The best time of year!

IMG_0922We had a Christmas Movie Night at the School Friday and I got to go with my friends and stay up too late!

IMG_0840He said

Well, in very short time I completely changed out the iPad Pro for the MacBook that I am currently composing this week’s post on. I know… you can totally tell from the type on your screen, the more suited to what I was looking for experience I am having in the MacBook. But in the same four, short days, I came to realize that the iPad Pro wasn’t the lap device I was looking for, I have completely fallen in love with this—it is so insanely light! And I can do exactly as intended and use this on the couch, on my lap. (Though right now I can’t as Emelia has claimed the entire front room, portions of the Dining Room and the couch for some gymnastics routine she is working on, set to the Ray Charles Christmas record I am playing.)

IMG_0781Last week, I was at work every day as a result of having the weekend off for Shawn & Matthew’s wedding. Monday during the afternoon, they got off to the weekend away package that a bunch of us family members all pooled together to get them in Niagara-on-the-Lake at The Prince Of Wales Hotel – a place that Danielle and I have always wanted to go to. In short time after their arrival Danielle was sharing with me the photos Shawn was sending along of their wonderful room and letting us know what a fantastic time they were having. And the food looked amazing! The boys certainly enjoying the gift of a special couple of days together in a very special place.

FullSizeRender 6Niagara-on-the-Lake has always been a special place to Danielle and I as it was where we headed when I proposed to Danielle before a weekend away to celebrate our tenth anniversary of dating. And, we spent another couple of nights there a year later when we were married and strung together a bunch of day trips together to make our honeymoon. We were happy to give Matthew and Shawn the same sort of place in that lovely little town as part of their journey together. And by all counts it seems like they have created the same sort of memories!

FullSizeRender 2This week otherwise was a blur of work and our regular schedule. Wednesday, I fortunately had the opening shift which allowed me to get over and see Emelia’s gymnastics right after work. She’s really come such a long way in a short time which I know I have shared ad nauseam here, but one thing we’ve really noticed as of late is the twenty-five minutes of conditioning they do at the end of every session, twice a week, is really giving her muscle tone. On her arms and her legs this week Danielle and I were both noticing how her muscles were starting to take form. Soon, she’ll be stronger than me—which coincidentally wouldn’t take much.

FullSizeRender 3With working the five straight days this week, that brought me to a rare back-to-back Saturday off to spend with Emelia and Danielle. Despite not being able to sleep in – normally this wouldn’t be much of a deal because Emelia has swim lessons that we have to be out the door by 9:00am – but this week Emelia’s tummy was uneasy to start the day so we opted to skip swim. So, while we didn’t get the cherished extra run of sleep (When do we ever?), it was delightful to have that time to take the morning at a less torrid pace. And to have bacon, eggs and coffee with Danielle at the dining room table.

FullSizeRenderWe’re officially a week into December and surging at warp speeds towards Christmas. We’re no where near done shopping and preparing, but we’re also not in bad shape either thanks to Danielle. The Christmas records have come into regular rotation, the house is decorated for the most part, and festive movies have sunk into regular rotation on the boob tube. It really is – especially as I type this – beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as Ray Charles croons about “Christmas Time” and how it is more than just about receiving.

FullSizeRender 5And with that I feel a whole lot more enchanted with the season. One of my favourite things about this time year is how people are a little more giving and the hugs are that much better. Sure, some of us might not be so patient when it comes time to go the mall or parking somewhere, but in the end the way people change Christmas Eve as we’re all about to get together with the people that mean most to us, is one of my all time favourite things ever. It really is the best time of year!

 

IMG_0939She said

What a shift in a week. Last week was all about Matthew and Shawn’s wedding, this week it shifted quickly to Christmas prep and festivities. I have a great handle on our Christmas shopping and having the tree up really started putting all of us in the Christmas spirit.

IMG_0921Last weekend we had put our tree up so Monday was the first trial run with the daycare kids with the tree. And all the worry as always was over nothing. They all listened amazing (other than Emelia) that the tree was a ‘looking at’ tree and not a ‘touching’ tree. They all marvelled in the decorations and loved the shift to our December learning kit.

IMG_0769For December of course we were all about Christmas. The learning kits I have bought for the children come not only with learning sheets, books and crafts it comes with lots of ideas of learning activities. The daycare kiddos are really loving them. This week with the kids crafting up a storm it really started to feel a lot more like Christmas.

IMG_0926I have a really good handle on my (our) Christmas shopping. The daycare kids are all but done, Emelia is about 90% done, our nephews are done so all I have to do is figure out what to get Emelia’s teacher, the crossing guard and John (this will be the hardest), get our Christmas cards designed and printed and finally wrap everything. My goal is next weekend after John gets paid is to have it all done including stocking stuffers. I would like to spend the last two weeks before the holidays relaxing as much as I am able to.

IMG_0925Speaking of Christmas spirit one of the things we have tried hard over the years it to have Emelia realize how incredibly lucky she really is. I think this year it finally resonated with her. At her school they have a wish tree and it was really important to her that we got this present exactly right because she realized that this was likely one of the only gifts this child would be receiving. So after a lot of thought she carefully choose the perfect present. This was not the only present she chose this week. A few weeks ago she told me she wanted less presents from us this year because she wanted to give a gift to a boy and to a girl her age that might not be receiving anything else. This was above the wish tree at school. She again carefully chose the gifts and she and I chose carefully where we wanted the gifts to go.

IMG_0906After a lot of thought we chose Merrymount Children’s Centre. Merrymount is an amazing centre that helps families in various crisis and provides tremendous support to children and their parents. Emelia when I told her about the centre was really taken by it even so much that she wanted me to find out if she and I could volunteer our time there helping even more.

FullSizeRender 4I spoke to a woman at the centre and she and I set a time so we could come in and speak to her and bring our gifts. Unfortunately Emelia is too young to be a volunteer but after a bit of brainstorming the woman at the centre and I came up with the idea of a used book drive, Emelia loved it! And her volunteering had begun. I put the word out and we have already received almost a full large box that Emelia and I are planning on bringing in this week.

I am so proud of her and how passionate she is about helping out children in need. It really is the real meaning of Christmas. I will leave this post on that positive note, about giving, sharing and the Christmas spirit.

 

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