Friday, January 30, 2009

Girls, Girls, Girls

Thankfully this week has flown by, today is my doctor's appointment and now that my mind and google have filled me with trepidation, I get the real scoop.

The weather is crazy here, it snowed all morning yesterday and rained all afternoon. The roads are awful. I had to drive hubby to work this morning so I could make my appointment and it was fine until we got past the neighbouring city. There were 3 or 4 cars in the ditch in a 2 km stretch. As in, had just left the road and gone into the ditch, police on scene. Needless to say I was white knuckling it after I dropped off Brent. I hate winter highway driving in the dark!

The boys had a great time at Karate yesterday, they found the transition quite easy. Monkey would really like to go, but he is too young. So disappointed.
Baby Zed is miserable this morning, not sure what is up, right now he is sobbing in his sleep. So sad!
Girly has been hilarious lately. Every time I turn around, she has her shirt up and bear on her chest. "I'm bwest feedin' bear mommy!" She loves to nurse bear. The funniest is when we are out and she is wearing a dress and decides that bear needs a little somethin'-somethin'. She just yanks her dress up around her neck and nurses bear. Can you tell that she really relates to me? "We are the only girls, right mommy?" or "We love each other, right mommy?" or "You and me are just alike, right sister-mommy?" I guess we girls have to stick together!

Oh, Please keep Becky in your prayers. Her baby girl, Amelia, is here and doing well, but they received some scary news and are awaiting more test results today.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When lives collide

I was going to post about how well I am doing today with the sugar thing. I did great yesterday and today, other than absently eating a fruit loop from my son's breakfast dessert (I won't let them eat sugar cereal for breakfast, but since their dad bought fruit loops, I let them have a small bowl after a healthy breakfast). Right now however? I am totally craving sugar! I poured myself a cup of tea and immediately my mind did a mental inventory of my cupboards, looking for a treat.

But so far, so good.

After a fall of taking it easy, our schedule is becoming quite full all of a sudden. Both my hubby and I, seem to have simultaneously decided to get more involved at church. We have signed up for small groups, for a 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' event, Karate at church for the kids (and maybe me?), a men's event, a Marriage Seminar, Youth Convention, and are making an effort to reach out a bit. The Karate is a trial. The boys would really like to go back to Tae Kwon Do, but we haven't figured out how to make it fit our new budget yet. Our church runs a Karate class once a week and at a very reasonable price, and it is the same night as the adult floor hockey night that Brent would like to attend. Superboy is quite excited to give this a whirl, his belly buddy also attends. (His mom is Brent's oldest friend and the boys were born on the same day.)

Our church seems to be attracting people from our past lives. A number of couples that Brent grew up with, now attend here. A few people we knew from college are also regulars. And more recently, people I knew growing up are attending. People I knew when I lived 800km away in another province! Last week I looked over to see a familiar face. No longer boyish and a tiny bit rounder, but one I knew. One I had once kissed. So weird. An old youth group friend and his beautiful wife and teensy, darling boy. It felt a bit weird to introduce our spouses and chat after um... 17 years?!? He was never my boyfriend, but as the only girl and boy our ages in the youth group, we did test the waters a little bit. So to speak.

It was a first for us. Brent had no previous girlfriends for me to meet and my dating experience took place mostly in junior high, and was sooooo junior high. So we had very little dating past to share with each other and an no real exes to introduce to each other. But after a second of awkwardness on my part, it was all good. Brent was inviting N out to some men's events and S and I were exchanging numbers. They recently moved to a near-by town and really like our church, so they will likely keep attending. I think I shall call up his wife next week and invite her to mom's morning out. Time for me to go back there anyway. And I would love a new friend.

Hey there dear internet friends, please say a prayer for Aunt Becky today, she is being induced and should have a darling baby girl to show off any time now.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's in the Blood

So I had some bloodwork done a couple of weeks ago. They tested my thyroid hormones, my fasting glucose and my iron. I had assumed that all was normal because I haven't heard anything. Well the office called today. She wants me to come in on Friday. ugh.
Now I have to wait all week to know what is wrong! I am sure it is not a big deal, but that won't stop my mind from running wild all week long...

I am sure my sugar is fine, I had it tested a couple of times while pregnant and it was fine. My iron was low post partum, so it is entirely possible that it is just that. It could also be my thyroid I guess, and that is very treatable. I do think it unlikely to be my thyroid, the doctor said it felt fine, no enlargement at all. So iron. It must be that.


In the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I am restarting my sugar fast. Tomorrow. The triple chocolate brownies and fieldberry tarts I made to take to dinner (that was rescheduled) proved too much for me. I cheated a little and then, in rebellion, I cheated a lot. And I liked it. A lot.

And I made a big mistake. As I was throwing my organic all-nut peanut and almond butters in my cart at Costco, I said yes to the Nutella my 11 year old asked for. (I should be forgiven for being weak, I did take 5 kids to Costco. On a weekend) Well I forgot how much I like Nutella, by the heaping spoonful, in all it's hazlenutty and chocolately goodness. Oh wait! What hazlenut? Ingredients 1 and 2 are SUGAR and modified fat (I think palm oil?), then hazlenuts. 11g of the white stuff per tablespoon! My question after reading that was, 'How on earth do you fit 11g of sugar in one tbsp of nut butter?!?'

I always knew it was dessert, not health food, but it is calling to me! Help! I don't usually put junk food in my cart. Or foods containing 'modified' fats, and now I have two jars of yummy torture sitting in my cupboard. I don't buy that stuff because if it isn't there, I can't eat it. It doesn't call out to me everytime I walk into the kitchen.

Unfortunately, my 11 year old has inherited my sweet tooth and I keep catching him with a spoonful of that yummy stuff, sneaking out of the kitchen as I try to sneak in.


Sleeping Arrangements

We are almost finished the little boys room, painting is all done and now we just need to get the furniture in there. I have a couple pieces of art I want to order and a few that I am working on that need finishing.
Until now, Monkey and Girly have happily shared a room. Monkey has not shown any interest in sleeping in his own room. If he had, I think that room would have been done long ago. He is scared to change rooms, scared to sleep alone. As it stands, there is a double bed in there that my dad stays in twice a month on his way to and from work. It has been so convenient to have spare room!
Saturday night, Daddy convinced Monkey Boy to sleep in his new room. Girly wanted to sleep with him, but Daddy told her that Monkey had to say it was okay. Well Monkey acted pretty cool about it. "I guess she could have a sleepover with me. Maybe we could put a mattress on the floor for her, but if we can't... Well I guess she could sleep in my bed with me. I suppose it would be okay."
Well my two sweet littles, cuddled up in that bed together, put on the musical snow globe and went out like the lights. We kept peeking in on them and they would be cuddled up together, or holding hands. Cu-ute!
So yesterday Daddy and I were chatting about this and how hard it was going to be on both of them to separate. Monkey would probably be okay because baby Zed would sleep with him. But poor Girly was going to be all alone! We may just have to let them keep sharing.
So last night we tucked them in together, prayed, sang and wound up the snow globe. Within 5 minutes Monkey opened the door with a whiny complaint. "Girly keeps putting the snow globe on and she keeps turning on the light to do it! I can't sleep!"

Girly protested, "I just want to put on some soosin' moosic {soothing music}so we can sweep..."

Mommy, "Well you can't sleep if you keep getting up to turn on the light! Go to bed."

Girly, stalling now, "In a second, I just havta pee!"

Daddy tucked them back in bed and told Girly that if she couldn't sleep that she should get up and go to her own bed instead of bugging Monkey Boy.
4.5 minutes later, the door opened and a little voice called out, "I can't sweep. I am goin' to mine own bed."
And she did. And they both slept soundly all night long. Finally!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mommy? Are you ironing in there?

Thanks guys! Today will be the big test. We are going to some new friend's for dinner and I am bringing dessert and stuff. I make delicious desserts... I am going to want to eat this dessert... I am going to want to lick the batter from the spoon... But you know what? I don't think I will.
I am realizing how much sugar is hidden in our food! In salad dressings and such. I think I knew, but I never gave it much thought before.

So the other day, hubby and I realized that all the kids were occupied. Baby was sleeping, all 4 of the other's were in the basement playing a video game together and we were amazingly alone. We thought we might take advantage of that time and have some needed Mommy-Daddy time.
Within 5 minutes of locking the door, we heard Girly running up the stairs and then she was pounding on the door. "Mommy?! Daddy? Are you ironing in there?!"

So ironing is our new code word. Isn't parenting fun? I am not sure if we will ever get Mommy-Daddy time again. Apparently everyone has stopped sleeping here. This morning my hubby slipped away while I had 3 kids in my bed. Again. 3 little furnaces surrounding me from all directions.

These child interuptions are habitual around here. One time when I was very pregnant still, and we thought we might move things along, Monkey woke up looking for us. At a very crucial moment. He started to throw his body against the door, screaming for me. So much for my concentration. Dunzo.

{There is a story behind the ironing. A few weeks before this, I was ironing on the floor in the bedroom. I had unplugged the iron and then took Girly to the bathroom. I warned her about the iron and how hot it was and told her to stay out of that room. After I wiped her bottom and I was washing my hands, she slipped out and headed straight for the iron. She plugged it in and started to iron her blanket. By the time I was drying my hands, I heard her cry. She had, of course, touched the iron and burned herself. Now she has a fear of irons. }

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Between Laura's journey into health and weightloss; Shay's running (and a number of other blogger/runners I love) and Haley-O over at Cheaty Monkey, I am inspired. Haley is trying to eat more healthfully and responsibly, she is already a vegan, but now she is doing a 3 week sugar and caffeine cleanse. Well after 2 months 2 years of indulgence, my sugar cravings are through the roof and I have found myself drinking a cup of coffee and about 6 cups of tea a day. It is time to quit cold turkey.
So I am going to go without sugar and most caffeine for the next 3 weeks. I am also trying to eat a healthful, clean diet and get some (30 minutes minimum) exercise in each day. Yesterday was the first day, and it was a failure. I gave in to my chocolate cravings and ate some chocolate chips. That lead to a few spoons of peanut butter.... But, I didn't eat the chocolate bars in my fridge or the cookies or the tarts on the counter! And the day before? I would have eaten all three.
Today I am doing great! I replaced my morning chocolate milk with hot chocolate made with skim milk, cocoa and a touch of splenda. I think tomorrow I may add some vanilla and cinnamon too. Omelette for breakfast to keep me full all morning.
To head off the afternoon cravings I am making berry smoothies for all of us, with a bit of choco flavoured, sugar-free protein powder. I find protein really helps keep food cravings at bay, and the sweet berries fill that need for sugar.
If I need a treat tonight, I will make myself a skim milk, decaf latte with maybe a touch of splenda or cocoa powder.
Wish me luck in breaking the terrible habits I have gotten into. I need it! And I hope I start to lose some of this spare tire I have been lugging around. It is depressing and when depressed I eat emotionally. ugh. I need to work on that too!

If you need some more cuteness in your day, hop on over to Immortality Art and check out my cuties, lots of layouts up over there.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Playing Hooky, and catching up.

I am really not sure what is happening with me right now. I think about my blog every day. I write posts in my head constantly. I physically ache to write, but I am having a hard time making myself sit and do it.
I am a bit tired of putting up sloppy writing and then cringing as I read it later. And I don't really have space in my schedule for, well, editing. Lame huh?

Anyhoo... it is life as usual around here. Getting serious about educating the young'uns. Tons of time at the ski hill. General running around. Today we watched the inauguration, just like many of you and wow. I was just speechless. And touched. and stirred. And a little jealous of all my American friends.

I am participating in project 365 this year (one photo per day) and I am putting all my photos in an album with the help of 's life 365 and my Heritage Makers account, so it only takes a few minutes a day to get them scrapped. Here is the link to my book so far.

This past Sunday we had our kids dedicated at church, so that was very special for us. Zed wore a beautiful dedication gown that my Mom made when my eldest was a baby and we had him dedicated.

Yesterday, Brent played hooky in the afternoon and we went to the ski hill with the kids. I felt so proud as I watched my eldest hold his 2 little siblings between his knees as he took them down the hill, showing them what to do and helping Girly to get over her fear. I thought about how they were making memories with a brother who will have moved out and may have a family of his own by the time they are grown. He is 9, 11 and 14 years older than my littlest ones, I pray that they will be close in spite of that huge age gap. And that we have many more opportunities to make memories together.

Thanks for continuing to come and listen to me ramble, I so appreciate your friendships and shall try to catch up with you guys this week.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My sanity is around here somewhere....

So, as I am sure you have figured out, the sick bug has been visiting our house. That is not my only reason for not posting though, I haven't been able to log into blogger since the 9th! I rebooted my computer last night and it is now working, so i am not sure if it was a blogger issue or a windows issue, I am guessing both.
We finally got into the doctor this morning, now that everyone is feeling better. Monkey has some 'noise' in his chest and a red ear, so we are taking a watch and see approach. Everyone else is fairly fine now.
Zed is growing, he is now over 15 lbs, so sticking tightly to his growth curve. He had a click in his hip so we are going for x-ray this week, we will make it a family affair. Superboy needs a back x-ray due to winning the genetic lottery like his momma. (I inherited slight scoliosis from my mama and some 'hunching' from my dad. My back doesn't look too bad, but I am experiencing more pain now, especially considering my abysmal fitness level right now.) Daddy also needs an x-ray of his chest. Fun!
The doc is sending me for bloodwork as well; iron, hormones, blood sugar. Fun. But better safe than sorry. Surprisingly she didn't ask me about depression. Usually when I am post-partum and complaining of tiredness, sleeplessness and lack of energy that is the first thing I am questioned about. But I honestly don't think I am depressed so I guess that is fine. I actually feel better emotionally than I have in a couple of years. Very little anxiety, hopeful, content. Feels a bit strange actually! But I am thankful that my mental state is good, otherwise I would be pretty freaked about my lack of sleep and lack of hair...
Anyway, we are on the mend, I am digging my way up out of the laundry pile and mess. I actually had a fairly clean house yesterday, 7 folded baskets of laundry, made dinner and a cake. It was a fabulous day. We even did some school. Which reminds me, I need to go crack the whip now, get the school day done and the chores started.
Talk to you soon and thanks for all the healthy wishes, they worked!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Germs, Germs stay away....

Help! Save me! My house is full of germs. I can actually feel the cold germs infiltrating my head as I type.

My eldest went to an all-city youth all-nighter on Dec. 30th. The kids were gone until 8 am and had pizza, swim and gym and a concert. I knew it would be a bit of a struggle for my dear boy who usually sleeps 11 hours at night. When he got home, he was still a bit hyped, but he went to bed around lunch and got up the next day. Sick.

This morning, by six am both of my littles were in my bed and whimpering. Eventually they kicked me out of my own bed and I discovered that they were both feverish and sick. Poor things. Even Zed has been out of sorts, I am hoping it stops there.

I shall have to go to bed early tonight and hope that I can stay healthy.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

To Whine or not to whine...

Does anyone else find themselves balancing on one foot while stepping on the scale after all that Christmas excess? I am almost hoping that my thyroid is having some post-pregnancy blips and that is why I am losing my hair and put on 10 pounds in the last 5 weeks! It couldn't possibly be all the Christmas baking and cheese I have wolfed back. Nope, never that.
( sorry I shouldn't joke about the thyroid. It is not a joking matter, but it is common in women post pregnancy to have some issues that are usually not permanent and can be treated with meds, so I have wondered if I should be tested...)

So yesterday wasn't nearly the write-off that I thought it would be, you can read about my slightly productive day here, and as always, pictures here. (the rest of my Project 365
here) And as Lori reminded me, it was epiphany and I had originally planned to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas and Epiphany with the kids (I didn't) as well as Ukranian Christmas tomorrow, so let's just say that is the reason why my tree is still up...

I am feeling a bit sorry for myself today. On top of my increasing fat content, my best homeschooling friend and the hostess of our homeschool support group, put her kids in school after Christmas. So I am feeling a bit alone and bereft in these sometimes stormy seas. And almost all the little friends that Monkey boy wanted to invite to his little fete on Saturday can't come. Which means I don't get to see my friends either. Wah!

Well I was feeling sorry for myself, until I got an email from a dear friend who is having a really hard time right now. And now I am a bit worried about her and not so focused on me. We are going to make a coffee date this week and hopefully we will both benefit from that, I know I will. If you think of it, say a prayer for another mom in the trenches. We all need to have one another's backs in this journey, maybe carry another's loaded pack for a mile or two.

Bless you guys in 2009, I am so blessed to have you in my life, thanks for sharing my load for a few moments each day, I am honoured to share yours too.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday already!?!

I guess today is the day that Christmas vacay is supposed to be over, yet here I sit at 10 am, with my laptop and tea and a butter tart. My tree is still up, my house is still a disaster, and I think I should probably be doing school with the kids but I just want to go back to bed.

I suppose I should at least find some fun and quasi-educational things to do with the kids today. Maybe a trip to the museum to use the pass that their Aunt and Uncle got them for Christmas... or art and music... I could pull out the playdough and paints and classics for kids cd's we got for Christmas... Or we could do both! If I ever drag my lazy butt into the shower and downstairs.

Okay, I guess I should get off the computer and do something, but if you want something to read or look at go ahead and scroll down for Girly's cute story and hop over here to see how I have been spending my time off this weekend!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Story time with Girly.

She pulled the invisible story book down from the invisible shelf and then read from her cute little hands, she was pretending that her hands were the book. "Daddy, you are the dragon. Mommy, you are the princess and I am the queen!"
She pretends to turn the page, "On this page it says, Once u'pot a time the fire dragon ate the prince! And on this page it says, The princess was very brave, she said to the fire dragon, "Don't swallow my prince!"
The dragon said, "grrrrr, I already did. Oops!"

There was another few stories, one of them involved poop, so I won't make you hear that one. Another series of stories was called, 'Wondrous in Wonderland.' I asked if she meant Alice in Wonderland, but nope, Wondrous in Wonderland.
She kept reading to us from her magical book until Monkey came out of the bathroom and told her that her stories were bad. Mean Monkey!

Speaking of Monkey boy, on the night of his birthday he said something that reminded me that he is still a little boy in spite of his five years and practiced cool. "Invisibible" He has always said invisible with that extra 'bib' and it never fails to make my heart melt. Love wee monkey speak!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Also check out...

my project 365 photos/layouts at Immortality Art. Make sure you scroll down for an adorable layout of Zed at 3 months. It is my fave!

If you can't access it, make sure to send me your email addy and I will invite you. mightymorphinmama[at]gmail[dot]com

Skiing, sort of.

As I mentioned in my Christmas post, everyone in our family got skis for Christmas and we bought a family pass at local hill. Last Saturday we took the whole family up to the hill.

My Monkey was anxious to get on the slopes to show us his skills. He kept telling us that he wouldn't fall, that he didn't need lessons, skiing was easy, and that he would be awesome. His confidence is inspiring, but I kept telling him that falling is how you learn and that everyone falls and needs to be taught how to do things, like skiing. He tends to be a bit of a perfectionist like Superboy and I, and he gets easily frustrated when he can't do things perfectly. But, of course, he doesn't want to be taught. He comes by it pretty honestly...

Girly takes things a little slower. As we were driving, and I was distracted playing with my GPS, she asked me, "Mommy, when you went skiing, were you scared?"
I wasn't really listening and just said nope. Brent kind of clued me in to what she was asking me, so I then explained to her that I was very nervous the first time I went skiing, and that it was okay to be scared. I told her that Mommy and Daddy would help her and that even if she was a bit scared, she would still have fun.

Before I even had my toque on my head, Superboy and The Boy were gone up the chairlift. Brent, Monkey and Girly went straight to the line up for the magic carpet on the little bunny slope. I use the term slope very loosely. It was a long line, so by the time it was their turn, The Boy had come to see us and Brent asked him to help with the littles. This was also the only time, all day that I saw Superboy. He adores skiing and has to be forced off of the hill!

They got to the top and Monkey was ready to take off down the slope. So he and the Boy started to make their way down the hill. What he lacked in skill, Monkey made up for in enthusiasm. It took quite a few tries before he managed to even snow plow at all, but he had a blast.

Poor Girly was another story. She was scared crapless. "It's SLIPPERY!" Brent thought it would be a good idea for him to stand downhill a few feet and have her ski into his arms. Uh. No. By the time Daddy dragged her to the bottom of the hill, she wanted those slippery skis off of her feet and she was done.

Now I am a bit timid of trying new things, I would have been scared like her and so I would have taken it a bit slower. Like when I was learning to drive. Brent wanted me to just take over the wheel while going a hundred on the highway. No thanks! I wanted to go to an empty parking lot and get a feel for the way the van handled, how responsive the pedals were, steering etc, so that when I was on the road I could concentrate on where I was going and what was around me.

So while Daddy took Monkey up and down the hill, I refused to take off Girly's skis. I just stood with her at the bottom of the hill and let her walk around in the skis. Let her get used to how they felt and how to stay in control even though they were slippery. She was happy to do that for over an hour and then we all went in for lunch. Good thing, because I was freezing! The ski hill isn't nearly as fun when you are not skiing.

After lunch, all the boys went back out while Girly, Zed and I hung out in the chalet and I fed Zed. It wasn't long before Girly was asking to go back outside, but it was a couple hours before Daddy and Monkey came in for a break. Girly and I watched them on the bigger hill after Monkey figured out the snow plow thing and she really wanted to be with them. Then Daddy went out on his own to try out his board and Monkey warmed up with us for a bit. When Daddy came back, I got Girly ready and she was excited to try again. When Monkey watched them leaving, he decided that he wanted to go too, so I got him dressed again and out they tromped.

By this time, Monkey could go up and down the carpet on his own, so Brent worked with Girly. As they stood in line, she started to freak a little. So she and Dad had a little talk. He told her that if she didn't want to go up, that was okay, but he was going to take her inside to see Mommy. At that moment, Monkey screamed by on his skis, laughing as he whizzed past her. Well, at that moment, something clicked for Girly. She must have decided that if Monkey could do it, so could she. Or that she didn't want to miss out on the fun, because she took Brent's hand, "Let's go Daddy."

Off they went and down she came. Still nervous, but no longer terrified. She was thrilled with her success, and she finally found the joy in the nerves.

They got a couple more runs in and then, while the three of them were at the top of the hill, it was announced that the hill was closed. Well Monkey started to cry right there. He did not want to leave. He was having the time of his short life. He cried half way home!

One of the best parts about skiing was that Superboy had a smile on his face for 2 days afterwards. Skiing brings such joy to him, he is good at it and it is one thing that he truly loves. We had a fabulous time together and are looking forward to many more days in the snow.

frames by

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Christmas Post

Happy New Year!
Here is my super long Christmas post, just skim through the photos and then hop over to Immortality Art for the link for more shots if you like.

Well I thought I might have some free time before now, but I haven't really. Christmas has been wonderful, fabulous in fact. I have so enjoyed spending time with my family, especially with hubby being home. I am now uploading 350 photos from my camera of Christmas and skiing, hopefully I have some good shots to share.

I never actually get around to blogging about special days here, usually I am too exhausted after a holiday to actually write about it and this year was no exception. I am determined to do a Christmas post though, even if it is late.

When we finally all got home on Christmas eve, we ordered pizza and sat down together. It was almost seven so hubby pulled up the NORAD Santa tracker on the laptop. The kids see that Santa is on the East coast of South America, then North America and Canada! Monkey boy is gone like a flash. We start calling his name, "Monkey! What are you doing? Where did you go?"

Monkey yells back, "I am in bed, Santa is in Canada, I have to get to SLEEP!"
We finally convinced him that he had a few hours and that he could come and do our Advent Bible reading and open his Christmas jammies first.

So we did that, got in our jammies, had some hot cocoa and put out cookies for Santa. The kids all got in bed and the work for Mommy and Daddy continued. We cleaned up for a while, waiting until the big guys were sleeping and then I continued wrapping presents while St. Nick was building toys. Girly got a beautiful wooden dollhouse (all in pieces) and Monkey got some dino playmobil, so there was a lot of building.

At one point I heard the big boys' door open, I popped up from the couch and yelled for them to stay in there room. Santa, Daddy and I hid all the toys and stuff in the front entry so the kids could get up and use the bathroom. When I looked at the clock it was 2am! We got them back in bed and finished up the preparations. By the time we got in bed, it was after 3. Guess who was up at 4am?! Girly!

She plopped herself in our bed, and proceeded to toss and turn and chat with me. She kept asking if Santa had come yet. I guess she was too excited to sleep. Her Daddy's snoring from the other side of the bed grew increasingly annoying as the minutes ticked away. Eventually we all fell back asleep and I was awakened at about 8:30am by the excited exclamations of my two blond boys, my middle boys, my off the wall, kamikaze boys. They were chattering back and forth about what Santa had brought and I rushed to get dressed so that I could capture their sweet, joyous faces with my camera and in my heart.

The other 3 occupants of my bed were not so alert. Girly, Zed and Brent remained asleep through my furtive getting ready, but by the time I was ready to go downstairs, they were awakened and eagerly anticipating what awaited us downstairs.

We had a lovely morning together, opening gifts, playing and laughing. It was just the seven of us, and it was perfect. (Even though I had spent a good hour or so crying the night before because I missed my sisters, my family so much, and neither of Brent's parents were going to come in the morning either.) Zed was so happy and content, chattering and laughing away, I remarked that he must be so pleased to have us all together.

Girly was super pleased to have received a crown in her stocking, it was the only thing she had asked Santa for. She immediately put it and the matching jewels on over her jammies. Daddy kept remarking at how different she was from the boys. She methodically opened each gift, exclaiming in joy and thanking the giver with big hugs and kisses. She was slow and careful to their frantic ripping open, equally enjoying each moment and each gift without thinking to the next. It was sweet and special. We all take turns opening gifts, one at a time so that we can enjoy each other's receiving as well as our own. That is always a lesson in torture for the boys, but not her.

Monkey loved his playmobil and big boy lego. He was ecstatic over his little fish tank from his aunt. Superboy and The Boy were also psyched over new video games and things. Superboy told us that he believed in Santa again, because Santa brought him a video game that he really wanted, but had never asked for.

The kids all received skis and books from us, both of which brought joy to their hearts. Even though all the skis weren't new, they were still thankful and eager to hit the slopes. Superboy loves skiing more than anything else. With the Christmas money we got from some of our relatives we bought a ski pass to a local hill. Brent and I both were in agreement that the best gift we could give the kids is time together as a family, especially being active together, so skiing fit perfectly. (plus I cashed in my 8000 airmiles on gift cards for the sport store. Unfortunately the GC's only came in $25 increments. You should have seen the look on the guy's face as we forked over our handfuls of giftcards!)

Santa brought me a Garmin GPS unit and although I had stated that I didn't want any electronics for Christmas, I had really wanted a GPS, so I was pleased. I also got some clothes shopping money, which is good since I can't fit anything I own!

Brent got a snowboard, goggles and a retro hockey jersey. When Superboy and I went shopping for Daddy together, I had shown him the goggles and suggested that they might make a great present for him and his siblings to give their dad. I knew that Brent wouldn't spend the money on himself and I wanted something to be a surprise for him as he had picked out his own snowboard. Superboy wasn't that enthused, especially as I had just told him that I wasn't giving him 40 bucks for the hockey monopoly game that he had wanted to buy. As we wandered the store looking for a sales associate, there it was, glowing orange and blue. The holy grail of Dad gifts. Super wouldn't let me walk away from it and it's exorbitant price tag. He rifled through the whole rack to find Dad's size, and begged me with big wide eyes, "Please Mom, PLEASE!?!"

I sighed, I had never been able to resist those sweet baby blues, "I'll think about it," and I reached up to take it off the rack. Super knew he had me then and he wisely took the jersey and held it quietly while I finished my shopping.

Later in the day we were all driving together and Super and I were feeling pretty good about our purchase, Brent would never guess, and he had really wanted one of those jerseys. Superboy pipes up from the back of the van, "Dad you are so going to love what we got you!"

And Brent, not having learned this lesson from many similar incidences in the past teases, "What is it? What did you guys get me?"

Monkey excitedly exclaims, "An Oiler's jersey!"

Well, poor Super was almost in tears that our surprise was ruined. Brent made it worse later in the day by asking Super, while they were last minute shopping, if Mommy had bought him a snowboard. Of course, not wanting to lie, Super tells him yes. So Daddy asks if I bought him bindings because if not, there were the ones he wanted on sale. So Brent came home from the store with bindings for his snowboard that he had yet to receive. Oh well... Girly had also told The Boy that Mommy and Daddy bought them all skis, because she was with us when we got the boys' skis and he asked her what we were doing. So much for surprises!
He was at least shocked to receive his ski goggles, check out his, 'I already opened all my presents, what the heck!?' face!

The rest of our day was spent cleaning and cooking and setting the table. Brent's Mom and stepdad and Dad and one brother all came for dinner, so it was a quiet, perfect evening. We are used to a much bigger crowd. We opened more presents and gorged ourselves with food, one of Brent's aunts had sent over some yummy Ukrainian dishes on top of turkey, ham and fixings.

I had one perfect quiet moment that day. Brent had gone to pick up his Dad and I had all the food going and kitchen tidied up and had just finished setting the table and lighting the candles. I sat in the darkening living room in front of the lit tree, candles glowing all around (I adore all the lights of Christmas!) and was just overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment and thankfulness. "Thank you, God," I breathed.

And thankful I truly am. We have had another incredible year. Some huge ups, like Zed's birth, and some wrenching downs, like the dissolving of hubby's company. But here we all are, on the first day of a new year and we are together, healthy and content. So very blessed. Thank you God.

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