them.  and don't get me started on my extended family.  couldn't be sane without them.  seriously.

4.  church.  this year it feels like our church is more like home.  like it's less work and like relationships are deeper.

5.  our house.  we made an extremely adult decision this past year and bought our own house.  that whole process came with so much stress this spring, but it was worthwhile being homeless for six weeks, living with john's mom, commuting across the city for soccer three times a week....!

6.  the emotional meltdown that came after the stress.  I am continuing to learn things about myself that I never thought I needed to learn.  and although I am pretty freaked out by the self-inspection that is being done in my life, I know that this super messy, crazy journey is a good thing.  good because it's brought me to a place where I've stopped having a massive temper tantrum.  good because I now have a bigger understanding of grace.  and good because who I am today is not who I want to be next year at this time.

and now on a less serious note...
7.  shopping in vegas.  both times.

8.  seeing erika in seattle over thanksgiving

9.  working with really cool people - I like my job [yes, I already said that!]

10.  I know there are a ton of things that I am forgetting.  or neglecting.  my brain is foggy at best today.  but I think I'll make this last one about relationships - in person, on-line, students, colleagues, family, husband, friends...I have been challenging to be in relationship with this past year.  I know this.  I have been unreliable, self-focused, selfish, temperamental, hormonal and sometime just down right crazy.  but there are a whole lot of people that stand beside me in one way or another.  and when I look back on this year, these are the people who understand and love me regardless of all my crap.  they have my back.  they have demonstrated grace when I didn't think it could exist.  and for this I am so thankful.  and joy-filled.

oh, and thank you sarah for coming up with this lovely joy project.  I needed it more than you'll ever know!

happy new years, peeps.  see you on the flip side!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

white blank page

I so enjoy the first listen of a new cd.  I've been fairly familiar with mumford & sons via their two hits - little lion man and the cave - but thanks to an itunes gift card, I bought the whole cd.  this is my first listen, as I type.  so far, so good.  I'll keep you posted.  a new cd becomes like a new friend - lots to get to know and fun to hang around with every waking moment!!  mumford & sons, I like you as my new bestie.  but just remember, no one will replace brandon flowers as my true best friend!  {#97}

I fear that sickness is going through our house.  the kids have been more cranky and lazy than normal.  ty's got a nasty cough.  he was feverish last night but seemed to kick it.  and now I am an achy mess [okay, that started last night and I went to bed at 830!].  head ache.  stomach ache.  blah.  so, plans got cancelled and we're staying home.  plus, bugs bunny and tweety bird are on teletoons retro.  ha!!

but, I have a new book in hand.  found it for 40% off yesterday.  woohoo!  only to realize that I hadn't finished the prior book - lots of reading to do.  I *heart* patricia cornwell.  almost as much as kathy reichs!  I have decided to spend tomorrow taking down christmas and cleaning the house.  so today I can sit, rest, read, drink lots of water and watch yesterday's ace of cakes marathon that I pvr'ed.  SWEET! {#98}

and this last picture is a gift that I got from john for christmas.  I am trying to create a little "something-something" for my one word 2011 reveal on new years day.  only the pen is all dried out.  sheesh.  oh well, good thing michael's is open.  I'll just get a new one!

so this joy project has done something unexpected for me.  it's prompted me to slow down this season.  to be intentional.  to search.  to pursue.  have I done this with any finesse?  no.  but have I ended this month in a better place than I started it?  I'd like to think so.  if anything, I've come out of the other end of december having slowed down.  having enjoyed the anticipation of the season.  having spent a little less. having consumed less.  having spent more time with my kids.  more time at home [even with a trip to vegas in there!].  and more prepared for the uncertainty that the new year is bringing.  and for all of this I am not filled with regret or the post-holiday blues, but with joy.  a deep, unexplainable joy.  I like that.  {#99}

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

winter winds

irony.  it's a crazy thing, looking back.  and although I didn't write these words trying to be arrogant, knowing now what my year turned out to be, I'm thinking now they kinda were.  and now I'm in a bind.  I like the idea of choosing a word that will set the tone for the new year but how do I choose one that isn't so lofty?  I am currently liking the word NORMAL.  ha!  or BORING.  but I need a word that lights the way through the next year, but also takes the focus off of me and what I can or can't do.  maybe a word like GRACE or MERCY.  not at all about me, but what's been done for me.  I am going to do some thinking on this - see what comes to my mind over the next few days.  I'll unveil the big word on saturday.  or sunday.  ha!


kicking the boys outside yesterday afternoon was the best thing I had done all day yesterday!  the snow was deep and cold, but it wore them out a bit!  and then I did my walk last night - felt like 5k, but who knows.  apparently no one was keeping track!  when I got home, I made myself some sweet potato fries. super yummy and healthier than the hershey's kisses that I also ate!  ahhh.  the transition to healthy eating does come with some bumps in the road.  but this morning, a much better start.  super healthy, protein-filled, yummy pancakes.  I may be expecting too much with my mini-detox, but maybe that's a good thing!  so I'll count that as {#96}!

Monday, December 27, 2010

in the bleak mid-winter

ahhhh.  christmas vacation.  one more week to do all the things I need to get done!  like take down christmas [that's next weekend's project!].  yesterday, we had a stay-home day.  the boys and I stayed in our pjs until almost 4 pm!  they hadn't had a chance to play with their new toys, so I took the opportunity to SORT!  I took all their bins and we organized everything.  and they helped.  after two huge recycling bags full and one garbage bag of toy give-aways, we have bins all sorted.  {#91}

there is a vehicles bin, a figures bin, a sporting bin, a race track bin, a lego bin and a playmobile bin.  and each boy cleaned out their treasure bins and put new treasures inside.  ty is a real collector of treasures, so his bin is full of marbles, silly bands, magnets, little flashing lights and other odd collectibles!  but, it's organized.  and what a good way to spend boxing day - in pjs, watching despicable me and teaching the kids some organizational skills!  {#92}

and then a couple of other things that have started me thinking [or re-thinking!].  this lovely chocolate letter from my mom - which was totally delish - has officially ended the christmas food binge.  I am on a mini-detox this week, a week ahead of the new year.  {#93}

because although she bought all of us chocolate letters - it's tradition in my family - she also bought me this lovely cookbook.  I am going to get my arse out of bed this morning [soon!] and go buy some groceries so that my kitchen is full of clean, healthy foods.  and then I am going to try my hand at making some pumpkin applesauce muffins!  {#94}

and it's my goal this week to get to #99 by thursday and make my #100 be a new years eve thankfulness list.  although 2010 was an extremely difficult year, there are many, many things that I can be thankful for and I think that will be my 100th joy.  end 2010 and begin 2011 on the right foot.  in a place of joy and with a thankful heart.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

silent night

{#87} ty has been collecting and trading silly bands [nate has been too, but ty is way more serious about it!].  on christmas eve ty got a candy cane from brenda.  and he proudly told me that it had two meanings:  first it was a candy cane, and second it was a J for joy and jesus.  what a great kid!  the kids and I had opportunity to participate in the christmas eve service by adding three tiles to the nativity/advent mosaic.  we got to put up panels 17, 18 & 19.  ty went straight up to the front and did his all on his own!  and nate held my hand.  {#88}

then, on christmas eve, after church, we go to john's mom's house for dinner and to open gifts.  I got to drive two storm troopers home in my car!

and christmas morning, we did gifts & brunch with my siblings.  my sister hosted this year and the cousins did some preforming after gifts were opened.  there were songs in english, french and ethan sang joy to the world in spanish!  I know that it helps as the kids get older when it comes to chaos control, but they were all really well behaved, polite and thankful as they opened their gifts one-by-one.  they had chosen names among themselves [okay, us mom's did it...!] and they then gave their gifts to each other.  it was lovely to see!  {#89}

after brunch, they all went sledding [I can't say "we"...I went to help my mom set up for dinner, but john took our kids!] at the same hill we used to go to as kids.  don't know what they're calling it now, since they shaved all the good bumps off of it, but we used to call it the seven sisters because of the seven HUGE bumps!!

and then everyone went back to my mom & dad's house [my dad napped most of the afternoon!]...the kids played, my oma stopped by, and adults visited.  it was a long day, but overall it was a good day.  {#90}

and this morning, we've been super lazy.  I refuse to get into the shopping crowds of boxing day!  [I shopped online!]  the kids haven't been at home to play with their new things, so they've been having fun.  and I have big plans to make a lego bin for ty, since he scored big time in the lego department!!  and then this afternoon/evening we are off to my aunt and uncle's open house.  always a good time too!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

father christmas

I don't usually blog this early in the day, but today is a bit different.  I am home.  {#83} and we had a sleep in day which resulted in fun, happy, excited little boys. {#84}

the two of them hopped into bed with me this morning and we had some snuggle/tickle/cuddle time. and we slept until almost 10 am.  UNHEARD OF!  and this morning, they have been playing so nicely, watching christmas cartoons, helping me wrap their cousin's presents and just being pleasant to be in the same room as.  okay, kinda.  {#85}

and the sun is shining.  after four days of solid rain in vegas, I am happy to be back in alberta where the sun almost always shines.  yes, it is cold.  yes, it is snowy.  but the sun makes me happy.  {#86}

above all, there are only two more sleeps until christmas.  and some pretty excited little boys.  good times.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

viva las vegas

well, it's been a whirlwind of a trip.  apparently it rains four days a year here in vegas.  we've been here all four of those days.  but so thankful that it's been reletivly warm [like +10 to +15C] and dude, there's no snow {#77}  so we spent our days here combating the rain the best way we could - by shopping, using umbrellas and heading to places that didn't require being in the rain!

on sunday we found a target - it was in a bit of an "interesting" part of town, but hey, target.  it was all good!  and plus the list got whittled away in just one store!  {#78}  then we tried to walk to macy's.  ha!  we could see the we just kept walking [it wasn't pouring at this point, thank goodness!] and eventually we found it.  it seemed like everything was an adventure, and plagued by "interesting".  and it had started when we got selected for the "fs" on our boarding passes that morning.  yes.  it means "full search".  we got the full body scan of strangeness!  and it seemed like sunday just continued down that path.  it was fun showing leanne around the strip and taking pictures off the bridge between mgm & nyny!

on monday we hit up the outlets.  and it poured.  and my feet got very, very wet.  that fact was highly minimized by my lack of sleep and the good deals we found - but wet, sloshy uggs are still not so much fun!  {#79}  so on monday night, we just stayed at our hotel [because it was raining so hard!] and went to margartiaville for dinner and drinks.  it was predictably good.  and the margartias were perfect, as always.  we just hung out, chatting with people in the bar - met a guy who has an ambiguous music-record label-knows bands-guy who showed us pictures of his 5 month old little girl all night!  it was that kind of night.  I like those.  {#80}

so then yesterday, the rain was a bit lighter, so we explored the strip - walked through the venitian, the encore, and the wynn.  then we crossed over to fashion show mall where we shopped some more!  needless to say, we got smart with our foot wear, which turned out to be a fun social experiment.  everyone [okay, not everyone, but a lot of people!] literally would point and stare.  but, you have to realize that it wasn't cold, just wet.  so we wore flip flops - it really worked to have intentionally wet feet that would dry in minutes after coming inside.  people thought we were nuts!  what can I say?  I had virtually dry feet most of the day {#81}

and then the rain got worse, so we took the bus to fremont street.  it's covered.  we played the penny slots, drank some free beer and collected nickles in a bucket!  I put $4 in a machine - turned it into $20 and then played until it was at $0!  the best $4 of entertainment ever!!

and this morning, we're getting out of town.  there are great concerns about flash floods and the rain is intense.  I am hoping our flight can leave!!  sitting in the airport, I can't even see the usually visible strip.  fog and rain are a good time.  but I can't complain.  it's dec 22 and I am lucky to be in a place where there is no snow.  in mere hours, I'll be knee deep in the white stuff...  {#82}

odd bits of joy in a town that could suck the joy off the bones of life.  what can I say?  I enjoy striking up conversations with cab drivers and service staff - learning about what life is like in different places.  which is oddly the same wherever I go.  people want to be recognized.  people want to belong.  and people really want to say "merry christmas", not "happy holidays".  it's all good.

Friday, December 17, 2010

white christmas

so tired today.  last day of work [happy!] was preceded by a sick kid last night [sad].  needless to say, I was dragging my butt all day.  still am.  LOL  but, I got to school and the parking lot had been grated.  sweet joy!!  {#72}

this morning we took all the jr high kids curling.  totally a great, great time.  the last time I had curled, I think I was in grade 8.  but, canada is a curling nation - we win medals by pushing rocks down the rink and by sweeping and yelling, "hard, hard, harder"!  and the smiles on the kids faces was totally worth the bit of chaos...{#73}

and yes, I even got out there and threw some rocks.  I am sad and pathetic, but that's okay.  that's what makes it so much fun!  then, after a relativly low-key afternoon, I ended up coming home with a car full of gifts, and this gift basket [from a parent given to the office, then given to me!].  the boys are totally enjoying all of the fruit [and this is just half of it!] {#74}

and this lovely bag of beans was brought back from hawaii for me {#75}.  my kids know I love my coffee and that's what makes this such a thoughtful gift.  and plus, it came with a starbucks gift card - from hawaii as well!  I love the design on it...very tropical.  very un-snowy!!  {#76}

and now, I think I am heading upstairs to fold laundry and go to bed.  sheer exhaustion.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

up on the housetop

well, I only got stuck twice today - okay, three times if you count the driveway.  first time, no surprise, was at school.  got pushed out.  the second time was in front of connie's house.  got pushed out.  {#67} and in this town, although getting stuck on side streets is pretty typical; getting help is unfortunately rare. alas, two for two was really kind and an answer to my biggest prayer in this weather:  "God, if I happen to get stuck, please have someone stop and help me!" {#68}

then there was the driveway.  not enough leverage to get up and into the garage.  LOL  well, after some help shovelling [small children] and some melting salt, I made it in.  then we went to the mailbox.  ha!  this is a picture of the boys avoiding the camera.  and running in two feet of snow {#69}.  I am amazed that they kept their balance!

see how deep it is?  crazy.  then, it was pyjama pants on, and a super tired mom who really didn't want to make supper.  so some pasta with cheese for the big ty [with a side of sweet pickles].  he sat and ate the entire bowl...of pickles and most of the pasta!  {#70}

nate, in clown face [they had a winter carnival at school today], ate meat and cheese.  easy peasy.  sometimes my kids are easy to please.  this makes my heart grateful.  {#71}

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

 oh and did it ever.  this is the view when at a standstill on my way home from work today. c-r-a-z-y!  funny thing was that I had given myself a ton of time, was dressed for the weather and just enjoyed the crazy ride. {#62}  the wind was whipping so hard that the melted snow on my windshield would simultaneously melt and freeze, creating this lovely layer of ice.  and no visibility.   but I made it home in one piece, got stuck in the drive way, dug my way out, shovelled the driveway with the help of small people and had some neighbourly help getting my car into the garage!  {#63}  it wasn't super cold, but I'm thinking 10-15 cm of snow.  my arms hurt.  in a good way!

and in there, we made it to the boy's christmas concert.  it was lovely - and short!  45 minutes of singing and a bit of acting.  both kids did a wonderful job!  {#64} it was also nice to know so many people this year.  between soccer, school, the 'hood, connie's house, basketball...I don't feel like a stranger in their school {#65}.  it was nice to catch up with everyone.

oh, and it's the big reveal in secret santa at school tomorrow - I have my person fairly confused.  I like that!  yippie!!  {#66}  gonna go find my gifts...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

hark the herald pt 2

okay, so I had to look hard today.  it was a rough, rough day.  kids [at school!] are wired.  big time.  I spent so much time just getting kids to follow the basic rules - like stay outside until the bell rings, clear the hallways - good stuff like that.  I get that the kids at my school face some serious challenges and that christmas can be so incredibly stressful for so many kids.  I just did not like having to be the bad guy all day.  it just wears me down.  needless to say, I was happy to see my own kids today {#55}  and I managed to negotiate through the snowstorm and kids who swore they could only smell burger king, got them dinner and got them home.  without too much whining.  {#56}  and john came home early and emptied the dishwasher. {#57}

and I have a box of stuff packed up for school tomorrow - buns for the staff potluck, wrapping paper to decorate our door for the door decorating contest, cards to be assembled, secret santa gifts... {#58}

and although most kids at school were some sort of crazy, my own kids were wonderful.  this morning, only seven out of fourteen were there.  they worked hard and were quiet.  so this afternoon, as they were working, I had a coffee and a chocolate and just savoured them.  and the silence.  {#59}

and although the shine quickly fell off the wee halos of my small children, john has put them to bed [or is trying] and knew I needed a time out.  so I made some special red juice and am watching ncis on my pvr.  sigh.  {#60}  plus he gave me an hour or so [while the kids were in the bath!] to go into my crafting space and make some cards for school.

I could probably continue...a lovely gift basket from some of my students, a thoughtful secret santa gift, I got my plan book filled out for the first week in january, wrote a student teacher evaluation and I got amalgamated term one report cards uploaded to pinpoint.  doesn't matter to anyone but me, but it got done today.  the first time.  mundane things, but I am joyful and thankful that I have such a wonderful job with wonderful colleagues that I can have a rough day and I am loved and cared for.  at home and at work.  {#61}

hark the herald

so, it's tuesday.  blah.  no seriously, I usually enjoy mondays - back into the routine from the weekends.  and I love wednesdays because my day is tossed up with a bunch of quirky scheduling.  but tuesdays?  I could care less for them.  it could be because I have a double block of language arts with one group of kids that drive me crazy...HA!

anyways, as I was driving into work today, I decided that today may be an opportunity to look for joy in mundane.  those everyday tasks.  on the days that don't thrill me.  if I say that joy is a state of heart, not just a reflection of external events, then really, there is joy to be found - even on a tuesday.  a tuesday that is currently sunny, but threating to dump 10 cm of snow.

my goal is to finish up this blog post tonight - and see where joy lies, if even in the mundane.

Monday, December 13, 2010

we three kings

walked 4k tonight.  and it was lovely.  the night was clear, not too cold.  and it felt good to get some kilometres on my shoes.  {#51}  didn't get any pics, but that's what happens when I turn my phone off and throw it in my back pouch!

and then I went to the mall.  I've been avoiding the mall at all costs, for a number of reasons.  first, it's the biggest mall evah.  second, because it's the biggest mall, it's awful at this time of year.  no seriously.  and really, I'm talking about the parking lot not even the crazy that is inside the actual building!  and third, I'm leaving for vegas on sunday and am planning to do all my shopping there.  but tonight I got smart - I went at around 8pm when I knew that it would be fairly empty-ish.  and I was right.  and I bought the two things I needed to buy for my secret santa at school AND I did my wee exchange at old navy.  it's all good!  {#52}

and hey, only four more teaching days until christmas break  {#53}  and only six more sleeps until I am on a plane to vegas.  {#54}

so much to do this week, but I am feeling energized.  and this is a good, good thing!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

o christmas tree

I've been finding christmas decoration modifications all around the house.  this one made me laugh so hard.  an old [like we're talking 10+ years] starbucks bear/magnet/snowman was attached to ty's stocking holder!!  {#47}

this picture is hard to see - I couldn't get a good one [we're in picture avoidance mode], but ty made himself lunch today.  he asked for two pieces of cheese and two pieces of bread.  he slapped them together with crackers in the middle and proceeded to eat the whole thing up!  so much independence...even more than his brother.  {#48}

new furniture arrangements...moved the couch and chair.  I like it.  the kids don't.  shocking, I know.  I spent most of yesterday lazing around on the couch.  then, out of the blue, I smelled a foul smell.  like something was burning.  oh yes.  the top third of the tree was in the process of having its lights go ka-put.  just glad I was home to smell it!  so, it's now disconnected and looks like a wonky tree with the bottom two-thirds happily lit, and the top?  not so much so!  {#49}

the view from my back window yesterday - love the sun.  love the sun setting and the colours it creates on the snow!  {#50}  the days are getting shorter, for one more week and it's gotten pretty snowy and cold the last few days.  but I am so glad that the sun shines regardless of the cold.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

little drummer boy

so last night was my staff christmas party.  we hosted.  we drank some martinis.  we laughed.  we did a tacky gift exchange.  I ended up with a whip.  yeah.  good, good times! { can I not count a whip??} my sister took the kids overnight [and still has them!], so we got to sleep in and just laze around.  big mugs of coffee with bailey's [because there's no cream in the house], having brunch with the big boy.  {#46}

oh, and we re-arrainged all the furniture last night for the party.  we're going to try a different set up for a while!  and, I have big plans to hit the basement in a bit - to do some crafting.  yippie!