Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Merry Christmas letter for YOU!

Dear __________(insert your name here).

Sending you this letter to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope you can look back on your year and see the many blessings God has given you. I pray that you are looking forward to the coming year with hope. Hope for love, joy, and peace for you, your family and our world.

We had kind of a crazy year with lots of changes. Sometimes things seemed overwhelming but I know that things happen for a reason. I know we are being blessed much and given a few, very small trials that help us to grow, and I am thankful for both.

The biggest blessing of 2008 arrived on February 8. Lanelle Margaret is a joy to us (especially since she has started sleeping better)! She is growing too fast lately. She is seeming closer to a toddler and less like a baby everyday. She is learning to communicate in her own special way, mostly yelling and grunting. She interacts and plays with her brother lots. She can get anywhere she wants to go.




Kellen has grown so much this year. He turned 2 on February 20. He has added too many words to his vocabulary to count. He is a funny, busy little man and is always making us laugh. He started going to a preschool this fall and loves it. He likes to be doing something and asks most mornings "mom, what we doing today?" He loves to get together with friends, although I won't say he always plays with them. He is learning though. Even in the -30 weather we've been having, he still asks to go to the beach at least once a week. I know that was one of his favorite things about the summer.


In October we moved into a bigger house and am thankful for the extra space. Because our previous house still has not sold this has been the source of some stress. We are praying hard that we can sell it and put this behind us. I do believe all things happen for a reason. Moving to this house definately seemed to be part of the reason Ian was given an opportunity to take a job with the town in November. How amazing to have him home every night and even for lunch!
I know it has done great things for Kellen already to have the security of having his dad around so much more. Both kids respond so much more to Ian as he is a part of their lives everyday.

In between all the big happenings, we were blessed by time with family & friends. As I looked back over the pictures I took during the year, I remembered how much fun we had spending time at the Bell farm, taking many pictures of Lanelle with her new cousin Ariana, planting gardens, surprising Grandma Lorna for her birthday, barbequing in Regina with Auntie Andrea and Crystal, visiting the Clevelands in Medora, helping with the Gravelbourg VBS, Thanksgiving dinner at the Koops, celebrating Grandma Mary's big birthday...

We are thankful for so many things. We know 2009 with be full of more blessings and hopefully some fun adventures. I'll be going back to work full time in my community nutritionist position with the tribal council in February. It will be fun to get back to some of the challenges that brings. I hope the kids adjust well and feel good that we have wonderful care lined up for them.
Blessings to you in 2009!
Love,
The Muirheads
P.S. I really do like reading others Christmas letters, but never seem to make the time to send one out. If you read this letter, know it was meant for YOU. Sorry it didn't arrive in your mail box. Please let me know if you got my Christmas letter!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reminders

We laughed lots while out skiing today. It was less than ideal, breaking our own trail. Fun and fresh. Reminder of why we choose to spend our lives together. Tonight he is doing snow removal all night. I don't like it. I'm so tired but can't sleep. A reminder of how life used to be. Alone at home most nights, but it never bothered me like this. A reminder to be thankful for being together and for this new life. It's so easy to get used to things as they are. Then we don't really see. I wonder what other things in my life could be so much better, but I'm so used to the way things are that I don't see.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tale from a technically challenged mom

So, I went to the bargain store in town tonight and it happened to be a midnight madness event. I picked this MP3 player up for a good deal I thought and then looked at reviews and going prices online to see if I actually wanted to keep it for the kids, and I thought I definately did. Kellen always wants one song repeated constantly when we are driving and I thought this would solve the problem. He can play it himself. Plus Lanelle loves to bounce whenever she hears any music and I always think I should play more music for them, which I thought this device would help with also... Anyhow, I forgot how technically challenged I am. To get this thing figured out, a song off a CD, into the right format and onto this #&$* thing took me 2 whole hours! I thought I'd have it filled with music over an hour ago. Now I'm so tired I'm going to bed, and I've only added ONE song. What was I thinking?? I know it should be simple, but I guess I'm super old fashioned. I like my music on a CD in my hand. I can handle that.

Anyhow, at least I finally have a Christmas present for Lanelle. Tomorrow I should be able to add more. I think I know what I'm doing now. Goodnight.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It was a wild party...

Kellen had his preschool Christmas party last night. As you can tell from Lanelle's hair that night...it must have been pretty crazy! They started the party at 5:30 at Echo Lodge and sang for the residents. Kellen did pretty good keeping up on some of the songs. Most of the other kids are 4, not 2. He at least showed his enthusiasm by clapping wildly after every song.



After the singing we moved next door for a big supper, Santa, goody bags, sugar cookies, candy canes, a magic show (that was amazing!), then cake (cause the kids weren't wild enough already, sheesh!), a family craft, and presents for the kids. I think it was almost 9 when we got home. Quite the party I thought for preschoolers. Ian and I pretty much did the craft on our own, since Kellen was busy running around in his crazed sugar state. We decorated a wire tree (lights and every kind of christmas decoration you could image) and were quite happy to hang it in our front window and light it up so now we are showing the neighbours that we do have some holiday spirit!





Thanks for all the comments on the previous "down on the holiday season" post. Glad to know I'm not the only one who feels that way sometimes and thanks for the encouragements! I haven't listened to the song yet Laurie, but I will look for it soon! Since we are almost done with the shopping, I feel much more excited about Christmas.




My wonderful singer

video

Kellen really loves to sing, but he doesn't like to perform on command. He let me video him so I thought I'd better share, cause he probably won't do it live for you. Sorry for the multiple videos, but I really couldn't pick. I thought they were all so great.

video

Singing "daddy's song" as he calls it. A folk song - whistling gypsy - in case you can't understand him.

video

This is part of his bedtime song that he calls the moon song. Sorry if you get dizzy when he proceeds onto "Bob," it made me dizzy.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Holiday Spirit Anyone?

I don't think I have much. I can't say that I'm excited. I'm thinking more about what needs to be done and all the things I haven't done yet. Our neighbours are giving us a hard time about being the only ones without lights on the house. My thoughts are more about the waste of power and the time to put them up. I really hate shopping, so that part of Christmas is hard for me. Is there something wrong with me? Do I have to like all those traditions to have holiday spirit? I don't want my kids to have memories of mom being grouchy.

I wish the holiday season was less about doing things and more about being. Wouldn't it be nice just to be able to look forward to being together with family? I'm going to try hard though to just look forward to the things I like about it. Mostly time with family. I hope my kids have great memories about time with family and cousins, like i did.

After Christmas, I hope I have more pictures like these... Ariana and Lanelle pulling out all Grandma'a towels.

This week I hope we get a tree set up and have fun memories from doing it. I hope I get some baking done and we can enjoy some Christmas music and hot chocolate with the fresh goodies. And I hope I get inspired and excited about the season. Even with the busyness and traditions, I hope I can teach my kids what Christmas is really about.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fresh Snow

We woke up to fresh snow. Kellen of course wanted to make a snowman and couldn't grasp my explaination of why it wasn't the right kind of snow. In spite of the million "why's??" I enjoyed the feeling a new white world gives me. I love the freshness.

Our new life is feeling fresher all the time. We've all adjusted although I might not say we are all well adjusted. Lanelle is being a bum. She woke up when I went to bed last night at 11 and was up until 2am. I would have gladly given her away. Ian disappeared to the spare bed in the basement at about 11:30. I was up at 6:30 cutting the fresh bread from the breadmaker for Ian. I think I snarled something at him on my way back to bed when he asked if I'd buttered a piece of it for him. Some mornings I do better than others at getting up to have breakfast with him. Not even the smell of fresh bread made me want to stay awake and eat with him today. Hoping this might be one of the mornings the kids would sleep in a bit didn't help. About 2 minutes after I heard Ian leave, Kellen was awake. Two minutes after that, Lanelle was awake. I could have cried I wanted more sleep so badly. It's not the vision I had of our new life. I thought I'd be able to get more sleep. Taking turns with a sleepless baby. Yeah, right! A nice breakfast together every morning!?!

Of course, we should have it together by lunch time, right? Zucchini cream soup sounded good for lunch, but half way into it I realized I had no evaporated milk in the cupboard. Load up the kids to run to the store. Lanelle's grouchy when we get home. Can't seem to get the soup finished, trying to feed her, getting antsy knowing Ian will walk through the door soon. He makes enough of bitter comment about being hungry and just making himself a pb sandwich that I get frustrated. Hmm..so nice to all be together, eh?

But we do love our new life. We all think its wonderful. I guess the "perfect" picture I had is replaced by a more realistic one. And there wasn't too much pain involved. I see that the kids are responding very differently to Daddy. I sure enjoyed being able to run out to spin class at the gym last night. It was so nice to talk about the day in the hot tub last night and share stories about Kellen's antics and Lanelle's new things instead of me relaying them to Ian over the phone. Too many wonderful things to list them all. It's a good life.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More...and the downstairs.

Down the hallway...3 rooms down there and a big furnace room/laundry room.
Don't bother making fun of our tiny tv. We've heard it all.


It's looks big and empty now, but it only takes a few minutes for the floor to be covered with toys.


So, we've got lots of room. Visit us anytime.


More...of the upstairs

I love the big bathroom, but really can't wait to paint it...
You can tell it was built in the 70s. Nice mirror at the end of the hallway!

Some people around here have said to me, "doesn't that house have a small kitchen?" It seems huge to me and its more than adequate.


Someday I'll buy a sofa table and get the lamps up off the floor behind the couch.




Yes, there are empty cupboards and drawers!!



Finally...

Here's the new to us place. I guess I haven't really wanted to take pictures yet because it doesn't look like my place yet. But, it's beginning to feel more like home and will a lot more when we do some painting. Think of these as "before" pics.
I love the big entry way. No one is standing right in my kitchen when they step into my house now.
I love the layout and how the basement doesn't feel so much like a basement. I like how I can hear the kids playing downstairs. It's got a great open feel.
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Moderation

I tell Ian all the time to be more moderate. I need to learn that lesson when it comes to reading. I dropped Kellen off at preschool this morning and Lanelle fell asleep on the way home and is still sleeping. I had a list of housework that was going to be accomplished. But, I saw my latest read Megiddo's Shadow by Arthur Slade (who is from Saskatoon and the book has won many awards). I couldn't help myself and I picked it up. Setting a time limit in my head, which in the end did me no good. I need to go pick up Kellen in 5 minutes and not one bit of housework was done.

Earlier this summer it was anything written by Jodi Picoult. Ian has banned me from starting another of her books because I know no moderation when I have a book in hand.

Another great book I read lately was Not Buying It: My year without shopping by Judith Levine (I think I got the right last name?). If you want to want less but find it hard, read it. It was perfect timing to read it just when we moved into our new house. It sure seemed like we needed a lot of new things. It has helped me to be content with what I have. However, I still really enjoyed buying a new pair of jeans last week. It's help me enjoy moderation in our consuming society.

I've wanted to tell people about that book for awhile and decided to finally do it even if it is short and sweet. Gotta run.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking a Minute




Seems that lately I've forgotten to take a minute and look at all the blessings in my life. Don't know how I can forget to do that when the 2 biggest blessings in my life are constantly demanding my attention. Oh, wait they ARE the reasons I forget to count blessings.
Kellen has been constantly asking WHY lately. I understand on a whole new level now why parents complain about this. The occasional "why" is really cute. But the same "why" 50 times a day is truly driving me crazy. I tried explaining every way possible why daddy works. I tried ignoring. I tried distractions. I even sent him to sit on his bed when he asked for the 51st time after many warnings to quit. Driving to Regina yesterday I heard many whys. Why we going to see Grandma? Why we drive on this road? Why that building there? Why that truck driving? Why he doing that? Why we drive on the train tracks? Why we drive on THIS road? If he doesn't quit soon, he'll be asking why is mother is crazy.
Anyhow, they are both sleeping right now and I was sorting pictures. Seeing them was making me feel so lucky and I realized I have been letting myself get too frustrated lately with them. I just wish there was more time in the day...more time for me, more time to do all the things that I want to and think I should do. I think if there was more time I wouldn't get so frustrated at times. But there's not, so I am committing to having more realistic expectations and enjoying life more as it is. I'll try to remember Roberta's "perfect" sentiments. I need to remember that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Recipe #7?: Peanut Butter Flaxseed Cookies

I've had several people get this recipe. Since Shannon requested it now too, I said I'd put it up here. These cookies are popular and addicting. That's a warning.

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1. Combine flour, flax, baking soda, salt
2. Cream together sugars and butter. Beat in vanilla, egg, and peanut butter until smooth. Fold in flour mixture.
3. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 min.

I should give credit to the Dietitians of Canada for this recipe. You can find it in their cookbook: Simply Great Food: 250 quick, easy & delicious recipes. I don't recommend cookbooks usually, but this one I would. It's one of my most used.

I did something out of the ordinary today. I went to a writing/cooking workshop for the afternoon. Food and stories do go together. I know I'd enjoy putting the 2 of them together more. Maybe you will see some of it here, or maybe it will just be another thing I will think about doing.

Enjoy the cookies. They are amazing, I promise. I'm going to relax in the hot tub and hear about Ian's little moose hunting trip.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The new life...

It's almost been a week with the new life. We're loving it. Breakfast in the morning together before the kids even are up. Then lunch all together and we say "see you in a couple of hours!" The evenings are flying by, instead of dragging by as I used to feel. Ian says he likes the new job. A little slower pace and he really likes the other guys. I can tell cause he comes home happy and even tells a story or two about his day. When he used to work with grouchy guys he came home grouchy and wouldn't ever talk about his day. He's done lots of different things already so he won't be getting bored.

But, it is a change and its still an adjustment. I feel like I've lost time in my day somehow. I thought would be able to be more organized, but so far I've found the opposite. I guess we will have to find a new groove. It's not just my show around here anymore. I might have to cook meat more often instead of lentils or beans. I might have to get used to putting shoes and jackets in the closet everytime I walk through the porch. Not that I want to paint a bad picture. But the reality is it's still a big adjustment. Ian's having to get used to trying to sleep through Lanelle's many night awakenings, which I hear she's up AGAIN!! AHH.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New

Lots of new things in my world. Playing around with the look of the blog after getting the idea that it needed a new title. It was a year or two ago that I remember saying to Ian in complete frustration that nothing works out well for us. I think I knew that was never true, but I was really feeling it somedays. Lately though I feel our cup is overflowing with blessings. If it wasn't almost 1am I'd go into more detail. But I can hardly think straight after the feat of actually achieving this new look on the blog. I will take time to share the biggest news. Ian gave his 2 weeks notice to his work this morning. He has a new job starting with the Town of FQ. It will completely change our lives. As this has all unfolded the last 2 weeks, I have been constantly thinking of new ways this will affect us. It is going to be amazing. So when you stop by here, I'll be sharing the new blessings as our cup continues to overflow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING NOVEMBER 6!!!! AND BIG PREVIEW GIVEAWAY!!!!

GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING NOVEMBER 6!!!!
AND BIG PREVIEW GIVEAWAY!!!!

It would be very cool to win these beautiful clothes for Lanelle.

Thanks Chelsey for the heads up. Hope you win.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thanksgiving snow





Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We did. Enjoyed the snow. Kellen was so excited about that and the new boots daddy bought him. He mostly enjoyed the snowmen, although he knocked down the one I made with him. I don't think he could have knocked down Ian's. We had so much fun at the Koops' and enjoyed an absolutely delicious turkey dinner.

Things that make me smile.

Grandpa Gerry visited us and we made a special stack of pancakes with our chokecherry syrup and saskatoons. Both things make me smile. Lanelle did not eat her stack, just in case you were concerned, she borrowed mine for fun.
Grandpa Bill also visited and Lanelle fell asleep on him - with no crying. Amazing. I smiled again. She loves him.


This smile can't help but make everyone smile, I think. Lanelle crawls now and is happy about that. She also likes to stand on things, but she doesn't quite have the hang of that.

The space we are enjoying in our new house is also making me smile. I should take pictures soon, but you would still have to ignore the boxes and empty walls.

Preschool gym night started again tonight for the winter. Kellen loves it and Lanelle enjoyed watching everyone run.

It was a rainy cold depressing day today, but we were invited over for a play time at friends place who knew it would be a long day for Kellen and his mommy without a change of scenery. I am so thankful for friends that make me smile.

Kellen started at a preschool this week and loved it. There were no tears. I was told "sorry, but he didn't miss you at all, mom!" He sang "autumn leaves are falling down" the rest of the day. And he stops often to point out his "punkin" craft on the fridge. I will have a couple hours twice a week that will be more productive. So many reasons to smile.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How to carry your baby on your hip.

I was looking for ideas on how to install a baby gate at the top of the stairs where we have a round banister. This caught my eye. Maybe it's because I should have gone to bed hours ago, but i found it quite funny. Good thing I stopped to read it. Now I know how to carry my baby on my hip...tricky.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fabulous Fall

We are having a fabulous fall. I tell myself such positive things everyday. I will not complain, I will not, I will not...

Our garden harvest was great. Here's Lanelle with a sampling of it. I have been pureeing tomatoes all morning to freeze (and I'm not complaining about it.)
Aren't these babies the cutest?! Ariana with the eyebrows and Lanelle with the almost no eyebrows. They liked their tub time together, although Ariana could have done without the hair pulling. I think it was August that I was at the farm. Since then I've tried to stay at home and enjoy the last days of my home, which are pretty much over now. I dreaded that day at one time and am now very much looking forward to it. Mostly for the dishwasher. Only 4 more days.
The fall pictures were tricky this year with Kellen running around and Lanelle eating leaves...and then the camera battery died. I'm not complaining though. I was pretty impressed that I got as many good ones as I did.

I love my kids. They are growing up so much. Lanelle loves music and bounces to it with such excitement. She will sit for an hour and play with toys. She is so easy going! Kellen is potty trained now. He has been listening amazingly well lately. He is sleeping amazingly well and weaned himself from our bed to his own for the whole night. They are so easy to love!

I haven't posted in a while, because i only seemed to want to complain. I'm doing much better now. I'm learning and growing I suppose as much as my kids. I know God is blessing us, even though its not always the way or in the time frame I would like. We are having a fab fall!
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