Friday, December 27, 2013

Family Photo Session

The kids gave me a family photo session for Christmas. I was so pleased because it really is hard to know when we'll be together again. All of the photos are by Jimmy Bennett who is our neighbour who does this on the side. He sent these along within the hour. The rest won't be ready for a week. But I'm happy with just these. 

Friday was the planned day and it looked like the temperatures would be around 0. So not too cold. So, I wanted to do an outdoor shoot at Mt. Uniacke. I asked the kids to wear layers and try to wear denim, plaid, and little bits of red. Altho at the last minute, I gave into Gaëlle and let her wear her big fur coat. I would rather she be warm and full of smiles then cold and grumpy. She was quick to comment throughout the photo shoot that she was warm.

My amazing kids.

Gaëlle begged us to do a silly pose. There was some snow throwing. And some jumping in the air. 

Me and Robin by ourselves.

Dad with his girls. I love this one. As you can see, by this time, Gaëlle's hand were getting cold in the thin red gloves, so she switched to her colourful fleece gloves. But as long as she's smiling, I can live with it.

Country Girl Dolls for Christmas

As I mentioned in the post below, Gaëlle has consistently asked for an American Girl Doll for Christmas. It is always difficult to know what to buy her for special presents. People always think she will be so thankful for anything she gets, but it's just not so. She is not attached to very much. As we've discovered, that's not always a good trait. It means she is super rough with stuff. She doesn't take care of anything that most kids would regard as special. She quickly forgets about items that most kids would consider special. 

But we wanted to get her this doll because we hoped it would be special and we hoped it would be another thing that she and her sisters would have in common. We are constantly looking for ways for her to feel included in our family. Both girls have American Dolls and so this will be a shared memory.

She was thrilled. And it's not because she looks at the catalogs and drools (like Emily and Kaylin did). She has a few friends that have them and she knows the older girls have their dolls which are carefully stored away.

I bought a new outfit for her doll as well. This is the cute tiny sweater. At 6:00 pm as I was cleaning stuff up, I noticed this cute overpriced sweater already has 3 holes in it. It is just hard for Gaëlle to be gentle with "stuff". So it's tough to spend money on items for her. We can encourage her to be careful, but so far, the message doesn't seem to be sticking. I brought the holes to her attention in a casual voice and reminded her that it will last longer if she is careful.

As soon as Gaëlle could talk them into it, Emily and Kaylin brought out their tubs of dolls and clothes. It was doll heaven.

Can you see the look of concern on somebody's face?

It appears the nightie set got placed in the wrong girl's box. Oops. Back to it's rightful owner.

The dolls all got new outfits on and the hair was brushed.

So many choices. For this one day only, Emily and Kaylin gave Gaëlle full reign. She could play with their clothes to her hearts content. 

Oh, time for another change.

Bitty Baby even got a fresh outfit on.

Then the 3 girls posed for me with their dolls. Emily and Kaylin are making plans to go back to American Girl Place with their dolls in tow, so they can experience it again through the eyes of a little girl. We have about 3 years to try and make that happen before the little girl is too old. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

Josh arrived in Nova Scotia on Saturday, Dec 21 after a long icy drive. He and a friend he was travelling with spent Friday night in Bangor and then headed the rest of the way on Saturday. It was still a very long day. We're so thankful he was able to come home, and he brought some goodies for the rest of us. Gaëlle is THRILLED with this sparkly purple dress.

I was very late getting any Christmas baking done. On Monday night, I finally got my act together and made some of the traditional treats. Robin and Gaëlle were all about helping. And sampling. It passed the taste test.

Josh helped me with the peanut butter cups. They've been a Christmas staple for many years now. 

Christmas Eve after the early service, we had our snack/meal. I didn't get a picture, but Peter pretty much single handedly finished off an entire tray of shrimp. We had the lobster sandwiches. And other snacks and sweets.

Josh rocking the red plaid shirt.

Robin rocking the 30 year old red socks that only come out at Christmas time.

Christmas morning and the girls are ready to go.

Robin is reading the Bible to start off our day.

Stockings under the tree.

It's always interesting to see how the kids will do with Christmas. It takes a few reminders of how we are supposed to act. But the younger kids did well. I was proud of them for handling such an emotional anxiety inducing day so well.

The kids draw names for each other and Josh had Gaëlle. He got her an iPod shuffle so she  can listen to music. He had it inscribed on the back with, "ROCK ON GAELLE". She loved it.

Peter didn't have a lot of toys or things to play with this year but he seemed pleased with the way the day went.

Gaëlle surprised me this year when she asked for an American Girl Doll. She mentioned it several times so I was quite pleased to order one for her. She loved it. More on that in another post.

Peter was also pretty single minded this year. He wanted a scooter that does tricks. So, that's what we got him. Now he has to wait until the snow clears up a bit to use it. 

Kaylin is still strong in the veggie eating camp, so we got her a juicer and mini food processor. She seems ready to put it to good use. 

Emily is in her last year of university and she her computer has been dying. She is afraid it will crash at any moment, so we decided to get her graduation gift early. Then for graduation, we'll get her a Christmas present. She was THRILLED. Now at least she just has to worry about her studies and not her computer.

Josh is a die hard Ottawa Senators hockey fan and so we got him a jersey. He wore it most of the day.

Snickers wasn't left out. She had a bone to chew on. She's still working on it. It's huge for her.

The kids hanging out on the couch figuring out the laptops.

Peter trying out his scooter and wishing we had an unfinished basement.

Kaylin tried out her juicer and the kids stood back in amazement.

First try and the grapefruit was a little overpowering. But it looks pretty.

Our Christmas meal was also traditional. Nothing new. However Kaylin made a vegan dish with acorn squash and quinoa. It looked good.

Last year when Robin and I were on our 25th anniversary weekend away we went for a beach walk and found this driftwood - old crate piece on the beach. We brought it home and this Christmas Robin fixed it up a bit and place a mirror in it. I love it.

At night, Val and Vashti came over for some games. We introduced them to the card game SCUM. It's such a fun game to play when there's a large crowd. 

Peter and Gaëlle love to be included so they were able to play.

The 2 high scorers of the evening. All in all, we had a wonderful day. Kids were able to control themselves and keep themselves regulated. Nobody was rushed and we just had fun together. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Snow fun

We've had a few snow days this December. The kids had 2 days off school this week and we couldn't make church last Sunday because of the weather. There have been a few games played.

A few movies watched.

Some snow shovelling.

A dog who isn't too fond of the snow and cold. 

More eager snow shovelers. 

And some sledding.

A university student has come home. Yeah.

On Friday night the club had their puppet Christmas show. Emily works with them every other Friday night. She puts in a lot of work to make this accessible to all who want to participate. It's a great activity and I had a fun time watching. Robin read a poem Emily had written between puppet songs. So cute. Kaylin and Peter and Vashti also helped out on performance night so there was a bit of support for the club members and Emily. 

Josh made it home Saturday night. He brought goodies for the kids, and us. Gaëlle seemed most excited about the purple sequinned dress. Thanks mom.