Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review

We brought in the New Year in Ugly Sweaters
Kaden participated in his first spelling bee
We had a stripping party in our basement

Kaden attended his first NHL game
I had my first ambulance ride
Kiandra finished her first high school semester on the honour roll

Kezia and Kaden completed another season of soccer and hockey
Conrad went on a business trip to Kentucky

I purged nearly 40 bags of stuff from our house
Kezia signed up for badminton

I ran 5K
Kiandra had her year end synchro show
I learned that I would get to stay at my dream job
Kezia went to Quebec

Conrad and I celebrated 16 years of marriage
by taking the time for a little getaway

We went on a 2 week family vacation to Arizona, Nevada, and California

We got to see a live taping of the "Jessie" show
After years of being a camper-Kiandra became a Leader in Training at day camp
Kezia and I had fun with a sewing machine

We started making noticeable progress in our basement
I went to the States with some girlfriends while Kezia and Kaden were at camp
Kiandra enjoyed an aerial dance camp
I posted my 1000th blog post
I started and finished painting Kaden's bedroom


Soccer, Synchro, and Hockey begins a new season

Our school hosted a Worship Fair
Kiandra got her learner's license
Conrad and I have been together 21 years
I celebrated 50 days of school

I began recording our family dictionary
I wrote our 2012 Christmas Letter

Sunday, December 30, 2012


I guess it runs in the family...

Kiandra went to the mall yesterday to spend her Aeropostale gift card from my parents. The boxing day sales were tempting her and all of the already reduced merchandise was an additional 30% off.

After trying on many things, she narrowed her choices and got in line. She ended up having to add 5 hair ties, a nail polish, and a lip gloss to put her over the amount she needed to use a coupon that she found (spend $40.00 and save $10.00). Her final choices:

1 navy and white striped crop top
1 grey Aero shirt
elephant necklace
pink lip gloss
purple nail polish
5 hair ties
Pink studded long sleeve shirt
Aero bag (perfect for synchro!)
white 3/4 sleeve shirt
white tank top

Total value of her gift card: $35.00

Total cost for Kiandra: 1 cent


Saturday, December 29, 2012

...and another one...

This Christmas gathering (with my side of the family) was hosted at our house. We had a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and my sister, her boyfriend, and her 2 kids joined us. We ate:

We opened gifts: 

(the kids were blessed with giftcards - which they were thrilled to get!)

...and I snapped some pictures. Man - these kids are growing up fast...

Friday, December 28, 2012


I'm a huge fan of Playmobil. It's a great toy and all three of our kids played with the pieces and it made shopping for gifts so easy because they always loved adding to their existing sets. Over the years, we've accumulated many sets and they have been responsible for many hours of entertainment for our kids.

The rubbermaid buckets seldom come out anymore and our kids have essentially moved on from Playmobil --although while shopping at Costco this year, Kezia found this school set and practically begged me to get it, lol! However...every once in awhile they haul out the buckets and today was one of those days...

...except their "play" has changed a bit:

Kiandra's first production:

Kezia and Kiandra's "full-length" feature:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Baking

Well, I didn't get as much baking in this year as previous years (...and not all in one day like last year!) but I did manage to make some of our favourite treats to enjoy:

Gingersnaps ...didin't around to dipping them

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


It was a good one...again. We faked Christmas Day this year by having our own family Christmas on Christmas Eve instead of the 25th. I know it's terribly selfish, but I having a whole day at home with just our little family. Love. It. For some reason I feel like I need to justify this decision but it really works good for our family and we love the down time. It started years ago when we ran around like crazy people hitting every gathering (at the time-my extend family gathering was usually on boxing day which was out of town and Conrad's parents also lived out of town) and we arrived home after 2 or more days of chaos absolutely exhausted and then Conrad would go back to work and I would be left with the aftermath. One year - I think Kaden was 2- and for some reason Conrad's sister's family (who live out of province) wanted to celebrate the Sunday before Christmas Day and that year my sister was only available the Sunday after. My extended gathering had been held early in December and so that year, we were spoiled with Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing day to ourselves. It was glorious. I have nothing against spending time with family but I love OUR family time and LOVE that time on Christmas Day together. 

As our kids have grown up and our schedules have become more hectic, I cherish this small family time even more. I think it also becomes a competition because if we don't get together with both families on Christmas Day, then one feels the shaft. So, choosing to be with just our little family eliminates that. Christmas day is the ONLY day of the entire year that we can be sure that there are no hockey games, no soccer games, no synchro meets, Conrad has had to work on Christmas Eve sometimes and he has also worked on Boxing day too. Christmas day is the only day we are guaranteed to have together and that's sacred time to me. We laze around in our jammies, leisurely open our gifts one at a time taking turns, eat a fantastic breakfast, and then we spend the day checking out our new gifts, playing our new games (there's always at least one new one!) and chilling out as a family. I love it. 

Yes, I realize this is setting myself up for my own kids to want to do the same thing and not be with me on Christmas Day. However, I hope they do want to spend time with their little families as well. I think that will be important for them too --to not just rush through Christmas but to stop and enjoy it. I think it helps slow down the season when you are not rushing from one place to another but rather savouring the time instead of breezing through it.

Conrad's parents planned for our gathering with his side on Christmas Day which I have to say I was a little sad about. Even our kids asked if we had to go out on Christmas day if they could wear their jammies and I know they look forward to our relaxing time at home. Conrad (solver of all!) suggested we just hold our Christmas on Christmas Eve since Conrad's work had decided to be closed on that day. So, we did...

We pretended it was Christmas morning and besides being interrupted by the mailman, it was pretty much how we would have spent our day anyway. We opened gifts:

...and the bags I made this summer worked great! We continued the tradition of 4 gifts (something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read) and a stocking. Their "something they need" bags were a little full this year with some bonus gifts because the girls desperately needed tank tops/camisoles and Kaden needed socks and a long sleeved underarmour thingy for outdoor hockey and so those got stuffed into the bag as well.

Gifts this year from us:

Something she wants- Sephora make up kit (bought with a $15.00 off coupon!)
Something she needs- pjs, tank tops, socks, underwear
Something she wears- "synchro" (I have a post on this coming soon!) sweats and I did add a pair of boots that I found on clear out for $10.00)
Something she reads- Listography (not sure why it is twice the price at chapters?!)

Something she wants-lug skipper purse in ocean blue
Something she needs-sweats for soccer, tank tops, socks, underwear
Something she wears- sock monkey footsie pjs (that reminds me, I don't think I paid Tammy yet for picking these up for me from the States! Sorry!!)
Something she reads- Susie Magazine subscription

Something he wants-Football Jersey Shirt on sale!
Something he needs- music stand, socks, hockey jock, underarmour hockey thing,
Something he wears- housecoat
Something he reads- Latest Diary of Wimpy Kid Book

The game we added to our game collection was "Sounds Like a Plan" which was a real winner!
and we had another group gift that we knew Kezia would like more than the others but it really was for our whole family to use....especially when our basement renovation is finally completed!
A Popcorn Machine!

I bought Conrad some clothes, a new razor (Black Friday Sale!) and 4 new magic tricks which he was thrilled with. I think he will get a kick out of showing these off...especially this one and this one. He spent some time on the 24th practicing and it was so fun to watch him master his new tricks.

I was extremely blessed this year by receiving so many of the gifts from my wish list. I probably shouldn't be surprised when he gets me something from my list but it blew me away to find ALL of these things under the tree for me:

I also got an immersion blender/chopper which I was thrilled with because I had a really cheap one and it broke right away and so Conrad picked a more studier one. I was so happy with all of my gifts and then Conrad told me to close my eyes because there was one more...

A Kitchenaid Mixer!! Wow! I cried. It was so unexpected because it was such an expensive gift. Conrad shrugged it off and said it was kind of a silly gift because it was for the whole family. I have been wishing for one of these mixers for a long time but did not think I would actually own one. I love it. I told Conrad that I had not spent that much on him and he laughed because he said that was not the point. It was a huge and unexpected surprise. I am blessed to have a husband who spoils me royally. I put it to good use already that first night when I made pizza dough...

It worked perfectly! So. awesome. Even though it was our "Christmas Day" we kept our Christmas Eve tradition of making pizza for supper. We spread out the toppings and went to town building our individual pizzas. They were scrumptious as usual!

The leftover toppings for our pizzas are perfect for breakfast the next day when we make omelettes in a bag and serve them with hashbrowns, bacon, and fresh fruit.

After our late breakfast, we were off to Conrad's parents for the rest of the day. I didn't take many pictures. We spent a good part of the day swimming in their condo's pool and then we ate dinner and opened gifts. Here are just a few of the kids with some of their gifts. 

My sister-in-law blessed us with some amazing delish naturals products from her shop. The girls especially loved their lip balm flavours in Monkey Fart and Blueberry Smoothie. My nephew was a bit under the weather and my brother-in-law had to work early the next morning, so it was just our little family and Conrad's parents left after they were gone. We stayed late to play some games and it was a good time. 

Today, Conrad had to work :( and so just like that it's all over. While I'm thankful he has a job when so many others do not, I would have liked another day with him at home. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Christmas Letter

Dear Friends
We have navigated through another year on the road of life. We’ve had some twists and bends along the way and weve had to stop for directions a few times...but here we are again at the crossroads of another year ending and a new one just around the corner. This year has been quite the ride...

In January, Kezia turned the corner and said hello to her teens. Turning 13 was a huge deal for Kezia. It is hard to imagine that we now have two teens in the house but the girls have made this transition relatively painless. A few weeks later, we had a major bump in the road when I had trouble breathing and then had to taken by ambulance to the hospital where I spent the night. The resulting news was pneumonia and after a week of rest, I was able to return to work....although it took much longer to feel like myself again. The forced rest was not on my map but it was a relatively easy detour and then we were back on the road. When I think about the serious health troubles that many of our friends and family members have faced this year, we are thankful for such a minor inconvenience. 

In Spring, it became clear that my school (and the school where Kezia and Kaden attend) would be losing two teachers at the end of the school year. It seemed like this time, after a few concerns in my past 3 years of teaching, I would be at the end of the road at my dream job. It was hard to think about leaving a job that I love and a school that I love. I was most sad to think that my own kids would have to say good bye to their school as well. However, nothing could have prepared me for the excitement of the news that I would, in fact, be staying and that I would be on this course for the long haul. Praise God for His provision. 

Our journey this year has taken us to the sidelines of many sports: indoor and outdoor soccer for Kezia, synchronized swimming for Kiandra, and hockey, flag football, and volleyball for Kaden. We covered many miles as we attended practices, games, and water shows. It is so fun to support the kids in the things they love to do. We have also parked on the sidelines of many music performances as well. Kiandra played Babet in her high school’s presentation of “Les Miserables and she navigated through weeks of intense practices and celebrated a job well done in their week long performances last March. She is currently taking concert band where she plays the clarinet and jazz band where she plays the saxophone. Kaden joined the Grade 6 band where he plays the trumpet. I love the busy--ness that all of these activities bring. Sometimes I wonder how we will fit it all in. As we travel from point A to point B, I am reminded that this is a special season of my life right now and I treasure this time that I have while driving my kids around. I often feel like I live in my van, but I am so thankful for this time in my life.

We also travelled down many new roads this year. In May, Kezia went with the Grade 7 & Grade 8 classes from our school to visit Quebec City and Montreal. It was her first trip without Mom and Dad *(sniff!)* and it was a great experience. In July, we planned a road trip summer holiday. We flew to Mesa, Arizona and then set off from there with stops at the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and Phoenix. We had an amazing two weeks of hot sun (one day it was 116 degrees!) and we made some wonderful family memories. 

Conrad has been busy in the construction zone part of our road this year and has been faithfully renovating our basement since last October. He has been knocking down walls, adding new ones, jack hammering, plumbing, rewiring, moving duct work, patching, sanding, painting, tiling, and grouting. It has taken longer than expected but slow and steady reaches the end, right? We are anxiously looking forward to using our new space when it is finally done. 

The biggest news about the road we’ve travelled over this last year is that now we have a new driver on it. In October, Kiandra started drivers ed and was able to get her learner’s license. She has been attending classes and taking her road lessons and is thrilled to be driving. It is amazing how fast we have arrived at this point. In many ways it seems like we were just helping her learn to ride a bike and now we are helping her learn to drive. Sometimes, I wish it would just all slow down a little bit. 

Wherever your journey took you and your family this year, I pray that God revealed himself to you as the ultimate guide for life. We were reminded many times over this year that “we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9  Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a journey for 2013 that brings you joy!

Pamela, Conrad, Kiandra, Kezia, and Kaden 

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Kaden's team has not been doing well this season. They have won only 1 game so far and most of their losses have been real blow if the team forgot to show up :) Today, they played the team they beat a few weeks ago and I guess that gave them the confidence to play their little hearts out. At the end of the first it was 2-0 for parent arrived late and sighed when she saw the score - thinking it was our team that was losing by 2! Kaden scored the third goal of the game in the second period and then the other team got their first goal. In the third, they got another goal and then our team scored 3 - yes 3! - more goals to give us a score of 6-2 and I caught all 3 of those goals on video on my phone including this one where Kaden was checked and knocked down right before his teammate scored: When I realized their were only 17 seconds left on the clock, I switched my phone to "still" photos instead of "video" in anticipation of catching their excitement of a winning game to post here on the blog....and then Kaden snatched the puck up and scored a beautiful goal in the top corner! Ah nuts! That would have been a great thing to catch on video. So the final score was 7-2...they almost scored more goals in today's game than they have this whole season. They were so pumped and hopefully this boast in confidence that they need to play well against other teams too.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I made it...

It's been a long week. There were so many things to get done before school ended for the year and many times I wondered if it would all get finished. My Grade 1 friends were a little squirrel-ly and in their minds have been on vacation for a least a week or so. Emotionally this week was hard too. The events surrounding the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings have shaken me. Those children were in Grade 1. Grade. 1. The exact age I work with every day. I literally broke down as the pictures of these "babies" began showing up in my facebook feed and yahoo mail. The first day back (Monday) I teared up as my Grade 1 friends arrived and I thought about someone coming in and looking at them and deciding to shoot them 3-11 times. Who could do such an evil thing. Breaks my heart. I loved this post by one of my favourite Christian mom bloggers. A great reminder to me that some things are just too difficult for us to understand here on earth.

Anyway, it was the last school day of 2012 and I made it. I was royally spoiled by my students with wonderful gifts and kind words. One of my favourite "gifts" was actually just a card from a student I had last year. The card was hand written and as well as wishing me and my family well over the Christmas break, it included the message that they were eagerly awaiting until we were "reunited" in two years when I have a chance to teach their younger child. Awe. some.

We were dismissed at 1:15 but didn't manage to leave the school until almost 3:00 by the time I completed my kitchen duty and packed up all my treasures. When we got home, I had a nap *grin* and then I drove Kaden to a party. Since it was out by the school, I took the time during the party to go back to the school to clean up the Christmas decorations, take apart the Jesse tree, and photocopy my January morning routine books. It was very productive and (surprise, surprise!) there was no line up at the photocopier, lol! :)

I picked Kaden up from the party...learned some interesting things about what had transpired there...and discovered that my son can stand against peer pressure. I was so proud of him. I'm also glad for the stand he took and that 3 of his friends took Kaden's side which helped him to stand his ground. I often worry about Kaden and whether he will just go along with the crowd but he showed me tonight that he can make good choices, even when others around him are not.

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