Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Now our condo has a third bedroom. And the best part is, Clara and Leo built it all by themselves!
Thanks Malcolm, Uncle Ashley and Auntie Patricia!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas schedule 2009
December 19th Holiday Party at our house
December 20th Church holiday spectacular
December 23th Afternoon in Dorval playing with 2nd cousins.
December 23/24th Clara at friend's Birthday party
December 25th afternoon and evening at Max's house
December 26th Christmas with PapaT, Cathy and the fam.
December 27th drive to Ottawa to visit with Malcolm.
December 28th meet Cousin It, drive back to Montreal, dinner party at friend's.
December 29th Christmas meal with Grand-maman Diane and fam.
Whew, more to come...

Monday, December 28, 2009

The cousins, minus little Cousin It ;)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Pyjamas...
T'was the night before Christmas...

Christmas Morning just before diving in.

The aftermath!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Gagnon family!

We didn't get around to sending Christmas cards this year, so instead we decided to make a holiday video!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We just watched Goonies. Yes, the Steven Spielberg movie made in 1985. Marc saw it at the library on Sunday and HAD to have it. Poor Leo, he almost didn't make it through the whole thing - too much excitement, too many scary parts, and some scary imagery had him under a blanket, hopping around on my lap, and hiding behind the living room chair. Of course, each time I offered to go with him to his bedroom to read or play, he brushed me off and kept his eyes firmly stuck on the screen. At the end of the movie he was so relieved, we could see it all over his face. He says he liked the movie and he certainly really did enjoy some of the comedic parts but he quickly proclaimed that he doesn't want to see it ever again!

Last night's movie was my pick - Home Alone. That one also had a few scenes that had Leo under the blanket but not nearly as many as tonight's cinematic offering. The slapstick physical comedy was right on target for our family. We were laughing out loud, cheering, and sometimes even groaning when the robbers were dealing with the wrath of Macaulay Culkin.

Tomorrow night Clara will be at a sleepover so I don't know what movie we'll watch then. There is a very good possibility that Leo will try to convince Marc to play a Star Wars video game instead of another movie or, he'll suggest one of the Star Wars films. It is not like he's seen those a dozen times already!

Monday, December 21, 2009

We've come out on the other side of our first crazy weekend of Christmas break! It has been a busy 48 hours full of good times with friends and family. Our holiday party was wonderful as always. I love seeing so many friends all in one place and at one time. Of course, it got pretty intense for a while but that is to be expected with a whack of big kids hopped up on sugar!

Clara and Leo were so helpful with party planning this year. I can really measure time passing by this annual event, they change so much in the space of 12 months.

Yesterday we walked away from the-disaster-that-is-our-house and went to a multi-generational service at church. Clara and Leo took part by singing Here We Come a Wasailing and Little Drummer Boy. The four of us stood to act out 2 turtle doves in a very fun rendition of Twelve Days of Christmas. After the service we stuck around for a community lunch that was delicious (made even more delicious by the fact that I didn't have to make it). We were home just in time for a nice nap and then it was off again to Papa T and Cathy's for a meal and a Christmas concert at Papa T's new church.

Busy days I tell ya!

Clara learned the value of a nap this weekend as she very reluctantly fell asleep on Sunday afternoon. Leo ended up just playing quietly during the rest period so he was out for the count by 9pm. However, the well rested lady of the house was then able to stay up late to hang out with her parents, which seems to be something you desire when you are 7 :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas VACATION!!!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wow, how can it only be 1pm??? I'm exhausted. Today is particularly cold so I decided for the sake of our extremities to take Leo to school on the sled this morning. It was the right decision - the wind chill is brutal. Once i got home the plan was to take the car to the garage to get the winter tires installed (finally), pick up money for Ashley's kijiji purchase, then come home and wait for the delivery while finishing up the kid's teacher's gifts.

Things did not go exactly as I'd anticipated when I couldn't even get the car OUT of the darned garage! I spent some time chipping away at the ice and packed snow and tried again - still burning rubber and me not on the street. One of the old guys from across the street opened his window yelled that I'd get out if I gunned it up the hill. I just couldn't do it - I'm new at all this. By now it was time to go to the bank so I headed off. I got home just in time to receive Ashley's new bike and a call about another delivery (Santa visited a bit early) so I had to wait around for awhile before attempting the car extraction again.

When I finally made it outside again and was preparing myself for attempt number three, the garage door opened and a nice friendly neighbor pulled in. I decided to hop out and ask for help. I'm so glad I did. He drove my car out (spinning wheels and all) and I thanked him profusely trying not to look like a complete goof in the process. So now, I just have to get the teacher gifts done and the million other things I'd hoped to get accomplished today. Tonight is Clara's school holiday spectacle and community dinner. It should be lots of fun. Pictures to come (I hope).

Wish me luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday baking has officially begun! Thanks to Jayne and Karen, three baked goods have been checked off my list for the Christmas Party here on Saturday. Now I've got to keep up the momentum. Usually I try to bake a batch of something every day, we'll see how that goes, this week is getting busier and busier.

Tomorrow is Leo's MRI. It is his last follow up test after the seizure he had in August. I don't expect anything to show up that will cause us concern; I really trust the neurologist when he says this test will provide one last assurance that Leo is fine. The challenge will be fasting until the 11:15 appointment time. I hope he sleeps in past Clara's breakfast time, that will make things much easier I think.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wow, what a busy weekend. Church today for the kids and I then Clara had a play date with Ruby while Leo went to a birthday party - another all girl birthday party. I'm not sure how he's racking in all these invites but this is not the first time Leo has been the only boy at a little girl's party. The birthday girl's Mom told Marc how important it was to her daughter that Leo be invited. I guess Leo's experience having a big sister is paying off for him already, he obviously knows how to befriend little ladies!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Its been an extremely busy 24 hours... so much so that all I can muster is a little quote from Leo this evening while we were decorating the tree:

"This is lots of work. We're like the elves that work with Santa!"

The Arc en Ciel bazar was a great success today and last nights bookclub was such a lovely, relaxed evening with friends. Mike babysat all 4 kids at our house so that I could attend. The deal was PS3 and chocolate chip cookies in exchange for kid duty!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Olympic torch relay went up Saint Laurent Blvd this evening. Marc suggested we go see it. As he put it, it is one of those things that you only get to see a few times in your life - we both remember standing outside in McMasterville in 1988 watching the torch pass by our high school.

So, off we went with a thermos of hot chocolate and two cups. It was cold and the wait seemed kinda long when Leo was asking every 30 seconds if it was going to be here soon. But, after about 30 police cars with lights flashing we saw a spot of fire moving up the street. Apparently it was a Quebecois comedian that was carrying the torch when it went by our little spot on the street, of course his name didn't mean a thing to me and I'm afraid I've already forgotten it.

waiting with hot chocolate

waiting while being distracted by hot chocolate

The flame!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snow, snow, snow!!! It is here and it makes me happy - for a few hours anyway.

Watching the flakes fall while tucked away at home hanging out with Leo was perfect. We put together a puzzle, did some colouring, made a crock pot dinner (Leo thought the raw beef was dégueulasse but he smiled the whole time he was holding it), and baked chocolate chip cranberry cookies. When it was time to go meet Clara after school we were excited to get bundled up in our full snow gear.

The walk was slow and I had to tug the boy along but once Clara was safely picked up we were all able to amble home slowly. Clara collected little icicles and Leo cleaned off the sides of parked cars.

When we finally made it home I reached out the shovels and we got to work clearing our front stairs as well as part of the driveway and several of our neighbors' entrances as well. Clara was determined to clear our downstairs' neighbor's entry way which is no small feat since it requires throwing snow out of their sunken terrace! Of course, my determined girl did it all on her own with not a bit of help from me - that stubborn streak certainly has its advantages. Sometimes Clara reminds me of a certain middle sister when she gets that determined look on her face ;)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Today has been a good day.
  1. I strung my brand new, and oh-so-cool solar powered Christmas lights on the front stairs.
  2. I got the grocery shopping done so I won't have to run to the store during tomorrows predicted snowstorm
  3. I hung out with Ann Marie and borrowed clothes from her.
  4. I had a HUGE bowl of seafood noodle soup for lunch.
  5. We skipped homework and left the tv OFF in favour of making paper snowflakes this afternoon.
  6. The oh-so-cool solar powered lights WORKED. We have a very festive stairway.
  7. I did not take the bait and rise to the attitude of my 7-year old. Remaining calm really does work!!
  8. Said 7 year-old was really very pleasant to be around once we'd established that we are friends and not enemies.
  9. I think I've secured some winter tires for the new car!

Monday, December 07, 2009

We watched the season finale of The Amazing Race this evening. It is just about the only "grown up" tv show the kids watch. The stress of the last leg of the race just about killed Clara and Leo, they were so excited and the team in the lead kept switching. Leo was literally rocking and bouncing on the couch beside Marc. At one point Marc suggested Leo try to stay still. Leo's reply: "but I need to pee!!!" Silly boy, we were watching pre-recorded TV, we could have hit pause 20 minutes earlier and saved him some significant discomfort.

Now that our family TV show is over, we'll be able to catch a few Christmas movies and shows on TV. I haven't looked at the schedule yet, I hope I haven't missed all the good ones already. What movies and specials will you be watching this holiday season?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I braved the crowds downtown today. I won't be doing that again this year. I looked at everything I needed to see and bought a few things. Everything else I need to buy for the holidays will either be purchased through a click of my mouse or locally in the neighborhood.

Clara and Leo spent the afternoon at home with Marc playing video games and building with Lego. In fact, they all had Lego shooting devices in hand when I got home. Apparently they'd been inspired by the story in the news about a dude who had a Lego gun at work. As the story goes, dude was showing his geeky purchase of a Lego gun to some coworkers when someone saw through the window what looked like a REAL, and very frightening weapon. They did what any concerned citizen would do (I hope) and called the police. Next thing he knew, the SWAT team burst into dude's office and handcuffed him. It was quickly sorted out and verified that the gun was indeed made of Lego.

Marc and the kids were curious to see how realistic their creations could be.... hence, all the brightly coloured shooters upon my return.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I made both kids new rice bags to heat up and take to bed with them. Clara's has a bit of lavender in it which she loves. Leo's has no scent added but that doesn't stop him from shoving it to his nose, breathing in deeply and saying "mmm rice pudding!"

Thursday, December 03, 2009

As usual, Leo took his sweet time walking to school this morning, but he looked so darned cute in his rain-suit and froggy umbrella that I couldn't have cared less. We puddle jumped and sang The Ants Go Marching as loud as we could while trying to drown out the sounds of the pouring rain. In the end we got to school half an hour late. Oh well, it seems you can get away with stuff like that when you are in pre-maternelle!

After school Leo and I built a Christmas tree, a Santa, two elves, and a sleigh out of duplo. Clara was playing at a friend's house so the boy and I were able to really get down to the business of building with no interruptions. We don't get very many opportunities to play alone together anymore it really was a special treat.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

he kids started working on a little project for the the Arc-en-Ciel bazar this evening. They made holiday cards with nothing but pads of coloured ink, their thumbs and a fine tip pen. Last year we did the same project for our own holiday cards but unfortunately our card list was longer than our energy. That means if you got a cute fingerprint art card from us last year consider yourself lucky. To everyone else, sorry :( This year, I figured it would be more fun to make them without the pressure of a mailing deadline. Wanna see a couple?
Two of Clara's creations

In other news, we are now owners of an automatic car. I know, I know, most people would say this is a downgrade from the old manual transmition but I'm thrilled!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

And so it begins... the countdown to Christmas is upon us. I've been so caught up in living our daily life that a whole month has gone by with not a note written nor a memory jotted down. I've decided to challenge myself this advent and write one new blog post per day. It will be my grown-up advent calender I guess. Gearing up for the Christmas holiday is always a fun and sometimes stressful. I'd like to limit the stress and focus on that warm fuzzy feeling Christmas brings to me. This challenge will help me.

Christmas is such a magical time for Clara and Leo. Their anticipation is building and despite Clara's knowing winks and nods they are both thrilled by the thought of Santa's upcoming visit.

Last night we hung our traditional felt Christmas tree advent calender. After some negotiation it was decided that Leo would hang the first pom pom in the morning. After that decision was made I surprised them with a second advent calender - a lego adevent calender! Each day they get to open a door and find a lego bonhomme or accessory. It was a total splurge but I just know it will be such a fun surprise every day.

This morning, both kids woke up early and in bright spirits (love it - even if it means they are kinda loud and pretty of overwhelming first thing in the morning) . Neither of them thought of the calenders until after they'd eaten their cereal. I managed to convince both of them to get dressed for school and as soon as they were done I found them on their knees squeezed tight together peering at the numbers on the lego calender. Très Cute!