Monday, May 22, 2017

Christmas in May

So the truth is, I've started and stopped this blog post for MONTHS now.  Oftentimes accidentally not saving the drafts...finally I am going to finish it, today.  I have this beautiful long weekend to myself, for the most part, and it's time to reflect on the end of 2016.

As you can see, there are Hosea and Matthew, walking in the afternoon to go pick up the girls from school.  They looked a bit coordinated in their clothing and so I thought this would be a cute photo.

Matthew and I don't see each other as much anymore.  We have phased out the times when he comes here to help with dinner and all that.  He has now found someone to live with, and the kids are really enjoying getting to know a new "brother".  It's in the neighbourhood and nice and convenient, but it means more change for the family.  This all started happening a couple months ago, but the transition has been easy enough.  I think we've done a good job of gradually changing things for the kids.  And it's nice that they stay in the same neighbourhood no matter whose house they are at.

The times, they've been a-changin! I won't get too personal here.  This isn't my diary ;-)
A typical after school scene on the playground in the fall and winter.  The weather the past 2 seasons has been brutal! Looking at this photo makes me enjoy, even more, having my sliding door open right now, seeing the sunshine and all the lush greenery...oh it's gorgeous.  Worth the wait.
Hosea, mid-action---in his underwear and rain boots! Of course.
My superhero gals! A friend of mine, Katharine (who also has 2 girls and a boy, a tiny bit older than mine) gave me these hand me down shirts for Hosea.  But they fit the girls and they wanted them so why not?
These two can be quite different, but they are great friends.

November 11 here is Remembrance Day.  I always like to take the kids to a service in honour of it, and they talk about it a lot at school.  Therese made this Remembrance Day drawing, complete with the symbolic poppy flowers!
On the school playground, again...a funny/disturbing little set up of the girls' jackets on these posts, which they made faces on with mud!  Crazies.
We are typically some of the last people to leave the playground each day.  We usually stay for an hour, even if it's rainy, and up to two hours if it's not!  It's a great time. I'd rather do that than take them home, or put them in a bunch of after school programs.
A regularly appearing scene this fall...Hosea hiding under the chair!
I was in a phase of going to a big grocery store about once every 6 weeks to stock up on food...I'd bus it there and then take a taxi home with all this stuff.  Recently I've changed my tactic...but this photo captures that little ritual pretty well!  I remember one of the taxi drivers was so surprised at the amount of stuff I had.  I told him I had 3 kids to feed! Then he was extra shocked and gave me compliments about how young and good I looked having had 3 kids.  That was a fun ride home!

Underwear on the head, of course.  They all went through this phase!
And sunglasses on the tummy, why not?
Hosea really looks up to his big sisters, especially Greta.  If he gets hurt he often cries for her once I've comforted him :-)
This girl has got STYLE!! So many days when I come to pick the kids up from school, having not seen them get ready in the morning, I am shocked at Therese's outfits!  They are amazing.
He put himself in the laundry basket one day when I was taking care of all the clothes...

Wearing Nana Kaka's house slippers that she left here! And pajama pants that are much too small now.  This girl is getting TALL!
Ninjas!

Hey, Ninjas pick their nose too you know.
Hosea is wearing Great Granny Pearl's hat here (Nana Judy's grandma!)
I used to wear her grey gloves in the winter, they were so classy and fit me great.  But this winter I couldn't find them :-(  At least I still have the hat...and no, it isn't a "dress up" item for the kids, it's too special for that! But for a once-in-awhile Ninja time I made an exception.
At the end of November I went and got a haircut!  One day I just thought it seemed like a good idea, so I got all my hair chopped off.  It felt good and it still feels good!
However! The girls were traumatized!!! When they first saw me they looked shocked and started crying.  Greta said through tears, "Um, no offense mama, but that looks REALLY BAD!!!!!" and then she started crying some more.  Wow, that was quite a moment!

Sometimes I tease them that they should get haircuts like me :-) They're over it now, and they like it. It was just the shock of it all.  Funny thing is, I remember very vividly when my mom did the same thing when I was a kid, and my sister and I cried too! Ha!

The artist, always hard at work, always coming up with new and amazing ideas!



This was the first year we went to get a Christmas tree just the 4 of us.  I was kind of dreading it, but it actually turned out to be a really nice time.  We took the bus there and back, and Greta offered to carry it.


This is how Hosea had to dress a lot of the time this winter (partly because the weather was terrible, and partly because his amazing nanny Gennifer feels very compelled to bundle him up a LOT and he REALLY listens to her MUCH MORE than he listens to me...so he accepts this situation.)
Look at those rosy cheeks!
The crooked angel at the top looks kind of symbolic right now...

There was no shortage of Christmas gifts this year, that's for sure! Many people gave the kids some great stuff.
My good friend Natalie and I, and Therese, at Jenny's cabaret in Seattle in December.  I had intended on going to this with a man I'd been dating, Paul, who lives in Seattle.  We dated from July to the end of November...this was photo was taken in the beginning of December.  But, I look surprisingly happy!  It was a sad time for me, as it had been a very special relationship...it couldn't work out though.
A broken heart is a beautiful thing, and I have weathered worse in life! That goes to the top of the list, though...

Natalie was so generous and gave me hotel points so Therese and I stayed at a fantastic hotel downtown!  It was luxurious, and great bonding for she and I.  Greta wanted to stay in Vancouver with Matthew, and there was NO WAY I was bringing Hosea on that trip!


Therese really looks up to Aunt Jenny.
Her show was so fantastic! The songs she chose were perfect and it was all very inspiring and therapeutic.  What a beautiful memory!

I had Therese take a photo of me at the hotel :-)
Look at that hotel bathroom! We were spoiled!

Not that great of a photo, but this was in the room.  Therese had her own huge bed next to mine :-)
The next day we met my mom and Shayne for a bit.  Here goes Therese in her shiny jacket on the carousel downtown!
Matthew and I used to spend a lot of time downtown, and in Seattle...duh (!) cause we lived there! So in addition to mourning Paul, and it being Christmas-time (last year we'd been separated, but still trying to work on things...not so this year), I was also thinking a lot about old times with Matthew, in the early days.  It was quite a time, really.  No wonder I've been putting off this blog post!
With Nana Kaka we stopped in to a couple stores and she looked around.  Therese looked too cute sitting here waiting and holding her carousel ticket.
She and I went to Pike Place Market.  Here she is in Post Alley at the gum wall!
What a great photo!

Back home...Christmas morning! (Well...not officially Christmas...but Christmas at my house!  The kids spent the actual day with Matthew and Grandpa Paul in Seattle, so we celebrated a week early so the kids could enjoy all their new stuff over the school break).

You know what never happened? I never took them to Urban Source!  I was so overwhelmed with the amount of STUFF they got from so many people, it just seemed completely unnecessary.  But hmmm, now I'm thinking I should do that sometime...I mean, Santa said to!
These were some gifts a few people put together for the kids...totally unnecessary (need I say that again?!) but it was fun to have such an abundance.
 Whew! The aftermath!!!
We went to the Bloedel Conservatory one of the winter break days.  Here are the girls taking a rest and looking at the scavenger hunt map...I think it had been snowing that day, but in this place it was all warm and tropical!  And there were some Christmas lights.  Also, it was memorable because I got a car so it'd be easier for us to get there.  The kids are always excited about that! I belong to a couple of car shares so that makes it pretty easy. I don't miss having a car AT ALL! It's been 6 years!


Ready for a winter day, wearing my most favourite hat from Grandma Mom's mom, Bess.  She always told me I look like her, and she gave me her hat years ago.  It's probably actually one of my most important possessions! I wore it a lot this year, cause of the short hair and the many, many, many super cold days.
 Look at those big kid teeth in there!
 And a mouth full of teeth in there!
 And a mouth that's about ready to lose it's first teeth in there!
 CHEESE!!!




 Greta took this photo of me :-)
Ok, so maybe it's cause I'm so much more relaxed as a parent, or maybe it's cause I waited longer, or maybe it's cause he's a (dare I say it?!) BOY...but Hosea was incredibly easy to toilet train!  He's fully trained now, and I feel like it really took no effort whatsoever.  He's a hell of a lot of work, for the most part, but this was easy peasy.
 Sometimes the girls dress him up...and, let's be honest Hosea, sometimes you ask for it :-)
As I mentioned earlier, the kids spent Christmas with Matthew.  So my mom and Shayne flew me to their place for a few days.  Wow, that was a surreal experience.  Mourning Christmases past, mourning Matthew, mourning my recent love affair with Paul, mourning the children (kind of...well, for real, it was amazingly relaxing without them!)
Oh all the feelings!!!!!!! All the thoughts!!!!!!!
Spokane is beautiful, and especially so in the winter, when it snows a lot.  These photos are of mom and Shayne's backyard.
 These paper snowflakes were gifts to Nana Kaka and Grandpa Shayne from the girls.


 My mom made this amazing breakfast on Christmas morning! It was all gorgeous food and tasted great. I saw a lot of family there, and we went to a movie in the evening: La La Land (Oh my goodness I cried my eyes out, and kept crying an hour after it was over...what devastation that film brought on for me...but it was a beautiful experience! Merry Christmas to me!)
Also, Manchester by the Sea, another film they took me to.  That one was brutal, and could've hit very close to home. It was depressing and real and so well done.
Thanks mom and Shayne! And no, that isn't sarcasm.  I mean it :-) It was just what I needed.
Grandpa Ronnie and his super stylish and fiesty girlfriend of several years, Thelma...and my mom, of course. It's so great because Grandpa and Thelma actually knew each other in high school! They have such fun together and even drive down to Las Vegas in a convertible from time to time! What an inspiration.
 Mom and I :-)

 Well after Spokane I met up with the kids and stayed at my dad and Linda's for a couple nights.  Back at it, with the mothering thing.

Dad and Linda really decorate a lot at Christmas and the kids LOVE IT!  There were Santa hats for all of them :-)
 In her new Christmas dress! Gorgeous.
And of course, she pulls out this little jacket from time to time...it's very versatile, isn't it? ;-) I'm sure I'll see it this summer with a cute pair of shorts!

And Greta in her new dress and hair clip.  Grandma Linda always gets out lots of art supplies for the kids when they visit...so it's just like home...non stop creativity!

 Also, do you see those painted nails? That was one of the first items on the agenda there.




 These photos of Therese are all so great, it's hard to choose just one!

 Hosea admiring the decorations.  So magical to him, I'm sure!

 This guy...as soon as he's inside a home he strips down.  Clothes? Who needs 'em!

 Trying to get a good picture of the 3 of them was nearly impossible.




 It was great for Great Grandma Hope to visit, the girls love her.

And, even Nana Judy came over to see the kids!  I hadn't seen her for awhile, so that was really special, and it was good for the kids too.




Great Grandpa Harry has had a couple of strokes, but he was full of smiles that night and getting around pretty well.  It was nice to see he and Hosea side by side.


 Getting tickled!

Hosea decided to give Grandpa Dan a lot of shoes...this is important when you're reading on your easy chair.

 The kids love to jump onto this ottomon.
 In action!

 On the way back home we took the train.  Here's the station in downtown Seattle--it's gorgeous!!!



It's too bad we took the train at night...we missed all the beautiful scenery and were all getting quite tired.  Next time we'll do it in the daytime.  It was an adventure, and I don't regret it! Once at the station I called a taxi and it got us the rest of the way home.  What a trip!

Home sweet home.

I tried to capture the reflections of the falling snow in all my mirrors, but it didn't quite turn out.  Try to imagine it, ok? The visual was lovely, but sometimes we have to look hard to find such things.
It's almost halfway over, but happy 2017!