Christmas Prep

I’ve been in the Christmas mood lately. I think it must have started when the kids started wanting to hear Christmas songs when dancing with daddy. This is from Monday night, but they have listened to them a lot the past week or two. (If you missed yesterday’s videos, check them out.)

That got me going and I started thinking about what kind of prep I needed to do. For some time now I wanted to get us all some nice Christmas stockings but first of all, they are hard to find, and second, when you do find some, they aren’t worth the price as far as the quality goes. So I got inspired to make my own.
The day the idea came I put it to work. I dug out a thick white bedcover that I knew I would never use on the kids beds to use for the main stocking part, some red cloth for trim, and newspaper for the pattern. Within minutes I had 5 stockings cut out and 5 red trims. That was the quick part. I don’t have a sewing machine so I am doing all of the stiching by hand.
As you can see, I cut them on the fold to save myself some stitching. At this time, two stockings are in this state.

 Two others have the trim completed. The red beads were on a string so I just overstitched them on, but the sequins and beads I had to do one at a time. It was both tedious and fun.
And here is the first one I completed. I love beadwork so I am using that for most of the decorations, but I am also going to try some applique. The kids want certain pictures on theirs and it will take some effort on my part but I hope they will come out ok. This one with the snowflakes is mine.
Other Christmas prep that I have in mind is to try an experiment with fruitcake cooked on the stove, rum balls, maybe some Nanaimo bars, and peppermint vodka, using the pieces of candy canes I saved from what mom sent us last year. Check out the link for this great idea.
On Monday Logan had Diwali celebrations at school, so he got a chance to wear his kurta again. It is only the second time he has worn it and it is already tight. But at least he has gotten some use out of it.

Goofy boy.

Happy New Year!

Yep, I’ve been gone a long time. I finally have my energy back so I have been catching up on work that I had to put off for a long time. I’m scrubbing the house, organizing, etc. Yesterday I went through all the kids clothes, got rid of everything that was stained (lots of it), too small, or otherwise unusable and then pulled out the stuff I’ve been saving for them. Some of the clothes have been stored for over a year and just now fit them. I took them shoe shopping on new years eve so their wardrobes are just about complete.
We had a quiet Christmas and New Years, no visitors or parties, just relaxing together and not doing much of anything, only the necessary. On the 1st Glad had to work so I took all 3 kids to the mall. It was crazy there, packed out, but we enjoyed being out as we are mostly home.
People stare at me a lot now, more then when I just had two, more than when I was pregnant and walking with two by the hand. When I have the baby in the carrier, Lila in the stroller (when she is too tired to walk), and Logan holding on, they really stare. I was always taught that staring is impolite, but here it is part of life. Everyone does it. Good thing I’m used to it and can ignore it.
So now that I am feeling much better, I have to get back into my usual routien of work. It isn’t easy. I got used to not doing much and could enjoy that kind of life but, well, I can’t take it easy for ever. I got myself a daily planner and write down every thing I have to do. It’s the only way I can remember things and make sure nothing is forgotten. I’m forcing myself to get up early again. It’s time for action.

Ok, I officially hate Blogger cause it freeezes up every time I try to upload photos. Any that I do get up take a lot of time to post. I have no idea what the problem is. I will try uploading one more time but if it doesn’t work then there won’t be any pics. (Ok, Blogger, you have redeemed yourself, this time.)

Christmas Day

Family Photos and More

So we tried taking our family photos at home this year – with no one behind the camera. It was adventurous, to say the least. The kids didn’t want to get dressed, then Lila made a huge fuss over having to leave her book and join us on the couch. That is why she doesn’t look happy, and it’s why she is holding the bear. I thought it looked better than the book.

This is her “I’m mad and I want you to know it” face. She was saying no as I took the pic.

This is a nice one of Glad and Logan, I think.

My girlies. Lila is 19 months and Scarlett is 5 weeks old.

I guess they didn’t come out too bad.

Well, Christmas is just around the corner and I am not prepared at all. I realised that the gifts are still sitting in the suitcase under my bed, waiting to be wrapped. I don’t have much time to get around to it. I want to make some treats too but also haven’t gotten around to that yet.
Last night I barely slept between 12 and 4:30 a.m. Both Lila and Scarlett kept waking up, one after the other. Lila wanted so much water and Scarlett nursed, burped, filled her diaper twice, and made sure I had to be awake. The life of a mommy…sometimes it makes me want to scream, or just ignore them. I can actually lie there and go back to sleep with the baby crying next to me when I’m really tired. Can’t wait until they are older and can sleep all night. Lila usually does, but last night was a conspiracy and I was the victim.

All I want for Christmas is a good nights sleep.

Attempting to Get into the Christmas Spirit

Yesterday I took the kids for an outing to a hotel that was hosting a children’s Christmas event. They had put up a large house, made to look like a gingerbread house, and they were letting the children decorate it with frosting and candy. We got there late (not my fault, honest) so my kids missed that part but they had snacks, played with balloons, checked out the decoration, etc.
Lately Logan has become afraid of loud noises, namely anything that sounds like it is exploding – firecrackers, the pressure cooker, and balloons mainly. If he hears any of them, he screams and covers his ears and won’t uncover them without a lot of convincing that the noise won’t hurt him. When we first arrived yesterday, he was happy with the balloons and took one, but as soon as he heard one pop, he started freaking out, running away, covering his ears, telling me he didn’t like them, etc. It was a little hard to handle as he is so loud and refuses to calm down. I was feeding Lila and trying to hold on to him to keep him from running off, which he kept doing. He just wanted to get away from the balloons. The event that I thought would be so much fun for him became something he hated. If it wasn’t for the delicious chocolate brownies I might have gotten stressed out, hee hee.
No one in this fancy hotel was concerned about him disturbing guests so I didn’t have to worry that he was going to cause us trouble. I did have to keep a close eye on him as he kept trying to get away from the balloons by heading for the kitchen, the elevators, the stairs and the front door! It only got difficult at the end when the baby wanted to nurse and was crying as I tried to get Lila away from the gingerbread house (she was snacking on the candy that had been stuck on it) and saw Logan outside the front of the hotel. It’s a good thing there were others there who I knew; one of them caught Logan and brought him back.

Proof that he sometimes likes balloons – and loves chocolate. He gets that from me.

The gingerbread house.

Trying to eat a snack and keep his ears covered at the same time.

Checking out the tree.

He kept his ears covered for so long, even while climbing the stairs.

Rain and Christmas Musings

It’s still raining, heavily. Parts of the city flood when it rains like this and for sure tomorrows paper will be full of stories about it. With the rain has come cold weather. I like cold weather but am no longer used to it. Today’s low was supposed to be 21 degrees, not factoring in wind chill. For us, that is freezing, considering the average year round temperatures hover in the mid-30’s and up over 40 in the summer.
While I have dressed the children in layers and am chasing them to keep their socks on, my crazy husband goes around the house in a t-shirt and shorts and sleeps with the fan on. Yes, on low, but still on. I’ve shut all the windows that can be closed to try to warm the house up, and I sleep with a sweater on.
(You Canadians who are reading this had better stop laughing at me. I am not used to cold any more.)

Something I’ve had to adjust to living in India is the fact that Christmas is not a major holiday here like it is in other countries. While malls and big chain stores might decorate and use it as another time for selling, christians are the only ones who actually celebrate it. That means that most shops will not be decorated, hardly anyone decorates their houses, so there just isn’t that same Christmassy feel in the air like in places where everyone is celebrating it.
I’m having a hard time getting the feel in the house. I play Christmas songs but that is about all I can do. We can’t really afford a tree or decorations this year. It is the first year that it will just be our family and I would really like to make it special so I have to look into some low-budget ideas for it.
Logan and I put up our Christmas countdown poster from last year and every day he reminds me to take a number off, but he keeps taking all the numbers off. I’ve glued them back on several times. We have some Christmas movies to watch together, and I’ve been putting on more Christmas videos for the kids, anything to remind them of the season.
I’ll let you know how we get along.

Some Things I Remember About Christmas Over the Years

I remember…

-Sitting under the tree and being mesmerized by the lights and decorations. I never got tired of spending hours staring at the tree.

-Wanting to peek on my gifts and being torn between peeking and knowing in advance, or having the surprise on Christmas morning.

-The smell of a fresh pine in the house.

-The smell of snow in the air. I love it.

-Enjoying decorating a tree. To me, decorating a tree properly is creating a masterpiece, and I love doing it. I would even undo it if I found it getting too messed up by the younger kids and redo it.

-The taste of fruitcake. I could eat it every day in December without getting tired of it.

-Performing with my younger brothers and sister, and sometimes other children. We would plan simple dance routines and then perform them at retirement homes, malls, schools, restaurants, events, etc.

-The year I sewed costumes for our dance team. For the girls, plaid skirts and vests, worn over a green top. For the boys, the vests with white shirts and black pants. (I only sewed the plaid stuff.) I wasn’t sure exactly how much material I needed and ended up with too much. And the thread? I bought so many spools of red thread that I still have 3 or 4 of them in my sewing bag right now.

-The year I was living in Equador with a family who didn’t buy gifts or put up a tree. I missed it so much. I actually went shopping on Christmas day for some gifts for myself so I could feel like I had gotten something.

-Our cats climbing the tree and knocking it over. We would hear the tree crash to the floor, the sound of screaming kitties running for their lives, and we’d rush to rescue the tree and yell at any cat still in sight.

-The year in Mexico when we bought a tree that was already dried out as there were no fresh ones available. (They had to be imported.) We spent the whole season sweeping up needles and by the end the tree was basically just a stick.

-Christmas shopping. I find it exciting, finding just the right thing for each person, something you know they will enjoy. I enjoy even more shopping for my kids and I wish I could get them more stuff than I do, just because they are my kids.

-Wrapping gifts. I always thought I’d love to spend the Christmas season wrapping gifts at a gift-wrapping stall, because there is so much opportunity to be creative.

-The taste of candy canes. It is one of the things I miss the most as I can’t get them here.


I’m back! Did you miss me? Good, cause I’ve got lots of stuff for you.
We actually came back on Tuesday afternoon but I am only now getting the time to sit and write. We had a fun visit to Glad’s mom. I’ll put details of the visit in my next post after I get the pics sorted out.

Yesterday as I was taking the Christmas decorations down, I discovered one of life’s little mysteries – why is it that the tree that fits perfectly in the box when you buy it, that slim rectangle box, never fits when you want to put it back??? I don’t know how many times this tree has been used, but I had to fight with it to get it back in. The box is covered in packing tape and is falling apart in places and would probably be happier in the garbage dump, but the tree has to be stored so back in the box it goes. I had to sit on it and squeeze it with my legs to get it closed, then I wrapped the tape around the box in one continuous strip. The tree is now mummified and will remain so until next December. Lets hope by next year the tree will have shrunk a little so that it will fit next time it has to be packed.

What else is new? Well, Lila is standing so well. She prefers to stand when being put down. She is also now totally crazy about eating solids. I found that she doesn’t like “baby food”, things like yoghurt and banana (which Logan loved). She prefers meat, small pieces mashed with my fingers. At nana’s house, she ate mutton, fish, chicken, rice, and any veggie I could mash. I don’t make special food for her, mainly because the quantity she eats at a time is about a tablespoon, and she is perfectly happy with table food. I just make sure to rinse the meat if it is in a spicy sauce, but I haven’t totally shied away from giving her mild spice. Last night Glad made a dish with kidney beans and lots of different veggies, served over rice. When he cooks, there will be spices of some sort, including fresh chilies. That particular dish was mild so I mashed up a bit of everything and she loved it. At every meal now I just mash a tiny bit of what we are eating and she hasn’t had a problem with anything. She also likes sweets and had cookies and fruitcake over Christmas. This morning she ate french toast. I can’t keep up with all the new foods she is willing to try. But she still won’t touch banana and yoghurt. (Just so you know, she is still primarily breastfeeding and I plan to keep it up for at least another 6 months or so.)

Until my pics are sorted out, here are some from my sister. She gave me permission to post pics of her kids, so here they are.

Aren’t they adorable? (Sonny, Jacen, Keith holding Michelle, and Brian.)

Anaik and Michelle. Michelle is exactly one week older than Lila. (Hey, Anaik, Michelle looks just like you here – the hair color and the eyes especially.)

Christmas Day

Lila had just woken up so she was groggy.

When he saw the gifts that morning, he thought they were new decorations. He picked up a few, then left them and went to play with his puzzle, not realizing that he would get to open them soon.
He played with the gifts until I showed him how to open them.

He loved the sticker picture dictionary.

Lila got a stacking ring set.

Trying out the lego. Lila is chewing on Logan’s milk cup.

He decided he liked Lila’s gift better than his.

She loved it too.

He loves Winnie the Pooh. (No, he didn’t make it. I did. He has yet to learn how to make this kind of puzzle. He was taking it apart here.)

Glad’s gift from me. It has the Superman logo on the front.

What can I say? This is the man I live with.

Lila waking Logan after his nap.

Guess he wasn’t too pleased.

Christmas monkeys in real stockings.

The fruitcakes I made to give to our friends.


and after.

I should have taken one of them all wrapped up in paper and ribbon.

My Most Memorable Christmases

Ok, this is going to be a little time travel. I am going to recall some of my Christmases from times past. Sorry I can’t post pics of each year. Though I do have pics for most they are the old fashioned printed kind and we don’t have a scanner. Maybe next year.

1985 – The first one I remember well is the year I was 7. I remember the big tree in the living room, right in front of the large picture window. My mom helped me to sew my own stocking that year, since she was teaching me to sew. I think for the rest of the kids she used their own socks. Ha. She also watched the movie “Alice in Wonderland” with me. It was on t.v. and played over two nights. I remember sleeping under the tree with the other kids on Christmas eve, and trying to peek on my gifts when my mom wasn’t there. I would open just a small part, trying to see what it was, yet still wanting to be surprised. That was the year I got a kit that taught sewing, knitting, and embroidery. Mom taught me how to do all three, and over the years, I practiced and got good at them. Now I don’t have much time to sew or knit, but I used to really enjoy creating things like that.

1986 – I remember our first Christmas in Mexico when I was 8. We were living in a large house with several other large families, so instead of a mountain of gifts under the tree, each child received a bag full of small gifts.

1987 – The year I was 9 we couldn’t get a real tree since pines don’t grow in Mexico, so we had a small table-top tree. Now I realize that my mom probably got that one so that it could be put up high enough to be out of the reach of the little kids. I remember getting a set of knitting needles and a ball of yarn that year. I also remember buying my mom a necklace and seeing that she had already opened it and was wearing it when she had gone in her room to wrap our gifts instead of waiting to open it later.

1988 – The year I was 10 (still in Mexico) we somehow managed to get a real tree but since real trees weren’t common there, we couldn’t get a stand for it so we stuck it in a plant pot with dirt and all. That tree had a lot of homemade decorations on it, including strings of popcorn.

1990 – The year I was 12 we were back in Canada. I remember getting a large suitcase – a suitcase I still have to this day. It is all scratched up and banged up from my many travels, but I must say, Samsonite is the way to go. This one has lasted me so long and has never gotten broken. I now used it for when we travel anywhere with the kids. I just pack everyone’s stuff in it so that we don’t have to carry 4 bags.

1997 – The year I was in Equador for Christmas was the first I spent away from my family. I was 19 and had been living in Colombia. I was there on a tourist visa which was only good for 2 months. I had already renewed it once and a new law had been passed that said I couldn’t renew it again until the new year, so I had to leave the country. Since I still wanted to stay in Colombia, I went to Equador to pass the time until the new year. I was there 4 months. The couple I stayed with had 4 little boys and I would help take care of them. I think that was the first year I bought my own gifts. Mom had sent me some money and I remember going shopping for some clothes and shoes.

1998 – The next year I decided I wanted to visit my family in Canada for the holidays, so I did. At the time they were living in an old farm house that had only one bathroom and it was cold there.

1999 – The next Christmas, when I was 21, we were in Mexico again. We had just landed there only one month before so the house was still being set up. We didn’t have much but it was fun. We got a real tree (they had begun importing them from the states) but it was dry by the time we got it and the needles were falling off the tree, but we didn’t care. It was real and all that mattered to us.

2001 – The Christmas when I was 23 was the year when my sister had her first baby. He was about 3 weeks old on Christmas day, and we went out to see a lifesize manger scene in a park. My sister got permition from the guard to put her baby in the manger and take pictures. I remember buying him a bib that had an elephant face on it and the trunk was made to hold a pacifier. So cute.

2003 – The year I was 25 I had been in India for 6 months and needed to renew my visa, so I made a trip to Sri Lanka. I got to spend a few days on the beach and bought some Christmassy things there that are not available here and was back in time for Christmas day in India.

2004 – Then when I was 26, I went to Canada for a month to work on my long-term visa. I spent the month of December freezing because I was no longer used to the cold. I also got to visit with my brother who I hadn’t seen in years. He took me to his newly aquired farm that was heated with a wood stove. I spent a cold two days there but it was relaxing. Then we drove to his in-laws house and I got to meet his wife for the first time. I spent Christmas with them that year.

2005 – This was the year of the accident that I already wrote about earlier.

2007 – Logan was born in November of this year, so this was my first Christmas with a baby. He was so tiny and fragile, what with being premature and all, but he was cute and I was happy to have him.

2008 – Probably the first year I didn’t do any Christmas shopping. Ha. I wasn’t able to get out as I had been sick with some sort of flu. I had a fever and was quite weak for a week or so, and I was pregnant with Lila on top of it.

And this year? Well, Christmas day is tomorrow. So far I have done all my shopping with my kids in tow, Logan chose his own Christmas gifts, I have done more baking than last year – fruitcakes, rum balls, and lots of cookies, and it has been more relaxing, though I am tired due to lack of sleep. But I’m excited about tomorrow because I want to see the look on Logan’s face when he opens his gifts (I know he won’t remember that he chose them). This is Lila’s first Christmas too, so I plan on taking lots of pictures. I’ll post them afterwards.
So to one and all, Merry Christmas!

Does Santa Claus Exist?

Newspaper reprint

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 373 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.
Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. So, for each Christian household with a good child. Santa has around 1 / l000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house. (That’s really why it’s pointless to stay up and watch for him).
Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second – 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.
The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child has nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the flying reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with eight or even nine of them. Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch). 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance – this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.
Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 mps in .001 seconds would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 G’s. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315.015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he’s dead now!

Have a Merry Christmas!

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