Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I survived!

And actually had a blast! Being gone for 3 days, away from the usual routine, no meals to cook, spending 4-5 hours a day out of doors and being with 17 most incredible little souls was tiring, yes, but invigorating. It was non-stop. One activity after the next. Add to that the fresh air and we had kids who ate like wolves and slept like logs. And it was cold hovering around -20C. But we were all well dressed and the woods tend to be sheltered and less cold. We played broom ball, lots of tobogganing , cross-country skied to a little lodge and had hot chocolate, snowshoeing to a huge beaver dam, walked up a mountain (45 minute hike up), walkedthrough the forest at night with candle torches, singalongs and marshmallows around a camp fire after supper, loads of indoor games (parachute, dress-up, hot potato, duck duck goose, etc), putting snow boots and snow pants and hats and neck warmers and mitts on and off and on and off, wiping runny noses, story time before bedtime, pajama party with clowns and jugglers and getting loads of hugs and seeing happy faces on a great bunch of 4-5 year old. Their parents missed them lots more than they did. What an experience for them. True confidence and independence builder. An experience of a lifetime and I'm so glad I volunteered to go.

Enjoy the pics, in no particular order.
(the lady in the red coat would be me:)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

winter fun

Here's a backyard scene from last week-end. They were on the ice in the morning, in the afternoon and again after supper. Baby girl loves to play "tag" chasing her dad around. Baby boy loves to line up his pucks and take rapid succesive slapshots against a board we installed for him or to be the "goalie" so we can try to score on him.

True winter outdoor lovers.

Which is a good thing because tomorrow, they are going to a winter camp with their preschool. Three days filled with outdoor winter activities (tobogganing, snowshoeing, tubing, ringette, cross-country skiing, etc.) and 2 nights in a huge dormitory for 26 people. Their school has been doing this camp for close to 10 years and its for the oldest kids 4.5 yrs and up. Its the highlight of their year. Even big sis who went some 8 years ago still talks about how much fun she had.

There will be 20 kids, 2 teachers, two camp counsellors and two volunteer parents, one being yours truly :~) But now I have a cold. Darn. I have to get better in a hurry cause no matter what, I'm going. I've been hacking and coughing for the past two weeks (and taking ColdFx,zinc, VitC, echinecea) and my sinuses started to hurt yesterday so off to the doctor for some antibiotics. Today, the pain is in my ears. A little Advil cleared it up though.

So wish me luck, I'll tell you all about it when I return, happy but exhausted ;)

Monday, January 22, 2007

dancing queen

For years, big sis wanted to partake in our church's school for traditional Greek
dancing. Unfortunately, it always took place on Monday nights when both hubby and I worked. Then the little ones came along, no question about dragging them there. Up until this year. She finally got to start this past September and both baby boy and baby girl get to go too now that they are 5 years old.

And sure enough, big sis loves it.

Last Saturday was her first performance. In front of over 250 people. The other girls in the group have been dancing for years but her teacher assured me she's a fast learner. So of course, I went to see her. To take pics and video for this momentous first.

And she did great! I was so impressed with her! You could tell she truly enjoyed herself. They performed 5 different dances. As a thank-you for the dancers, they got to eat all together at a table set aside for just them and they then got to join the party on hand. I've never seen her dance like this. Must bebecause she was with her friends and they all felt great for a job well done. She didn't want to go home. I eventually dragged her out of there at midnigth though.

Way to go sweetie!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

interesting...many points are true here

You are The Hermit

Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.

The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration,hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.

The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.

The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Friday, January 19, 2007

craft zone

The kids got quite a few craft kits at Christmastime and we are slowly getting to them. I have to admit having lots of fun doing these with them ;)

First project: decorating/painting 3 ceramic bowls and cooking them in the oven to set the paint. Turned out pretty nice!

Second project: building this small scene and covering with this solution and then watching crystals form. Super cool one!

Finally: making 3 fancy shmancy bandannas.

LOVE these presents, fun for all!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Spanish word which literally means "break head". Hence the french term "casse-tete". Otherwise known as a jigsaw puzzle.

A few days ago my parents came over to see the kids and brought along a box. In it a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle depicting a summer scene from the town my dad grew up in in the French Alps. It was given to them by a friend who got it at a flea market.

So we installed ourselves around the kitchen table. Three generations working together. First it was a separation of the pieces according to color. Then all the "outside pieces" were assembled. That was enough for the first day.

The little ones certainly got an appreciation of what a thousand meant in real terms! And what a long term project is all about. Hubby and I worked at it over 5 days sometimes till the wee hours of the night, talking about this town and how we can't wait to return, chatting about daily stuff and reminiscing. When the twins were a little over a month old, we worked on a 1500 piece Christmas winter scene puzzle. We would sit with them around the table, feed them and look for pieces. We then glued the completed puzzle onto a cardboard backing and every Christmas, pull it out and remember that time in our lives.

So we finished the puzzle and realized two pieces were missing! Am working on making little pieces so we can glue this one too.

And their you have it, another snippet of our family life during cold winter days.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

counting backwards

The twins sure know how to do it. They got an extra long practice this morning.

You see, our new van has this nifty feature we didn't have in our other vehicle: the outdoor temperature is displayed front overhead center.They stare at the digital readout and comment about it daily. We'll often have a little contest of sorts to "guess" what temperature it will be once we reach school. Its a mini math lesson, discussing the whole concept of zero and negative numbers. There's also a compass near the temperature readout so they are getting to know the whole concept of N-S and W-E.

So today we went from +13C in the garage to -24C at school!!!

So keep warm everyone, gotta go wipe some condensation off some windows;)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

missing in action

I'm back!

Seems I've just had time to read my favorite blogs with scattered comments lately. Tried to post on my own but have been kicked out a few times. Hope it works this time.

Well, yes, the holidays are over. Back to school and work. Back to making lunches and driving the kids from here to there. Back to a routine, YES!!! I was so glad to get my house back. Spent the first few days putting all Christmas things away: decorations, cards, tree and all the loot acquired. Seems there is more and more stuff every year. And the difficulty in picking which kids' craft to keep!

Also went to my hubby's Christmas party. They always have it after the holidays, just easier to find a date suitable for everyone. It was all right. I think I was just all partied out and didn't really feel like going. Plus, I don't really know too many of his employees. Still was a nice evening out: a sit down meal, a few drinks,some dancing, some poker and black jack, some uninterrupted adult chitchat!

Went to church last Sunday. There was a luncheon right after that we hadn't planned on going to but some dear friends coerced us into it. Its an annual event, a fundraiser for a local charity. Everyone got a ticket going in as there are lots of door prizes. Just as I was saying how we never ever win anything, the number gets called out for the main prize: and baby girl won! I was thrilled. Yes because we won but mostly because she, the shy one, went all by herself up to the parish priest to claim her prize. She let him pick her up and present her to the whole congregation assembled, close to 300 people. She was beaming. She won an exquisite gold cross on a chain. Tradition has it that whoever wins this prize has luck on their side for the rest of the year. So there you go!

Also was my godchild's second birthday. Two already. He is the sweetest boy with a most gentle soul. Spent the day with him, along with his family and ours. Great people and love them all so very dearly.

Last Friday night, we had the chance to go see the Ottawa 67s. The girls didn't want to go. So baby boy and hubby went. He was SO proud! Meanwhile, big sis went to badminton, which left just baby girl and I. She said she wanted to go shopping with me! So off we went to the mall. Slowly browsing from store to store. Stopped for an ice cream. It was awesome spending some one on one time with her. A rare event. And she was SO happy too, that she just kept hugging me. But she wouldn't leave the mall without getting a little something for her brother! And he came back from the hockey game with some pink cotton candy for her! Those two. What a special bond they have.

And we finally got some snow yesterday! Yoo hoo! Been working on rebuilding our melted skating rink, should be perfect by tonight.

All right, back to the basement. The treadmill and an episode of LOST are awaiting:)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

tired ole' mom

It creeps up on you slowly. The aging thing. For quite a while you feel the same. And then, bang, one day you feel old, older. There's the usual signs: the white hair, the sagging bits, the jiggly bits, the most annoying failing eyesight , the slowed down metabolism making you gain weight just looking at food. And now a few new ones that are really pissing me off: hard time getting up from the floor when playing with kids, aching joints which I've NEVER had, sore back from tying 3 pairs of skates and just plain lack of energy. Seems like I've reached this new physical era in my life. some of it is out of my control and some I really need to get control over.

All right, I know, its also the fact that this whole Holiday fun leaves one with a digestive system out of whack due to too many indulgences and a body so out of shape from lack of exercise and too many days spent with kids who really need to go back to school and crazy hours going to bed and getting up. And clothes that feel too tight, arghh.

Bottom line, I want my routine back. I want my house back, to myself. I need to get rid of ALL the stuff lying around. I need to get back on my treadmill. Hey I even got the whole first season of Lost, which I've never seen, and plan to watch one episode each time I go run/walk.

One more day

twelve days after Christmas

Today is January 6th. Epiphany day. The twelfth day after Christmas. La Fete des Rois. El Dia de los Reyes. Ukrainian Christmas. Different meanings for different people.

My Spanish mom grew up with presents being delivered to the kids on this day by the 3 kings (no Santa Claus back then). My french dad grew up with the tradition of La Galette des Rois: a delicious flat cake with a hidden bean/trinket and whoever gets them in tehir piece is declared King of the day. My Greek husband grew up with a special church celebration of the "Blessing of the Waters".

So all in all, ever since the kids arrived, I've tried to impart a new tradition for this day resulting from an amalgamation of all these different upbringings.

For us, its the day the 3 kings came to bring their presents to baby Jesus. Hence, the kids will receive a little present tomorrow (usually one I put aside from all the ones they were about to receive at Christmas). We've already eaten that special cake tonight as my parents were here and baby boy will be king of the day tomorrow. And we will make a point of going to Church this week-end too. And we NEVER remove any Christmas decorations until after Epiphany.


... started off by updating the ticker factory and I ended up updating the whole look. What do you think?

Now that new ticker is my weight reduction/exercise/eat better incentive. TWO months before we hit the beach! Yikes!!

Friday, January 05, 2007

out on a date

We pulled it off. Hubby and I actually went out on a movie date. In the
middle of the day too. He really wanted to see CasinoRoyale ,
so after a morning of crafts with the kids, off we went. We've always
seen James Bond movies and Star Trek ones too forthat matter on the big screen.

It didn't disappoint us. Lots of action and lots of great locales (Bahamas, Venice, Lake Como and others). The new James Bond is definitely a new kind of James
Bond. Tougher yet more vulnerable. All in all a great escape for us.

And this weather? What's up with that? Definitely weird. Great to walk
around and all but no fun for the kids. Our outdoor skating rink is
officially finished as are all our cross country ski trails which we
carved around theproperty last week-end. Time to take out the bikes!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

museum day

For their birthday the twins got a family pass for the Nature Museum. Its a lovely old building resplendent in architectural details. Major renovations started in 2004 and will be ongoing until 2010.

So today, in an effort towards "an activity a day" for this last holiday week, we decided to go. Along with loads and loads of other families with the same intentions. We hadn't been back since the renovations started and I was taken aback at the sheer magnitude of the work undertaken. Most of our favorite exhibits were gone. We had to walk through construction zones. We scaled 6 flight of stairs. People with strollers had very long waits for one service elevator. It was, for me, disappointing. Yes, the new exhibits have some neat things to them, but I found it all too modern. Lost was the feel of the old majestic building. There was definite people flow issues as evidenced with many areas of congestion. I admit, I don't do well in crowded situations. Even worse with little kids in tow.

But the kids had fun. Along with the usual end of tour museum shop stop. I have to admit, they are well trained here, and always judiciously pick one item each. Yes, overpriced, but if it has some educational value I'm OK with it plus I view it as a donation to the museum.

But I think we won't go back for a little while. We'll wait for the renovations to advance some more.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

last night's fun

But this warm weather, as nice as it is, is not a good thing for a kid who wants to skate :( Thank God there's a hockey game for him to watch tonight!

we've created a monster

A hockey monster that is. Baby boy is addicted to the sport and he doesn't even play it yet.

He checks the Senators' calendar up on the fridge daily and informs us what time the game is on. He'll sit there and watch the whole game intently.

He plays with his hockey cards daily, classifying them in all sorts of combinations and permutations.

His favorite hat and jacket have an NHL logo of some sort on it.

His bedsheets have hockey logos on them.

He asks us every day if he can go "play" hockey, either in the garage or on the driveway. Or a game of air hockey. Last night he got to go on our backyard rink . Could. Not. Get. Him. To. Come. Back. In.

New Year's morning, we all watched the movie The Rocket, a great recap of Maurice Richard's life. He was riveted. And last night he was pretending to be Maurice taking slap shot after slap shot on a board hubby set up for him rink side.

Santa brought him this book. To add to his collection of favorite books.

What have we done? We've created a monster! But he's so cute when he comes back in after "playing" hockey all sweaty and with rosy cheeks. Or the way he cheers when the Sens or the Habs score. Such intensity. I hope he has this kind of intensity with whatever he ends up wanting to do with his life, cause if he does, he'll do well.

I wanted to add some pics but Blogger won't let me, arghhh.