Sunday, February 22, 2015

Huddled up

Winter continues and we're coping admirably with being cooped up. Most of the time anyway. A couple of weeks ago we got to see the movie Paddington and we were charmed by the little bear all over again - I've always been a fan (still have a Paddington Bear at home that I got as a teenager!) and while it inspired a cocktail for the adults there was some nighttime reading and bear tending for the young fella.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Holed up

Winter is always tough and without regular sports or activities somebody gets a little antsy stuck indoors all day. It was really noticeable last week when he was having problems falling asleep and I asked him if he'd got any outdoor recess that day and turns out he hadn't been outside to play for a few days in a row. When the temps drop below a certain figure they keep the kids inside - and I'll admit it has been pretty cold but his new schedule of getting the bus from school often means he misses the outdoor time they have at his aftercare too.

Today we had a burst of spring weather and we got outside for a ramble at our local (and beloved) nature center, watched them tapping the maple trees for sap and wallowed in warm air and sunshine.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Now for the news

Late last year Eamon complained about not being able to see the board or wall charts in class very well and like the good mother that I am I dragged my feet wasted no time getting his eyes tested, well his own doctor did a quick eye test when he got his flu shot and after a few months passed and a new year started (yes, waiting for vision insurance and 2015 flex benefits!) we finally got them tested and indeed he did need glasses. Very slight in one eye a little more in the other but he was thrilled to be one of the spectacled crew in school and loved picking out the specs themselves. Each one he tried on we gave a new persona - engineer, waiter in hip restaurant, 50s rock star, Clark Kent, until we finally settled on newscaster. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New year

A new year and a new year's day hike with a stop for hot chocolate. Nothing like tradition!

It's funny, we got all ready to go for this walk and as chilly as it was I don't think it required the long johns and thermals we put on. Had we been as prepared for our trip to ICE a few days later that would have been much better. For some reason I thought that the coats they gave us would be adequate. Oh no - I thought my fingers would fall off and so the half hour or so we got to experience the ice carving was enough for me.

Hot chocolate went down well at this too.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas recap in pictures

'Twas anything but calm this Christmas Eve for us - we took part in Ms. Ellie's kidnapping mystery and each took our role very seriously as you can see - himself as a prankster reindeer, me as an overbearing elf and Eamon as a rude reindeer.

You can see our costumes were quite tame compared to others! And not as cute as some (sorry that the cute baby Samantha was cut out here).
 Then there was the unwrapping of the presents and Eamon was kept busier than most! As usual.
Sonny followed Eamon around again (Eamon loved it!) and was checking out his loot. Dragons were popular again this year.
Despite the late night, Eamon bounced into our room around 7 or so telling us Santa had been and the kid was not disappointed. We opened the presents from Ireland that morning too. This is the only picture I have of Eamon Christmas morning and if you look closely you can see he's sporting his 'George and Mary' slipper socks. He told me earlier it's not Christmas morning unless he's wearing them. When did that tradition start? Anyway, it's a quiet moment but had I been a few minutes earlier I would have captured him wielding his new inquisitor rebel light-saber.
After dinner (see the trifle on the table?) Eamon showed off some of his crafting skills and everyone made large snow flakes like those hanging from the light fixture. He's a dab hand at them and turned out quite a few.
 On St. Stephen's day we caught a movie and some lights at the Botanical Gardens in Richmond. It was a beautiful display and the whole theme of bicycles made us feel they did it just for us!

 They had trains there too. What are botanical gardens or light displays without them?
Since we've been home we've been doing some hanging about - jigsaw puzzle done by breakfast, see? Some other crafting and puzzle making going on as well as movie watching (a Hobbit marathon even!) and reading. In the next couple of days himself and Eamon are venturing into museums and art galleries and skating rinks.

Overall not a bad little holiday.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

All is calm

Long past the days of excitement and anticipation of Santa and presents and selection boxes, the strongest memory I have of Christmas in my own home is the overall sense of peace and tranquility that permeates my mother’s house on Christmas Eve. The shopping, the cleaning, the chopping and prepping is complete – nothing more will be done tonight and she’s enjoying one of the few tipples she’ll have over the holidays (not so for the rest of us!). The overhead light is off, the fire is lighting as well as the candle in the window to welcome us all one by one either from out of town, from work or the pub, from mass or to drop off a plate for tomorrow. The house smells like Christmas. The ham is cooked and we’ve been warned not to go near it but nothing can keep me from picking off a few chunks and burning my finger tips in the process. Salty and hot and delicious. “Is it too salty? I steeped it overnight” “No Mam, it’s perfect.” “Get away from it now or there will be none left for tomorrow”. But I know that ham will stretch long past St. Stephen’s Day and I'm making sure the second taste is as good as the first.  
There’s probably music playing and the TV is muted with a familiar film or mass from the Vatican. A neighbor or a relative drops by with a tin of biscuits; “will you have a drink?” “Oh, only a short one Jim, we’ve got a few more stops to make tonight.”  When a few of us gather we might even break into song - not quite the picture perfect family gathered around the piano but we can string a tune together and debate whether we'll open up another bottle of wine. 
I know families celebrate Christmas differently and our little international family has blended traditions which we celebrate equally but I just want to say that while I'm in the middle of the high jinx and bustle of Christmas Eve here (this year dressed like an elf!) I will be thinking of the Christmas Eve calm back home, humming "Fairytale of New York" and no doubt finding something equally tasty to pick at. 

Happy Christmas.