Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

Here we are, less than an hour from a new year... its been an interesting one that is for sure. We said hello to a son, and good bye to Nana. Were challenged with health concerns, and blessed with healing and strength. I turned 30, and it was better than I thought it would be. Basically, I am just happy with life. I have so much to be thankful for, and I can't wait to see what is to come in 2010!

So I am off to watch the ball drop... Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Keep Christmas With You...

Well, its over... last night we said our good byes to Ken's family as they were leaving early this morning for Seattle and their flight home. With all the extra security issues after the attempted terrorist attack (which happened to be a flight on the same airline they are flying to the same location as the said attack) they needed to leave earlier than originally thought.

The last part of our visit was wonderful like the first part, although the sick bugs spread through the rest of us. The kids are improving daily, Ariel is nearly back to her normal self, just the cough lingers. Xander is still having a rough go, coughing quite a bit, so extra cuddling is needed.

Sunday morning we skipped church due to all the sickies, and slept in for the needed rest. Ariel was much chipper that morning and was dancing around the living room with her Ariel doll.

We went for a walk down in the village to go for lunch and to stop at the kitchen shop for Jonathan. We had tried the day before but they were closed and he was eager to spend some of his money on kitchen trinkets. Later we had dinner at Dad at Rita's where we had an amazing trout and salmon dinner. Soooo good. Xander showed off how strong he is getting, what a boy!

Ariel got to wear her new outfit from Grammy, so cute!

Following dinner and a visit, we went up to see the toy train set up near their hotel. It was the last night it was open, so we made the effort even though it was super cold.

Ariel loved the train... and the silly dancing Santa toys.

The next morning we got organized and headed into Vancouver for a visit to the Harbour Centre.

I have only been up it once, so it was neat to go again, too bad it was cloudy.

Ariel is sure not afraid of heights, haha.

We had lunch at a place called Steamworks Brewery, and had a great waitress who was a mom and knew the tell tale signs of a tired and hungry child and got Ariel's meal out asap. Yay! Lunch was great, I love good fish and chips!

Beauty and the Beast! Haha

We walked down in Gastown to see the steam clock and we hit the tourist shops. Dan and I each got some Olympic mittens, woot!

Yay for cute pictures!

We walked down to Canada Place to see the annual festival of trees, only to find out it wasn't there this year but at the Four Seasons Hotel, oops. They are preparing the area for the Olympics, oh well. Did get a cute picture there regardless.

Then it was off to Stanley Park for the Bright Nights event and a ride on the train! It was pretty crowded there, and Ariel was getting really tired and cranky, but the moment she was on the train she was super excited!

Sooooooooo pretty!

The next morning I heard sad news that broke my heart. One of my online friends sadly lost her baby at almost 12 weeks along. I was devastated for her and her family. I don't understand sometimes why these things happen, but I ask for you to pray for them.

It was now our last day of fun with everyone, so we walked into the village as Jonathan was wanting to spend the rest of his Canadian money on some Canadian tacky trinkets. I had a hair appointment, my first time going since having Xander, yeah way overdue! I let my stylist go nuts with my color, and its really cool. Sorta light copper in the front and gets darker to the back. She learned this particular look after working with a gal from New York on a fashion show. Cool, I feel funky!

I rejoined everyone hanging out at the house and we went off to the Bird Sanctuary. Ken is a friend to all birds, they like him!

Ariel had a great time, she loves the ducks! We ran out of food pretty fast because of her, haha.

We stayed until they were closing, and then went to White Spot for dinner. Yummy burgers and even a mini dessert, which I will say even after asking how small they were, they were bigger than I expected! Thankfully Ken and Ariel shared with me. Mmmmm, brownie!

Then back to the house again for our last visit and some pictures. First the men...

... Grammy and her grandkids...

... and finally a mother, her son and his kids. Pretty special indeed!

That pretty much brings us back to now... as I sit and enjoy the quiet. Not sure what is planned for new years, but most likely with the kids still somewhat sick, I don't think much. Maybe I will plan a cool dinner... then its back to 'healthy living' boot-camp, haha.

Besides my continuing weight loss and health journey in 2010, I am taking up Project 365! If you aren't familiar with it, what it entails is taking a picture daily and posting it. I pretty much do that already with my blog, but I will be adding it daily regardless if I post or not. So a full year of posts! Whoa, crazy I know. I haven't decided if they will all be pictures of the kids or a mix with other stuff. We shall see how it goes. I am thinking that one picture a week will be one of a new cooking dish I will try from some of my new cook books I got for Christmas. I want to challenge myself and try new things this year. I think those are resolutions I can keep. I am sure you will all keep me on track!

So have a wonderful new years.... 2010 - BRING IT ON!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Love Came Down On Christmas

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas. First off, happy 4 month birthday Xander! Yay, my boy is getting so big!!!!!

So far the past few day have been great for us, even with the few 'bumps' in the road. The day before Ken's family was scheduled to arrive, Ariel started showing signs of a flu coming on. By the time the family arrived for dinner on the 23rd, she was coughing badly and her nose was running like crazy. However, she was still perky and eager to play and goof off.

Of course the biggest highlight was Grammy finally meeting her grandson! Xander was acting strange at first with her, but as of today is smiling and content. Yay!

Christmas eve was a lazy day since Ariel seemed to be losing steam fast. She was really tired and her eyes were not the bright coffee beans I am use to. We went to lunch at Sharkeys only to have her go into a coughing fit afterwards and puked up her meal on the kitchen floor. Lovely!

Prior to puking, Ariel and Uncle Dan hanging out

Her fever was off and on over those few days, but finally seemed to break that afternoon. She was pushing to let us take her to church for the Christmas eve service, although I wasn't sure. She wanted to see Aunty Kara dance, and so I walked to the church with Xander early to grab seats and the rest of the gang followed later. Ariel looked terrible and was laying on Grammy's lap most of the service, only perking up to see Kara dance then falling asleep. It was pretty sweet actually.

The service was simply beautiful and as usual the music was gorgeous. I loved that they sang 'Love came down on Christmas'. Such a beautiful piece and done so well as a round song. It really sums it up I think...

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

We got Ariel home where again she perked up and ate our traditional snacks and watched 'Christmas eve on Sesame Street'.

The kids were all ready for bed in their new jammies I made for us all. Xander was looking super cute as usual.

The family headed back to the hotel for the night and we took our tradition jammie picture in front of the tree (which you have seen in the previous post). Then got the kids into bed, but not before Ariel insisted on leaving St Nicholas some cookies and milk. She was asleep quickly and while Ken wrapped his gifts upstairs, I stuffed the kids stockings and brought down all the presents Grammy sent out of the storage room. I ended up moving some furniture around to make more room for the next morning, it was a little tight with all the goodies for the kids.

I was so tired that it didn't take much for me to fall asleep soundly until morning. I remember the years I didn't sleep a wink and my mom would leave my stocking outside my door after midnight so that I could have some goodies to keep me sane until morning, haha. Ahhh, how times have changed.

Morning came fast with a hungry boy and Ariel was still asleep soundly. By the time the family arrived, we still were waiting on Ariel to wake up. I finally got her up and we all got to see her reaction coming down the stairs to the goodies awaiting her.

We got opening things and Ariel was sooooo into it this year. A 3 year old at Christmas is sure magic! She helped Xander open his gifts, and was eager to show him how they worked (and play with them too, haha). Xander enjoyed anything that he could chew on or that made music... he also seemed intrigued with baby Woody too. Hee.

Ken surprised me with the whole Gilmore Girls series on dvd, which was really sweet since we weren't really doing gifts this year. It was an over-sized stocking stuffer I am told.

The kids got some lovely gifts. Ariel's favorite seems to be her 'Splatster', a game and drawing thing she does on the tv. She can even transfer her pictures to the computer to print out. Pretty cool. She also loves her Hungry Caterpillar board game, sticker and activity books and various stuffies.

Practicing writing in her 'write and wipe' book from Xander.

Xander loves his musical keys, Detroit hat, Sophie the giraffe toy and the cute clothes (or maybe mommy loves them more, haha)

Also a big fan of his sock monkey jack in the box!

Grammy getting some baby snuggles... he just is happy to sit with her. Awww.

After presents and a traditional brunch of overnight cinnamon buns and Eggs Benedict from my Company's Coming book. I went to the kitchen again to start the turkey! I made the stuffing up and filled the bird and put the remainder in my slow cooker. I haven't tried that before, but it seemed like a great way to do it and get that same long cooked taste. Yum!

My bird turned out fantastic! Much to the wonderful digital meat thermometer from Dad and Rita. It was dead on and the meat was so moist and delicious. I made up rustic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, asparagus casserole, corn and gravy... and then I was exhausted, haha.

Ariel and Grammy helped set the table. She laid out the 'christmas crackers' and made place cards, so cute!

We all got seated and of course Xander was hungry too, so I nursed him before getting my dinner. Oh well, tis the way it goes with growing babies.

Dinner was sooooo good. I was pleased with my work, and glad everyone enjoyed it. We used Nana's china, and I think she would have been impressed with my turkey. The torch has been passed.

Ariel managed to have a bleeding nose from all her sneezing and coughing, and freaked out of course. Poor girl, I felt so bad. But she got a pretty necklace in her 'christmas cracker' and it made her feel better... not to mention her crown.

After dishes and some more playing, Jonathan was eager to go back to the hotel to sleep, so Ken wrapped up the evening with a puppet show with his new puppet I got him for his stocking. He did the Hippo song, which he did when it was Ariel's first Christmas.

The next morning we were pretty groggy. Xander now had the flu from Ariel and had been up most of the night wanting to nurse and cuddle. He has a brief fever and was coughing which then made him cry. So that was sad. Ken is somewhat showing signs of it, and I refuse to get it, so there. Ha!

We did an online chat with Ken's dad and Aunt Carol so the kids could open the gifts from Grandpa. It was too bad the kids weren't feeling well, since they weren't really that interested in the camera, but not much you can do if they are sick. At least today was better for Ariel who seems to have her personality back, but a very red, raw nose still remains.

Ariel decided to wear her new shirt from Uncle Dan, 'cake is awesome'. Haha.

As Ken's mom says, 'It's nice that Dan has found someone on his wavelength.' aka, that of a 3 year old, haha. They are watching Spongebob together here.

We decided to go see The Princess and the Frog in the afternoon, and after a morning walk in the village, we drove off to catch the show. Xander was asleep in his car seat and managed sleep through the whole movie. Yay! The movie was great, and Ariel enjoyed it except for the brief moments that spooked her with the evil villain. I even found myself a bit scared, eek! It was so great to see a Disney 2D film again, long live animation!

As we came out of the theater, the lobby was packed with people, so we chose a good time to come before the rush. We came home for a dinner of leftover turkey, oh so good again, and got the kids to bed early to help them get better. Seems like the sick germs are moving into Ken's family now, ugh. I guess there was no really way to avoid it. Hoping they don't get it as bad. Ok, better get ready for bed now. Lots still to come...stay tuned for the second half of our visit!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


In the past 24 hours we had some stress with the whole passport situation with Ken's family. I am happy to say that it has been dealt with... they have replacements coming today, in time for their early flight tomorrow!!! YAY! Needless to say we were very thankful, and they even got a better deal on the cost for the replacements, so a huge answer to prayer on that front too.

I ventured out in to Richmond yesterday in search of a little something for Ariel and Xander from Grandpa Priebe, who had sent some money for me to pick a present for them. I probably could have shopped locally but there is pretty much nothing left around here. Dad and Rita took the kids and I drove off in the rain. I managed to make it a worth while trip by picking up our train tickets as well. Woot!

Toys r us wasn't too crazy, although I ended up helping a few seniors find toys on their lists for the grandkids. There was lots of people there to get those silly Zhu Zhu hamsters, its the 'big toy' this year... kinda lame in my opinion. Oh well, my kid didn't want them. Haha, I am sure I will get to experience such nonsense at some point in my life... it will be payback for the Cabbage Patch doll I wanted when I was a kid.

I got a little something for each of my cuties, although again, not much left to pick from. I found myself walking up and down the same isles thinking something new would jump out at me. Finally I managed to get out of there, although the time alone was quite nice I must say.

Tonight when Ken leaves work he is off for over a week! Yay, how fun!!! I am so excited... and then his family arrives tomorrow afternoon in Seattle and will drive up here for a week! The only thing that is somewhat worrisome is Ariel's sudden sniffles. She was in our bed several times last night, not sure if it was sleep walking or just needing some cuddles. Ken told me he found her asleep at the foot of our bed at one point. The poor thing... she is better this morning, still sniffly, but in better spirits. I am letting her rest today and tomorrow in hopes she recovers fast. Praying we don't all end up with it.

Last night while waiting on Ken coming home, I worked on a little something for fun. This is a song that really takes me back to my childhood Christmases. I didn't really get the meaning as a kid, but now as a parent, I do. Its a special little song... hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

4th Sunday of Advent... Love

Its finally the 4th Sunday of Advent... Christmas is THIS WEEK! Eek!!!

As we come closer to Christmas day, I have been reflecting on past years. This of course is the first without Nana with us, and with that comes a hint of sadness knowing that last year we surprised our family with the news of our pregnancy... I love this video, and I am thankful for it to show Xander how much his Nana was excited to know of his arrival. I am sorry she didn't get to snuggle him... especially since he is a mega cuddle monkey.

With thinking of Nana, I then looked back at old pictures of Ariel's first Christmas. Gosh, she and Xander really look alike when you cover up the hair. Hee.

The other morning while laying in bed, I realized I needed to bundle Xander up with an extra blanket because it was chilly. So when I got up I went to his room to get out a white knit blanket. This blanket was a gift from Nana back when I was engaged. We had gone to a bazaar together, I think it was the first Christmas perhaps after Mom died. We found this beautiful, hand knit white blanket and Nana bought it for me. 'Save it for when you have babies' she said. I did, and I took such care of this present. Carefully keeping it stored safely until the day Ariel came into the world.

I remember as I prepared Xander's room for his arrival, the blanket again came out and into the bottom drawer with other blankets. With Nana gone, it was even more special. I used it a few times, and then I forgot about it since it had been warmer and Xander was using a full body outfit for the stroller. So when I opened the bottom drawer looking for the blanket... it was gone.

I panicked, trying to retrace my steps. The only thing I could think of was Halloween, but I wasn't sure. I called friends in hopes it was around at someones house... but it wasn't. I was losing faith, I knew it was just a blanket, but it was still hard, I felt awful for losing it. I cried one night, then decided I had to let it go and got busy in my week. With all the excitement with class parties, dinner's out and preparing for Ken's family, I was in a daze. Then Saturday came and it was a packed day. Ariel and I were getting to meet one of our newest online friends, Aimee and her daughter Kailey. We met on a gymboree message board, yes yes, I know, more crazy people like me, haha.

So she drove up from across the border for lunch with us at the Old Spaghetti Factory. The girls exchanged gifts and we had a nice lunch... with some preschool antics as well. Haha. The girls pretty much trashed the table with wrapping paper, toys and lunch. Thank goodness for a very understanding waiter who just smiled and said he had seen worse, bless his heart! I gave him a good tip, haha.

After lunch we took the girls to Go Bananas so they could run around and play. Aimee and I got to chat for 3 hours and it was so much fun. We have a lot in common and I see this being the beginning of a new long term friendship. I love my friends, old, new and online, haha. I think Ariel loves her new friend too, can you tell?

We said our goodbyes and headed home to get Xander and Ken and head off to Dad and Rita's for Christmas dinner with my family. Dinner was amazing, roast beast with lots of yummy side dishes. Ken got a nice family shot of us all... and of course Mike wasn't about to stop eating just for a picture. Haha, classic!

We moved on to dessert after Ariel and Katie opened their stockings of cute trinkets. Dad made an apple and lemon pie, Ariel had a slice of both, good grief, where does she put it.

Then it was time for gifts. We had gotten both Dad and Rita and Mike and Jo these really cool cheese plates made from recycled wine bottles that were flatten into plates. Then they added personalized labels with their names and wedding year. We also had given some calendars of pictures of the kids to Dad and Rita, and Mike and Jo some ornaments for their tree.

We were given lovely gifts, I got some pottery to add to my collection. A set of 3 nesting bowls and a cooking light cookbook from Dad and Rita.

Ariel got a ukulele, and she LOVES it! She has been really into playing the little guitar over at their house, and Dad was told by the fellow at the music shop that it was a great way to start her off. So we have a sheet with cords, so we will see how we do.

Xander got some cute outfits, toys and Canuck mittens! Mike is always making sure his nephew has canuck gear. Haha! Xander of course was pretty confused by the whole event, but managed to get through it in a good mood.

We finished gifts and packed up the car to come home and get the kids in bed. It was quite late so we all slept in the next morning and missed Sunday school. I had to be there on time for the service to take pictures of the baptism and membership happening that morning.

While at church, Stella gave me a little bag with something in it, but I didn't finally open it until we got home. Inside was the sweetest ornament and I love it. I can't imagine something being more perfect and meaningful for this year. Our first Christmas as a family of four.

Afterwards we came home for a quick lunch and I went off to the store with my huge list in hand. I filled a grocery cart with all our Christmas food and realized I was there for over an hour shopping, yikes! The total nearly made me fall over too, I don't usually have big amounts like that. Gack!

I got home and working together we got everything inside. Ariel is great holding the door open for us. Yay. Then we checked in online with Ken's family and there is a slight crisis at hand. The passports are missing! They are going into an office tomorrow to look into fast replacements... of course the costs in that are HUGE, and my heart is breaking that this is happening to them. Pray things go smoothly in the next few days... I can't imagine them not being here now.

Ken then decided we needed to get some laundry done, so he and Ariel went down to do a load of stuff and came back with the biggest surprise! MY BLANKET!!!!!!!!!! I guess it must have fallen when I came inside one day and someone might have thought it was dropped by someone doing laundry and stuck it in the laundry room in our building. Of course I started crying, I am so thankful and blessed to know there was honest and caring people in our building that put it somewhere safe instead of chucking it or stealing it. My dear Xander now gets to snuggle in it... and is that much closer to his Nana.

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