Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from Paris!

Is there anything more magical than Christmas in Paris? I'm not sure.

I'm so glad my fruzzin CA invited me to join her for this trip of a lifetime. Although I have twinges of missing things at home, I will never experience anything like this again!

Yesterday we spent wandering Christmas markets around the Eiffel Tower. It was so picture-perfect. Just being out and about while Parisians finished their last minute Christmas preps was so neat. (So much calmer and quaint than in North America) We saw people stopping at the fish market, the bakery, etc.

So far Paris has been amazing and it's only day two!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas List

This Christmas I've had to abandon some of the traditions that seem like necessity and recognize that I am only human. I cannot be everything to everyone and this December I encountered a number of unplanned instances that demanded my attention and required a constant change of plans!

I'm a natural communicator and love sending things in the post, so Christmas cards are always a favourite project to get me in the holiday spirit. In fact, I often make my own cards. However, this year as the days slipped by, I resigned myself to the fact that I would not be sending cards. I did get a few in the mail early in the month, so if you got one... you're lucky :)

Another thing I love doing is baking. Somehow it became tradition for me to make cookies in the shape of beetles and drop them off to the fine folks at Autobahn. I kept trying to figure out a time in the schedule to do my baking and it kept getting pushed down the list of priorities. I am, after all, going to Paris in four days!

There's always next year to bring back these traditions or start new ones. How has your Christmas changed or evolved over the years?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Auntie Janice's Christmas Extravaganza

Each Christmas, I spend a lot of time considering the age and personality of each of my nieces and nephews. I come up with an appropriate gift idea, track it down, buy it, wrap it and on Christmas I see it added to the pile of other "stuff". After the gift wrap frenzy of last year, I decided to do something different that would mean something to both me and them.

Taking a cue from my birthday celebration with each of them, I decided to do an "experience" gift, and so began Auntie Janice's Christmas Extravaganza!

We made crafts, built-our-own pizzas, attended a church Christmas concert, watched Christmas movies, decorated cupcakes and had a lot of fun! No presents were wrapped and under the tree but each of these kids is a gift to me each day. (I know that sounds cheesy, and it is...but it's true.)

Abigail made me an auntie, so she'll always have a special place in my heart. She reminds me a lot of me when I was her age. She has a sweet personality, cares about others and is maturing into a wonderful teenager!

Joshua is a teddy bear. He's always been sensitive and cuddly. He's just like Daddy & Grandpa which just happen to be 2 of my favourite guys! He thinks about things and sometimes I can almost see the wheels turning inside but is a man of few words. Josh is really creative and is good with details.

Madison is independent and is free to be who she is without worrying about what others think. She is thoughtful and loves reading, going to the library and blogging! She is compassionate towards others and likes things to be fair.

Kaelyn is like a ray of sunshine. She is always smiling and sees the positive in everything. She is adventurous and not afraid to try much of anything. She loves to have fun and always makes me smile.

Jesse is a curious explorer, always asking the most interesting questions. He's very observant and picks up on details to file away in his little brain. He's very loveable and always has a hug and kiss for me. (and usually has to come running outside for one more before I leave)

Liam is quite the character. He loves music and dancing and is often moving to some beat in his head. He's a little sweetie pie that loves snuggles, always shares and is a really funny kid.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Enough is Enough

During the past year, I have had my fair share of hospital visits. In fact, I think I've had enough for right now. I mean, I keep it interesting with different family members and different hospitals but it's kinda becoming a drag. My aunt, my sister, my mom, my brother-in-law, my dad and my nephew...the list can stop growing now.

Here is my most recent patient...

Jesse broke his elbow this weekend and had to have surgery. I spent yesterday afternoon with the Peanut and he was taking it all in stride. In fact, I think he was enjoying the adventure.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Rising To The Occasion

Have you ever experienced a change that was so gradual, you didn't see it happen? The past few weeks have revealed something like this to me. Let me explain.

I am the youngest of four siblings and as such, I'm usually treated as the "baby" of the family. I'm totally cool with that and most times it works to my advantage. For example, when we have a family potluck I'm usually assigned something like "drinks" or "veggie tray". Nothing too complicated, you know.

Over the past few weeks, I've needed to rise to the occasion and surprised myself. (I feel like I observed me from the outside. Does that make sense?)

My mom had knee replacement surgery at the end of October and obviously needed some help with things around the house as well as encouragement and a shoulder to lean on once in a while. I found myself giving up my time on the weekends to spend with her. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to. She has always been so giving and supportive of everyone else, it was her turn to be on the receiving end.

Don't get me wrong, visiting my mom is not out of the ordinary for me but it was the situation that was different this time. Providing support for her was incredibly satisfying, yet caused me to pause and reflect on the fact that I'm entering a new stage of life.

That was affirmed on Monday when Dad had a heart attack. I'm so thankful that he is home now and doing well but, again, a time to pause and reflect. My initial reaction was fear and panic. However, after I saw him and felt that everything was going to be OK, that is when I surprised myself. I pulled myself together and helped figure out logistics for the next few weeks as they both are recovering. I talked to nurses to find out more about his recovery and was there for his discharge. I've had some good talks with Dad over the past week.

I've changed and the way I deal with crises has changed. You never know what life is going to throw your way and the past few years have really shown that to me. It's all in how you handle the curve balls. Perhaps what I'm writing about is really called maturity and I'm finally catching on.