Adventures in Reading

January has come and almost gone. Throughout it, I have been lusting for adventure. This is as close as I’ve come,

I’ve transitioned from pouting about being house-bound, to falling into the doldrums, to nestling in to a quieter sort of adventure. Where I am immersed in grand stories filled with explorations and discoveries, communicated to me by authors, my kids and even myself.

Oh, how thankful I am to read a really great book, one that sits with me, speaks to me long after the last page has been turned. I began searching for a ‘light’ read. Unfortunately, that led to Sophie Kinsella’s book An Undomestic Goddess which I had on hand. Light, my friends, does not have to mean dumb. Which this book was. To its core. I despised every moment that I was reading it, and in the end skipped to the end to see what happened.

My quest was on to find a smart, light read.

Which I found in Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Absolutely breathtaking, brilliant book. A story in words, and in pictures, part mystery, part character study. I truly was swept away into this world. I look forward to seeing the movie too once it’s out on DVD.

In other big reading news, Kaya is reading now. Whole books! Remember these?

Every time she begins to sound words out, putting letters together, forming words, then sentences, my heart literally clenches, my breath literally catching. Joyous pride mixing with shock at the passing of time.

My girl, she can read!

My girl, she can read?

My girl, well she’s also something of an artist. Taking her home-reading book & buddy, she draws what she read, then writes what she read too.

Yah, my girl she can also print…

Time for Daddy to put away his Tap that Ass Tshirt.

On Friday I asked Kaya what another Mommy helped out with in class that day. She told me they were writing their ‘favourites’ sentences. As in,

My favourite colour is __________.

My favourite food is __________.

My favourite song is ___________.

Kaya told me her answers. Pink, of course.

Bacon. Huh? I ask her why she said bacon. She tells me another girl did so she did. We have another talk about how she doesn’t need to copy everyone else and just to give her own honest answer. She tells me she wants to say rice. That’s my girl.

And favourite song? I ask her. She gets quiet. “Baby Beluga” she whispers. Hmmm, that hasn’t been your favourite song in forever, I suggest. How did you know to write Beluga? “I just wrote Baby” Which is when I knew. Her favourite song was not meant to be Baby Beluga as her teacher had assumed, it was Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ that was her favourite, which Kaya confirms with a twinkle and a giggle. Hilarious.

Brennyn, as always, playing catch-up, reading me stories too, though I’d suggest it’s more in Beat Poet form, mixing wheels on the bus and rainbows everywhere with twinkling stars and oh yes, a little ‘Like baby, baby, baby oh…’ too.

This, actually, forms one of those truly great moments that will forever stay in my brain. Cozied up in bed finishing the last 30 pages of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (another great read though by no means ‘light’) Brennyn comes in wanting my attention. At first, I am annoyed as I just want to finish my book, but I see she just wants some Mamma cuddles so I suggest she goes to get books so she can read beside me too. She grins and toddles off to get some books, then crawls up and nestles in to read beside me. Of course, I get no reading of my own done at this point what with all her beat poet slamming. Then Kaya comes in, Hello Kitty headphones on and Justin Bieber blaring, cozying up amongst us.

I sink further into the pillows, blankets, and my two girls and just gaze at these two kooky, brilliant characters, knowing that I am immersed, this very moment, in the greatest adventure of all.

My family.

Cozy to Crazy

Ah the sweet glory of staying nestled in your pajamas all day by a roaring fire as everyone plays with new toys and grazes on the neverending supply of food.

Until you’re on day three never having left the house. Then it’s more lazy than cozy. Cabin fever strikes and you know that you need out of the house but you’re kind of this lump-a-lumpa that is finding it hard to move your butt from the perfectly contoured cushion you have created… Thank goodness for plans made before the three days and friends planning to meet you. Or we may never have left.

Fortunately we do. Off our butts, through the rain, to snow, sweet glorious snow and the great outdoors.

Oh hello fresh air! Nice to see you again. Apparently some of us needed an intake of oxygen as somebody (somebody named Daddy) dressed Brennyn in tights, pants, and snowpants but forgot one crucial layer… The diaper.

So poor B arrives to the great snowy outdoors, absolutely soaking wet. Which I only discover as I go to change her since the snowpants absorbed it from leaking outside. We get the diaper on, have a few giggles, and wait around while Daddy runs back to the car to get a change of clothes we were fortunate to remember what with our oxygen-deprived brains.After that, well, we have sleds, kids and snow. Life is good!Brennyn had no fear. Let me on, by myself, with someone, I don’t care, just on a sled and DOWN please!

Kaya too was jumping on her daddy’s back and her friends, backwards, frontwards upsidedownwards…

We all started politely enough. One at a time, sitting on our bums. But soon enough it turned into bumper sleds and pile-ups. When some whines arrive with some tears, we know it’s time to head to the lodge for lunch where we nibble on leftovers and our friends fudge. Mmmmm… Full of food and energy, we head back out for round two!Until we’re a good two hours past B’s naptime and though she wants to keep going, she looks like a Doctor Who Robot Santa (if you have not partaken in the Space channels Doctor Who marathon like I have, think mechanical and kinda crazy with a wee spark of Christmasy joy…) The big kids are fading too. And the biggest kids (aka adults) are dreaming of molded cushion lumps with beer and hockey. So it is that we end our fabulous day in the snow.

Since B asks me about once an hour to go ‘swedding pease!’ we will no doubt be back sooner rather than later. Looking forward to it!

Christmas Magic

It’s important for me to record here how magical Christmas was this year. Two giddy girls full of belief and anticipation. Crafting and dancing, stories and activities all glowing with wonder and awe.

But let me clarify too, that magical does not mean perfection. Perfect would mean there had been no family drama, no cooking mishaps and no sisterly battles. Which there most certainly was.

Fortunately, magic rises above all.

Sometimes magic is known by other names. Like giggles.

And the sillies.

Which is about when present #1 on Christmas Eve is opened.

Silly string, though messy and a wee bit stinky, is also brilliant at letting out the pent-up energy we call the crazies.

Magic comes along in other forms too. Like present shaking, sky watching and quietly whispering about our present to Santa so that he can’t hear us.

No doubt he did hear when my sweet, loving girl taps me on the leg and in a hushed tone tells me, “It’s okay if Santa thinks I was naughty this year because I already have enough presents under the tree.” Lessons in gratitude. And grace.

Sometimes magic is seen in quiet contemplation.

Other times, the joy of learning new things. Putting out food for Santa and the reindeer is very cool indeed!

The reindeer LOVED their waffle bowl of goodies.

Sneak-a-peeks are magic.Big giant wow presents too.Appreciation.

Content, happy play together.

And family moments.

All magic.

The brilliance of kids slays me. Why not wear your new fancy dress with your new cozy robe with your new pink earphones (that are not plugged in) to watch your new movie?

Oh, and we may as well throw in some afternoon popcorn too. Surely to become a new Christmas tradition in this household!After all that, I guess it is not magic at all is it? Magic implies mystery and the supernatural whereas this day is fully explainable. Joy, surprises, family, gratitude and novelty whirling and swirling together into Love.

Both nothing and everything magical about that.

No Better Day

I take it as a good sign in my life that I often want to declare,

‘There has been no better day in the history of days…’ projected Martin Luther King Jr. style.

This day was one of those days. When the skies are blue and the snow sparkles. When we are outdoors and collectively, our moods are great. Bonus that an entire day out and about in Whistler cost us just $15.

Bal got the day off and we headed to the new outdoor skating rink. Truly, it could have been disastrous what with me not skating in at least 20 years wearing my mom’s at least 20 year-old pair of skates, Brennyn never having been and Kaya kind-of-sort-of been a few times. Oh sure, there was no grace and beauty out there on the ice, but our effort made up for that. With smiles. Even a few giggles. Frustrated tears too but that didn’t deminish the overall fun factor.

Here’s Mommy pretending to help Kaya, though what is really happening is Kaya keeping Mommy upright. Just like riding a bike my ass…Before long, my girl ditched me though.Stranded, I wait for my next ride. She’s too determined to catch up to her big sis to give Mommy much notice however. Leaving me to screech at Bal to come take my camera so I don’t crush it in my impending crash. Which doesn’t happen but only because I grasp at will onto any person, fence or child within my flailing arms reach.

Fortunately, Brennyn is tired and hungry and I have an excuse to get off the ice. Though we narrowly escape the biggest fall of all when I try to lift her while still on skates to walk to our boots and my ankles collapse from under me. A tiny foreign woman saves the day but right then and there we plunk our bums down, take off our skates, and walk in our socks to our boots. Hilarious!

After skating and snacks, we head to the big snow mound for some sledding. Not put off by not actually having a sled, we make do with snowpants and bums. Old school style!Then just beyond the snow mound, the playground overlooking the skating and ski hill beyond.More snacks and we head indoors to the conference centre’s free play for kids. Could there be anything better than a giant room filled with bouncy castles? Only if it also has a giant bouncy slide.The adjoining room has mini golf.Next door to that, mini hockey.And when all those moments are filled inbetween with these kinda moments,there really is no better day in the history of days.

On the drive home, we get dessert,and a night cap when I am ID’d at the liquor store. It doesn’t even matter that I’m asked by a one-eyed teller (so my friends assure me!)

No better day I tell you.

Until the next no better day…

Party On

As if there is not enough going on and enough treats being eaten, I have to go and throw a fake birthday party. But it was for Rudolph and it allowed us to see a few friends we don’t get to see enough of and it was FUN!

So it was totally necessary.

The reindeer, of course, are quite busy preparing for their forthcoming journey so we celebrated on their behalf, Rudolph still head of the table. Rudolph’s friends then sent presents to help with the birthday bash.

Dasher brought some foam sticker crafts,

While Dancer brought beads and bells for ornament making.

Prancer hid stickers in garland balls.

And Vixen livens things up with Christmas Crackers placed in a stocking.Comet brings some much needed mid play snack in the form of festive rice krispie squares, giving us the energy to compile some of Cupid’s favourite reindeer treats to leave out on Christmas Eve.Donner provides rolled up Santa Search and Find posters and Blitzen, well he forgot, so it’s a good thing the kids brought an ornament each for a gift exchange.

After that, there was food and strawberry shortcake and kids playing upstairs while the mamma’s enjoyed a Bailey coffees and chit chat.

The only thing I had envisioned happening that did not, was a little living room dance party by all the kids. Good thing my girls partook before the party in all their anticipatory sillies!Then again after, though a giddy laying-down exhausted dance.Fake birthday or not, friends coming together is always reason to celebrate!

Christmas Card n’ Crafts

Here’s our card for 2011. With this stickered onto the back.

JOY in 2011 for us:

Bal finished (survived) the 67km Test of Metal Bike Race.

Kari finished (survived) the Whistler Half Marathon.

Kaya is thriving in Kindergarten, performed her first dance on stage, ditched training wheels, lost 2 teeth and swims better than her mommy and daddy.

Brennyn’s first sentence was “Cool Man Motorbike!” as a Harley passed by and she has not stopped talking since. She’s in a big girl bed, on a big girl bike and does everything big sis does. Except peeing on the potty…

Family adventures this year included a crazy roadtrip (crazy fun!), discovering a love of dinosaurs, camping, treasure hunting, and countless outdoor explorations. We look forward to more of the same through 2012!

With Love & Joy,

Bal as Santa, Kaya as Rudolph, Kari as Frosty and Brennyn (in an eerily accurate portrayal) as the Grinch 😉

XOX

Trying to get 4 people to coordinate 8 puppet-style pieces for ‘the perfect picture’ is not recommended if you do, in fact, want to experience Joy.

Especially if you are two and have no freakin idea what is going on and just want to go jump on the bed already! But she is perfectly Grinch so it all worked out in the end.She did try though.And when she abandoned ship, Kaya and I had some fun.The best part of these pictures, has been the girls playing with the pieces afterwards, making Fronta and Rudinch and the like. Then there was B coming in to cheer me up. And Kaya drawing, cutting out, and gluing her own, much better versions (Rudolph’s nose a balloon!)

My time and effort paying off, if not in the time I would like it too, certainly afterward and ongoing. Hopefully the same can be said for today’s Tree Decorating crafting class I took the girls to today. Fiasco!

Brennyn didn’t like the paint smell so spent the first half hour gagging and dry heaving and doing the ugliest hand print ornament decoration I ever did see. Then she got a smooshed hand by a dinosaur wielding boy also not interested in crafts. Glue brought on dry heaving session #2. She spilled a cup of water all over my jeans when slipping off her chair, bonking her head. While doing the last beading craft, Kaya was having a hard time and was frustrated and pissy and needed my help but I was too busy mopping up water and trying to craft Brennyn’s craft and then Kaya fell off her chair and was embarrassed on top of frustrated and it was all just one giant GONG SHOW OF MISERY! Oh my god, I should write a book with that title…

Which will become a bestseller and that will be my time and effort paying off in the end…

*SIGH* (It was more polite than the curse words I wanted to end with)

The Real Meaning of Christmas

Overheard this morning over the baby monitor.

“Yah, and it’s Baby Jesus’ birthday.”

“Baby!” replies Brennyn

“Nooo B, Baby Jesus

“Baby cheeses

“Yah.”

“NO B! Only Baby Jesus can go in the baby crib. And we need animals. Yah, like that dog and cat and maybe a horse.”

“No B, no dinosaurs.”

“Awwww” whines B.

“Do you think there was a pirate there?”

“Yah!”

Who knew they knew their nativity so well…