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On Shopping for Shoes

I just came back from a couple of days State-side.  The 5 of us, plus 3 more from my side of the clan, all loaded into our modes of transport and headed south of the boarder to celebrate a friend’s nuptials.  Yes, the wedding was lovely, and the weather was great.  The kids did really well on our journey – thank you for asking!

This post however, is not about any of those details.

This post is about shopping for shoes.

We spent some time in a local mall on the day of the wedding, not wanting to be too far from where we needed to be that evening.  And they had a couple of my favourite shoe shopping places.  And really – when does a girl *not* need a pair of shoes?  Exactly.  Never.  So of course, I went in along with my sister, my Mom, my niece and my daughter.

While I was perusing the aisles for the illusive basic, black, everyday shoe that I’ve been looking for on-again, off-again for the past 2 years, I was struck by how my 20 year old self would be dying of embarrassment over the shoes I was looking for.  Actually, that didn’t occur to me until I was pondering whether or not a shoe like this is what I was wanting:

It's nice, right?  I mean, for an older, middle aged woman.  Oh crap: I fit both criteria!

It’s nice, right? I mean, for an older, middle aged woman. Oh crap: I fit both criteria!

Don’t get me wrong: I still think this shoe looks like it would fit the bill perfectly for me.  My 20 year old self though…  well, it’s not like I rocked stilettos or anything in my youth; I surely did not.

This was more my style:

Yeah bitches, combat boots!

Yeah bitches, combat boots!

Okay, that was in my late teens.  You’re right: in my 20’s it was more like this:

This looks almost exactly like mine.  Except my favourite ones were square toe.  LOVED them!

This looks almost exactly like mine. Except my favourite ones were square toe. LOVED them!

I “came of age” in the grunge era.  I wore mismatched flannel shirts with dirty jeans.  I wore long johns and worker socks and baggy sweaters.  And yeah, I had some heels, but they were more like this:

I think I had this exact pair!  Except they were black, of course.

I think I had this exact pair! Except they were black, of course.

Cute, right?  I know.  So anyway, in my 20’s I thought I had style with an edge.  I listened to Oasis, I drank G&T’s or Guinness; some times both on the same night!  I went to bars like Velvet Underground or (s)Lime Light for the retro 80’s night.  I lived in an awesome city and when I met people my age who lived in the surrounding suburbs, I would say to them, “Oh – I’m so sorry!” and laugh and laugh…

Which brings me back to my shoe quest.  Which, it turns out, is probably more about me making peace with being a subrurban-dwelling, mini van-driving, stay-at-home-mom than it is really about the shoe.

I guess the combat boots just kicked the shit outta my urban self when my arches fell?  Yeah, let’s go with that.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Randomness

 

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Should Have Known

When I woke up this morning in a neutral mood, and MOMD left the house without saying good bye and I noticed that – before coffee, even – I should have known.

When – at 8:45AM – I was saying to my kids, “I have a very little amount of patience today.  And what you are doing right now has spent almost all of it.  I haven’t been out of bed for 2 hours, and I am all ready at the end of my rope.

“Excellent Behaviour is required today.”  I should have known; they should have known.

When we were traipsing through stores purchasing what we need for next week’s camping foray and I almost bought a metric ton of chocolate in each store, I should have known.

When we got home and I made lunch, and the kids didn’t come when I called them, and I didn’t call them again but rather put it on the table and left, I should have known.

When my (newly) 5yo said, “Ellie’s crying,” and I responded with , “I don’t care,” (yes, I really did. *guilt*) I should have known.  I think the kids knew at that point.

When I started wondering, “Why am I not drunk yet?” at 11AM, I probably had an inkling, but c’mon, I shoulda known!

And when I went to pilfer that same 5yo’s chocolate only to discover the entire bar – the WHOLE THING – was gone and I called MOMD to accuse him of theft and causing “a watershed moment” (my actual words) I was grateful that I had figured it all out.

Because man: these kinds of hormonal swings and shifts are exhausting.  It’s tough being a woman.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Oversharing

 

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Excitement, Exhaustion and Terror All in One!

This is me these days, people.  Excited because one of my dearest friends in the known Universe is getting married in 4 days (YAY!) in her adopted home of Nyack, New York.  I’m so happy for her, not in the least because I love and adore the person she’s chosen for the honour of sharing her life.  I’m excited too because this is our first “Family Vacation” since becoming a family of 5.

This also exhausts me.

Because: getting ready to leave the country with 5 people for 4 nights is a lot of work!  Thank God we’re travelling with my Mom and sister, because we’ve shared up the work that can be shared between us.  Thanks again, Amanda for sorting our the who-needs-a-passport thingy! (The answer is only people over the age of 18, if you’re entering the U.S. by car, just in case you too need to know.)  MOMD brought up the suitcases this weekend and put them in respective rooms so that the bigger kids could begin packing their belongings (which inevitably means either he or I have to unpack the cases to make sure that everything that’s needed is there, but whatever: they’re excited too).  He’s also made a list of what to pack, and cleaned the van inside and out so that we’re ready to tackle the Open Road like he and his family did.

Did you catch that part?  “…like he and his family did.”  Yeah, that right there, that is critical.

See, MOMD grew up in the heart of “The Big Land” as they like to call it.  I myself call it it the tip of an iceberg surrounded by vast amounts of nothingness.  I’m talking about Labrador City.  And while yes, technically there is another town (Wabush) close by, they are really one city.  And then there’s nothing else for like 750km’s on the Trans Canada Highway.  So while saying he grew up on an iceberg is not technically correct, he did grow up in the heart of nowhere.  What this meant is that he and his family spent a lot of time on the road, driving to places.  They would go back to the Island (what island?  THE Island: Newfoundland!) for vacations, and they’d go to Prince Edward Island, they even came to Toronto once, on a trip that’s best not talked about.  And all of this was done in a car.

Me, on the other hand…  well, I grew up in Toronto.  Unlike many of my friends, my parents had a trailer in the country; near a little town called Roseneath.  So I too spent my summers driving to destination.  The main difference is that my car trips were generally 90-120 minutes in length, where his were 2-3 day adventures.  Sadly, I am not one who enjoys spending endless time in a car.

Which is really funny given the traffic that I face often enough here in the GTA; but I digress.

When MOMD and I met (almost 15 years ago now!  WOW!) the longest I could really stomach to travel in total was 2.5 hours.  Seriously: that was my limit.  I go a little stir crazy, which coupled with my usual crazy is too much crazy.  One day remind me to tell you about our move to Halifax where we spent 2 solid days on the road.  It was…  gah.  I can’t even go there.

The trip to Nyack is just under 800km’s.  It’s certainly true that in the intervening years I have gotten better at longer stretches of travel, I approach the thought of a long car ride with trepidation.

And then you throw in 3 kids – one of whom is totally the poster child for Active Lifestyles – and I go directly to terror.  Do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  TERROR!

We’re looking at about a 10 hour trip.  TEN hours, people!  It’s time for the Wizards of the world to share Apparrating with us Muggles.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Family, Raising Kids, Vexations

 

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Twenty-Two Questions!

Twenty-Two Questions!

Why hello erstwhile stranger!  Yes, yes it has been some time since we last met.  What can I say?  Life with a baby, a 4-year-old and an almost 9-year-old can be hectic.  Not to mention all the “from home” work I do.  And then the lapse seemed so long that I got uncomfortable and I thought, “how can I go back there?”

Do you ever get yourself worked up like that?  Me too.  And you know what I realized?  I can go back there simply by…  writing.

And then Rocker Mom posted this questionnaire and I thought, “That is the perfect reintroduction to blogging.”  And so here you have it: 22 random questions about me.

Where were you born?

In Toronto, in East General Hospital at Coxwell & Mortimer.  I lived my whole life in the City, until MOMD & I got married.  We moved out to the East Coast of Canada to his old stomin’ grounds, the seaside city of Halifax.  While Halifax had it’s charms (among them the Brewers Market) I did not settle in.  It was the longest 6 months of my life, and on April 1, 2001, I moved home.  MOMD followed with all of our worldly possessions 4 months later and I vowed I would never again leave Toronto.

The lesson here?  Never say never.  🙂

Were you named after someone?

Two someones, actually.  Well 3, actually.

  

From left to right: Nana Scrimgeour, Anna Margaret Huffman, Nana Keenan, Margaret Lillian Kelly and my Mom,
Susan Margaret Keenan

My name at birth was given as Margaret Michelle Scrimgeour.  The story goes that my Dad was having coffee with my Mom’s Mom (that’d be Nana Keenan) in her kitchen, and pronounced one day that the name of his first child would be Michelle.  My Nan, without missing a beat, responded, “Well here’s hoping it’s a girl.”  By the time I was born, Nana Keenan had lost her long fight with breast cancer.  She passed away a little over 2 years before I was born.  And since my Dad’s Mom’s name was also Margaret, and my own mother’s middle name was too, it was decided that I would also be Margaret.  Trouble was, my poetic parents didn’t think that Michelle Margaret sounded as nice as Margaret Michelle.  And so, I have spent my life answering to my middle name. (And to boot, I doomed my own daughter to the same fate!  I’m sure she’ll love it too.)

If you have children, how many do you have?

Yes, despite predictions to the contrary, MOMD and I have been blessed to shape and mold 3 little people.  Our first is Connor Glenn who will be 9 (NINE!) next month.  Second is Samuel Francis who is 4.5 and last but certainly not least is our darling daughter, Catherine Elise whom we call Ellie Belle.  She is almost 8 months old.

How many pets do you have?

BoosterRight now, we have just the one.  The cutest little dog that you ever did see.  He is a labradoodle, whom we rescued.

MOMD and I have never been dog people.  In fact, we actively made fun of dog owners.  “They’re children that never grow up!”  “The expense of boarding when you want to travel!”  “Walking them….  in the rain!”  Oh how we laughed…  and then, one day a friend of mine sent out a pleading email with a picture of the most adorable little puppy you’ve ever seen.  Before I knew it, I had responded to the message saying, “I’ll take him.”

And then I had to call MOMD and ask how he felt about it!

It was  a tense moment or two, but once he too saw the picture he knew this puppy belonged in our family

The lesson here?  “He who laughs loudest laughs last,” is a pretty accurate proverb.

What was your worst injury?

I’ve been fairly lucky in my life to have very few injuries.  And really, it’s not because I didn’t try or anything; I tobogan down tree-lined hills, I road my bike at break-neck speeds down insane hills that were gravel roads and ended in a sharp turn and I’ve even been in my share of car accidents.  Perhaps it’s simply that the sooner you get your hard knocks in, the sooner you learn you don’t like them?  I dunno.  What I do know is that I was 8 when I broke my arm.  I was skating at our local rink with my little sister and I fell.  I’m sure I was showing off or something; I don’t remember those details.  What I do remember is the rink guard taking me off the ice and into his office where he inspected my arm and pronounced it not broken since I could move my fingers.  Broken or not, it hurt like a son of a gun and I got my sister off the ice and we went home.  My parents distrusting in the medical knowledge of a 16-year-old rink guard, took me to the hospital where it was determined to be a pretty serious break.  I had a cast from my finger tips to my shoulder, on my right arm, for EVER I’m telling you.  It was so frustrating not being able to use my dominant hand…  I remember crying about it in the school office.  Anyway, eventually it came back and my arm has been as good as gold ever since.

Do you have a special talent?

This sounds like a trick question; maybe vaguely suggestive even.  Perhaps that’s just me.  ~ahem.  To the answer then!  I have a couple of talents actually.  One I get to practice here and another one here, and the other one I just practice where ever I happen to be.  I love to sing, you see.  And I sing pretty much wherever I am, when the mood strikes.  It’s just one of my many charms, don’t you know.  :p

What’s your favourite thing to bake?

I think I could no sooner pick a favourite star in the heavens.  Seriously – I love to be in the kitchen.  But if you’re going to force the issue, I guess I’d have to say that I love to make cakes.  No cookies.  No, wait: pie.  No, cupcakes!  GAH!  Why do you make me choose???

IMG_3963    IMG_2484        100_4857 IMG_1420

What’s your favourite fast food?

You’re totally going to judge me.  I know it, and I’m ready for it.  When I want fast food, only one of two things will do: McDonald’s fries with their barbecue sauce or a Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell.

God it feels good to have that off my chest.

Would you bungee jump?

No.  No I would not.

What is the first thing you notice about people?

Their smile.  Does it light up their face?  Do they seem genuine and joyful?  Do I want to be around them?  You can tell so much from a smile, aside from good dentition.

When was the last time you cried?

This morning, actually, as I watched this video.  I cry fairly easily actually.  Like if I see beautiful expressions of love.  Or a new person (like a baby, I mean).  Or for utter joy.  Of course I cry for sadness and greif too, but mostly for the other reasons I mentioned.

Any current worries?

Well, I’ve started this baking thing and while I had a lot of success in the previous 2 weeks, I don’t have any orders for this week.  And while that doesn’t exactly scare me, it has me wondering about how to make the work a little more consistent.

Name 3 drinks you drink regularly.

Arbonne Tea in Kiara's mugI always have a cup of water on the go.  I drink 8 oz before I have anything else in a day.  I love water.  After my first cup of water, I brew my Arbonne detox tea, mixed with 1/2 a pomegranate fizz tab and 1/2 a citrus fizz tab.  And then the 3rd one…  gah, I don’t know!  5 months ago my answer would have surely included coffee.  But since we figured out that it was causing my breast milk to be acidic, I cut it out.  That said, now that Little E is eating more and more food, I am having a cup here and there.  So maybe coffee.  But then, my favourite drink is a gin & tonic.  So maybe that?  With a slice of lime?  Or just a great glass of wine…

Are you starting to figure out that getting me to pick a favourite can be a little tough?

What’s your favourite book?

Again with the favourites, you guys!  So tough.  Because I have so many books that I absolutely love and can’t imagine my life without.  But if you’re going to force me to pick just one, then…  the I guess it will have to be The Mists of Avalon.  That book started my life on the course that brought me to who I am today.  And if I’m perfectly honest with you, I absolutely love my life.

Would you like to be a pirate?

Ummm…  no.  I’m not a taker!  Or a theif, or mean or violent in anyway.  I’m a peaceful giver.  A lover, not a fighter, to turn a phrase.  Although I would love the jewellery…

What are your favourite smells?

kok1) the smell of a Greek bakery.  I grew up in Toronto’s Greektown, just a little south of the Danforth.  My Dad would sometimes take me for walks to pickup stuff for dinner, and we would almost always wind up in a Greek bakery.  I loved those walks, and to this day when I walk into a Greek bakery, I see myself as a little girl, letting go of my Dad’s hand to press my nose to the display case of koks (image on the right).  2) the smell of freesia.  So sweet and beautiful!  I love love love freesia.  Yellow ones.  3) mens cologne, just a hint of it.  I love it.  Any cologne.

Why do you blog?

Initially I started to blog here because I wanted to know that I was more than just a mom.  Which may sound patronizing in some way, I know.  Thing was, my life went through massive transition and I was lost.  I felt like I was walking around in someone else’s skin, living their life.  I needed to find me, to confirm that I still had thoughts and opinions that I could express effectively and that other people might relate to.  And so I started here.  You’ve all been so warm and wonderful, and really: this blog saved my sanity.  So thanks for reading, and reminding me that I do in fact love my life.  xoxo

What song do you want played at your funeral?

GOD so many!!  Not that I think about my death all the time – I don’t, I’m not that morbid.  I do however attend a lot of funerals and viewings (no idea why that happens, but there was a winter where I had 14 funerals in a 3 months period.  True story.) and so I’ve given a lot of thought to my own celebration of life.

And that, my friends, is what I want: a celebration.  A big party, with a DJ, open bar, and excellent food.  A mic where people can talk about their memories of me, and share how I lived.  I want “Into the Blue” by Moby at some point; I want Bach’s “Air” played on strings, in the key of G; I want something by Sarah McLauchlan.  I want Finlay Quaye; Bob Marley “No Woman No Cry”; so many songs you guys.  I love music, and I”m sure there’s a soundtrack to my life.  I just have to sort it out.  Good job I have some time, huh?  😉

Name something you’ve done that you never thought you’d do.

Well, get married for starters.  True story!  When I was growing up, I always aspired to be the crazy aunt with a high-flying career, taking my nieces and nephews on jet-setting trips, living a life of dreams.  And then I met MOMD and he ruined – positively ruined – all that by being so perfect for me that I had to dream a new life.  And here I am, doing many things I never ever thought I’d do.

The lesson here?  Be open to change when opportunities to better yourself come along.

What are your favourite things to do?

Honestly you guys?  This is going to sound so lame, believe me, I know!  I love to put on my nasty old paint-stained track pants, order a pizza and sit on the couch with MOMD and watch something.  Just him and me, on our comfy couch, in our cozy “house pants”.  I also love a pedicure, border runs with my girlies, and of course, cookin’ up a scoff.

Any pet peeves?

Don’t you DARE leave the toilet seat up, that’s all I’m saying.

What was the last thing that made you laugh?

I laugh a lot you guys.  I can’t even remember what the last thing was that made me laugh because I’m sure I’ve laughed since then!  My kids are hilarious, the synchonicity of life often amuses me, and gin always befuddles my mind.  But here: this is the last thing on the internet that really made me laugh out loud:

188204_482649418449272_918876804_n

It’s SO me!

And there you have it.  My, summed up in 22 questions.  If you decide to take some of all of this for fodder for your blog, tag me in it so I make sure to check out your answers too.

It’s good to be back!

Me and my hunny in NYC in December 2010

Me and my hunny in NYC in December 2010

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Oversharing

 

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Dinner Conversations

When I was growing up, my family had dinner together every day.  Never with the TV on, usually with music playing in the background, glasses of milk for the kids and water for the adults.  We sat at the table every night and we talked.  Everyone talked about how their days were, what we learned at school, challenges at work, sharing the news about our friends and family; we engaged with each other every day.  On Sundays, the same rules applied except that the food was usually more labour intensive to prepare, and we always ate in the dining room on the fine china.

They say that you will do what you know, and so it’s really no surprise to me that every night we all sit at the table to have dinner.  Although, our fine china is not dishwasher safe like my parents is, so on Sundays we just eat on regular plates.  But I digress.

While I try to engage everyone in discussion about their days, some times that conversational tactic runs out before I’ve even taken my first bite.  On those nights, the kids ask random questions and we do our best to engage in discussion with them.  One night though, over the Christmas break, Connor asked, “So Mom: what is man’s work?”

The feminist in me immediately bristled.  “Where is he getting this from,” I raged internally.  MOMD dropped his fork, his terror shining from his eyes, while he tried desperately to see how I would respond, without looking at me thus to provoke my wrath.  Being in communications, he tried to firmly get control of the question and started sputtering something like, “Well Connor…”

Cooler heads prevailed however, and I interrupted MOMD with the faithful advice given by my OB many, many years ago.  “Well Connor, ” I said, “what do you think man’s work is?”

Connor: “I’m not sure.”
MOMD: “Well, let’s think about the kind of work I do, and the kind of work Mom does.”
Connor: “Oh…  ok.  So like, Dad does the laundry, cleans the bathrooms, washes the floors…  So I guess that’s man’s work.”
Me: “Well, my work is done here.”

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Family, Food, Raising Kids, Traditions

 

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Meet my Tree

Hello stranger,

It’s been a while, I know.  I got busy, you got busy, and while I tried to write I just never had the time to complete a post.  And believe me when I say that I have missed you; I really have.  In this season of goodwill, can we agree to let bygones be bygones?  I promise today I’m writing a lovely, heartwarming piece (at least: I hope it is!).

While it’s true that I am not what you would call a “Christian”, I was raised as one.  As such, I continue to celebrate the major Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter.  While we don’t attend church, we talk with our kids about how Christmas is Jesus’ birthday party and Easter is his funeral and ascension.  What this means is that I have a tree.  A Christmas tree, every year.

I love my tree.

Whether it’s real (always has been) or fake (until this year when we got an artificial one), it’s always an old-school, multi-coloured, hodge-podge tree.

Image

And I love it.

My tree is a physical symbol of my history.  I have ornaments on here from many, many years, including the one from the year I was born.  Let me share with you some of my favourites now.

First: my tree topper:

Image

It is a star (because ever since my Dad said, “You know why the angel on the top of a tree is always smiling, don’t you?” I have never ever been able to take an angel-topped tree seriously).  This star has been with me since I had my first tree on my own, when I was 22.  That makes this star 16 years old this year.  I bought it at Pier One Imports and I have loved it ever since.  It is the best top for my tree.

Next: my Sugar Plump Faerie.

Image

I absolutely adore faeries, and this ornament right here is my all-time favourite.  I bought her when I had my first (and only!) Christmas in Halifax, in 2000.  MOMD & I moved out east shortly after our wedding so that he could get some traction in his industry.  He went to school out there, and all of his network was out there.  While we were closer to home for him, we were so far from home for me, and every day away my heart broke.  I loved MOMD, and we had some good times out there, but I was not getting better.  I moved back on April 1, 2001 and have never strayed far from my beloved city again.  But!  This is supposed to be about the ornaments, right?  SO: I got my Sugar Plump Faerie, as I lovingly named her, from a fabulous little shop in the Hydrostones of Halifax (right next to Salvatore’s pizza which is honestly the best pizza I’ve ever had).  I instantly fell in love with her, and every year when I unwrap her, I giggle and clap my hands and admire her.  She is confident, beautiful, and dancing.  What more can I ask for?

Up next: angels!

Image

My tree is full of angels.  I love them – just not on the top!  One year, when I was young and single and still adding to my collection, I got it in my head that I needed some “angels in action”.  I went on the hunt, and I found one who was singing (pictured above) and one who was playing a trumpet.  I was even more excited when the angels were of colour.  I’m from a big city, with lots of diversity, and it really irked me that all the angels I could readily find where white.  Why was that, exactly?  And then, I found these ones and my heart was full of gladness.  These angels will forever be on my tree, for they own a piece of my heart.

Up Next: Birth Year Ornaments

I don’t know when the tradition started, if it’s a tradition with your family, or just one of my own family’s.  When there is a baby, an ornament is purchased for them, with their birth year on it, commemorating their joining the family.  When I was a kid, we always got antsy until my Mom had uncovered our ornaments and we were able to hang them proudly on the tree.  Here is my birth ornament:

My birth ornament

Obviously, this was a tradition I wanted to bring into my family.  And so, here are the ornaments for each of our children:

This one is Connor’s:

Connor's birth ornament

You can’t see it, but on this bulb 2004 is engraved.  I love the classic simplicity of it.  And when I brought it out this year, he too was so excited.

And here is Sam’s:

Sam's birth ornament

His looks a lot like Connor’s, but Sam’s is perfect for him because it plays music.  And he is such a music lover, just like his dear old Mum.  But please: don’t tell him.  Otherwise he’s sure to break the wind-up function from over-playing!

And lastly, here is Ellie’s:

Ellie's birth ornament

It’s quite different from the boys; but I figure she is quite different from the boys, and so this fits for her.  When I saw it, I thought of the peace that she has brought to our lives, and I just decided that ti was perfectly her.  MOMD agreed too. I think in part because it’s the same colour as her eyes.  😉

Next up: Clipper Ship

Mitchell's Clipper Ship

Our first year together – 1998 – MOMD & I hosted a Christmas gathering at the house we shared with another couple. We invited people to come and help us trim our tree, and indulge in some holiday cheer.  It was a great time.  MOMD’s friend came to our house and she brought this ornament for him.  It has been a favourite of mine ever since.

Next up: Glenn’s timely elf

Glenn's timely elf

As you may have guessed, ornaments are pretty important to me.  😉  This one is something that I bought for my brother from the same shop that my Sugar Plump Faerie came from in Halifax.  I just love this ornament; I always have.  The clock on his tummy actually opens to show a pendulum, and other inner workings.  When Glenn died, I asked my parents if I could have some of the ornaments that I bought for him over the years.  Of all of them, this one is my favourite.  And poignant too, since he passed away 18 months after I gave this to him.  Time was ticking away, and we didn’t even know it.

And now – an award!

My Poppa Award!  Yes, this is a picture glued to a Christmas bulb.  It is a picture of my grandfather – my Mom’s Dad.  When he passed away, a few of my cousins got together and decided to have a little awards show every year, awarding “Poppa Awards” to deserving members of our family.  It’s been a great tradition to our annual Keenan Family Boxing day, and every time someone in my house gets one, I get excited and proudly display it.  Thanks for giving me an award that could go on my tree, Poppa Committee!  As you can see, I love it.

And now: the Poinsettia Faerie

I love this one.  I’ve had this since the year I got my star; it was on my first tree ever, and was a gift from my best friend.  Every year she takes my breath away when I unwrap her, and she gets a place of prominence at the top of my tree.

Are you still with me?  Oh joy!  Thank you for continuing on;  we’re almost done now I promise!

Pauline's Angel

This one is very special to me as it is the first ornament given to me by my mother-in-law, Pauline.  It was the Christmas of 1998, and on December 27 I flew to MOMD’s hometown of Labrador, Newfoundland & Labrador to ring in the New Year with him and his family.  This ornament was given to my on the night I arrived, and is a cherished item from the first trip I ever made with my in-laws-to-be.

And last, but not least:

Yes, that’s right, it’s Batman.  Lest you think that our tree really is just my tree, MOMD does have several ornaments of his own, proudly displayed year after year.

And there you have it.  Thank you for walking down memory lane with me.  I love this time of year, I love my traditions and I hope you enjoyed reading about them.

Merry Christmas!
m

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids, Traditions

 

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Oh, Happiest of Days!

On this day, 35 years ago today, something really special happened.  The act itself happens every day, and yet each time it’s different because a new life enters world.  What makes this particular event so special is that this is the day my sister was born.

She has been my partner-in-crime for many years.  I was 3 and a half when she was born and so in fact, I cannot remember life without her.  I don’t remember meeting her – I simply know that she’s always been with me.

Sitting on a chaise lounge, sharing a drink in Nana & Grampa’s backyard.

We started sharing a room just before our brother was born, which would have made me about 7 and her about 3 and a half.  And in fact, we shared a double bed as well, until we each got twin captain beds; I think I was 12 or so.  We shared our room until I was 20 or 21, and my parents had the basement renovated.  I got a bedroom – and a bathroom even – in that deal.  It was great to have our space for sure, and we each enjoyed decorating our new rooms to our tastes (no more armless teddybear wallpaper for either of us).  There were times though when our own space wasn’t good enough: in fact, we shared a bed every Christmas Eve until 1998 and MOMD came on the scene.  She and I would load our adult bodies into one of the twin captain beds, and Glenn would take the other bed.  And we would “sleep” (Amanda is a horrible bed hog) .  We loved to wake up together on Christmas morning.

Me and my sibs, taken in the fall of 1981 on my parents couch (hello 70’s – check out the fabric!!)

When I moved out, we would make dates to spend the day with each other.  We called these days “Sisters Day” and we even had a theme song.  Thy lyrics are “Sisters day is for spending money!”  You can probably guess what we did on Sister’s Day.

We lost our brother together, we had our first babies together (my niece is 10 weeks younger than my son; we called them the “maternal twins”), we each traveled to the UK with our Girl Guide troop, without our parents.  We each have curly hair (although hers far more curly than mine) and often times people ask us if we are twins.   For ourselves though, we can’t see any resemblance between us unless we’re hanging upside down.

We attended the same primary, middle and high schools, sometimes even together.  Of course, if Amanda had an endocrinologist appointment, she’d have to miss school.  Often she would have a teacher that I have had; it can’t have been easy to be in my shadow.  Some might say that I have a big personality and as such, I suppose I must cast a big shadow.  My sister did it though, without complaint, with style and grace and a personality all her own.

The good times, the bad times, the friend times and the fighting times (there were a LOT of those, right Mom?), my sister has been through it all with me.  She was my Maid of Honour at my wedding, she is my go-to confidant on many a sensitive topic.  I can count on her to be honest with me, even if what she has to say is going to hurt.  I trust that she has my best interests at heart, knowing who I am as really no one else on earth can.

She is a beautiful woman.
A bright light in the dark of night,
a loving heart and a courageous soul.

Happy birthday, Amanda.  I love you more that I can say.  I’m so glad you chose to share this life with me.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Family

 

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