Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Jacko!

Jack, Jacko, Jackie.  It's hard to believe you are 9 today!  We are so lucky to have you in our family.  You complete us! You can be a ham and a jokester one minute and a little professor - wise beyond your years - the next.  Sad times have been made lighter with you in our lives, and happy times made even more joyful.

Thank you for bringing us laughter.
Thank you for being a loving brother.
Thank you for being willing to try most anything.
Thank you for keeping us on our toes with your skills as a negotiator.
Thank you for still wanting to give us hugs in public.
Thank you for being such a great son!

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Caitlyn

Caitlyn. Sweet, caring, smart, strong, courageous.

The year since your 10th birthday has been one that we never would have imagined. You have had to grow up too soon. You have had to endure pain that no child should have to suffer. But despite that, you have retained that sparkle that is you. That we love. That we need in our lives.

We thank God for you, for your health, for your laughter, and for your desire to live life without regrets.

You are amazing. You are 11. You are our Caitlyn.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Hangover

I was going through the kids' stuff for Caitlyn's toy sale and had a bunch of games piled on the floor to weed through. Even in this age of Nintendo DS and Wii, the kids still love to play board games. Clue, Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, and Sorry. Those are some of their favourites.

I remember my favourites as a child were the Game of Life (my friend Linda and I would try to stuff as many kids as possible into our little cars), PayDay, and Risk (what 10 year old wasn't into world domination?)

Anyway, back to the games piled on the floor. I really didn't pay too much attention to the Hangman game laying there. I certainly never paid any attention to the cover of the game. But then my husband Paul, who was sitting beside me suggested that I REALLY look at the cover. Fine... there's 2 kids on it, a skeleton, and some letters. "LOOK at the word they are trying to guess, Jenny," he insisted.

I had to laugh. Maybe that's why the 2 kids are looking so perplexed! At least at their age I hope they were puzzled! What... was their mother supposed to give them a hint like "you know, what Daddy was after he went out drinking with his friends last night..."

Maybe video games aren't that bad after all....

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Making Christmas Traditions

Last year we braved a 45 degree temperature change and 32 hours of travel time to make it home for Christmas. Despite the cold and the long flight, it was so good to be home with our family and friends for the holidays. This year we staying in Brisbane. I must admit - it feels kind of weird.

I guess part of the problem is that it's been hard to get my head around having a "traditional Christmas" in a place where people go to the beach Christmas day and where a "White Christmas" is some fake snow that's part of an amusement park gimmick.

But whatever the situation, I love Christmas, and so I decided that I'd do my best to get into the spirit and bring some of our traditions down under.
First, I put up the lights on our house. Usually we'd be freezing not sweating while doing this task so that was definitely a positive. Our lights aren't really very impressive but they're already better than most of the houses on our block (except our Canadian neighbours - I still think Don "borrowed" my candy cane lights so that I wouldn't outshine him - lol). Most people just don't decorate their houses here but we found a few neighbourhoods that do go wild. To get my family into the Christmas spirit I grabbed the list from the newspaper and insisted on doing a light tour. The lights were actually pretty impressive - Griswald worthy even. The only thing missing was a stop at Timmy's for a peppermint hot chocolate and a donut afterwards!

Next came the Christmas baking. I make cookies every year (and every year try to stop Paul and the kids from eating them before Christmas!) This year was no different. With the help of the internet I found my usual Canada Corn Starch shortbread recipe. It's the one I've used since I first started cooking and seems very Canadiana Christmas to me. I also made my usual gingerbread cookies. As I was decorating them I felt the urge to give them a bit of a twist. My gingerbread men turned into gingerbeach people complete with bikinis and "budgie smugglers!" That's when I decided that I could keep some traditions, build on some, and add some new ones.

So as a result, we kept our usual tradition of turkey and stuffing for Christmas dinner but added prawns and a pavlova. We had Christmas crackers, wore those unflattering crowns, scratched "scratch'n wins", and ate until we were stuffed. But we also had a morning swim (o.k. some people were pushed in), floated a Christmas tree in the pool (thanks to Don the engineer), and left Santa a sausage instead of just cookies (he asked for one in his letter to Jack).
And although we didn't have our family here to celebrate with (and we really missed them), we did spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day laughing, eating, and making traditions with some new friends.
Now, if I could just get that Shaw crackling holiday fireplace on the T.V. !

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Gambler - Pool Edition

Now, we've had many a "boy's poker night" hosted at our house. As my husband and his friends have gotten older, their poker nights have evolved. Their snacks have gotten fancier - hot wings, shrimp dips, snack trays, etc. versus just chips, their bets bigger (though coming from someone who cashes out a $5 win, I may not be the best to judge), and their set up more professional (no more plastic poker chips and card tables). But even with the evolution of their poker nights, I must admit that I didn't see this coming! Somehow I don't think this is going to be as popular when we're back in Calgary!

Check it out:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Banana Cream Pie Birthday

My Dad loved sweets. Much like my son Jack, who once told his Grandad that he "loved him more than candy." That was a lot.

So when it came to dessert - my Dad could always be counted on to dig in. And for birthdays, we always had our favourites. My Mom's is Black Forest or red velvet cake, my brother likes white cake with butter cream icing (preferably from Glamorgan bakery in Calgary), mine is chocolate fudge cake, and my Dad's was not cake at all, but banana cream pie.

Banana cream pie - it covers all the food groups doesn't it? Fruit, dairy, protein, cereal - yes, yes, yes, and yes! Not that my Dad really cared - it tasted good and brought back memories of good times.

So especially in the last year, when he was in pain, dealing with chemo, or I just wanted to cheer him up, I'd make him one. Whatever the other effects of the drugs he was on, my Dad kept his appetite for good food.

I haven't made a banana cream pie since he passed away. Maybe it was too soon for me to think of making one that I couldn't share with him. But I think tomorrow, on what would have been his 67th birthday, I might be tempted to make one again. Because I loved him more than dessert - and that's a lot.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Giggle Till You Tinkle

Driving home from downtown Brisbane I expect to see signs or banners advertising whatever events are going on in the city. There are plenty of signs for Ekka (their Exhibition), for Mamma Mia and for Wicked, and for Daffodil Day. But when I saw the sign in the picture here I couldn't stop laughing.

Yes, I know it's not a laughing matter - or maybe it is - since sometimes that's just when it's a problem. They don't tell you that after you've had kids you're going to be sentenced to crossing your legs whenever you giggle! (O.k., I've probably turned off any men that actually read this blog - but you know what I'm talking about girls).

After seeing this sign for Weak Bladder Week I decided that I just had to have a picture of it for my blog. So, in the interests of safety, I enlisted my friend Shannon to take the picture while I drove. I wanted the best picture possible of course. However, that meant Shannon actually had to unbuckle, put her head and the camera out of the sunroof, (or risk decapitation by the cars on either side of us), balance precariously on her seat in her high-heeled sandals, and manually focus my camera. Let's just say I almost peed myself in the process! Maybe I better write down that number!