Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

Dear Claire,
     What a year!  I feel like it flew by, and it really did.  You are doing so much in your fourth year of life that I can hardly keep up.  You learnt how to ice skate, can recite the Lord's Prayer, and navigate our DirecTV and Netflix with ease.  You still love to make up songs and now dances to go along with them.  Every Friday we take your cousins to dance class, which you can't do yet, but you practice the moves along with them while we wait out in the lobby.  You love makeup, dresses, and long hair.  You are our princess.
     You are also completely hyperactive.  You can't sit still and bounce around, always moving, always laughing.  I get frustrated sometimes and growl at you, but you are quick to apologize ("Sorry mummy,") and lean in for a hug.  When I screw up you ask me to say sorry to you, which is hard for me but I'm learning.  You like constant affection which is also hard for me, but I'm trying at that too.  You like to be up in my face, and you crack up and move in closer when I tell you that you've invaded my bubble.  So I'll say something like "this is NOT a game," and then we both crack up.  I can be in the worst mood, but you can always make it better.  You make ME better.
     I have tried to give you the independence you so crave for being a little four-year old baby.  But patience seems to come easier when I see how much you love learning.  You crack the eggs for breakfast, fill your own hot chocolate using the machine at the corner store, scan the groceries at self-check, load and unload the dishwasher, shower yourself with shampoo and everything, fold and put away laundry, and make your bed (and mine).  You still sleep with Daddy and me, but that's okay for now.  You tell us when you go to Kindergarten you'll start sleeping in your own bed.  Sure.
     You always kiss and hug us, you always want to hold hands, and I think Daddy gets jealous that you spend so much time loving me up.  But he sees that we have our own special bond that might possibly change someday - when you're a teenager and I ruin your life and you hate me and wish I were dead.  So until then he doesn't say anything and I begrudgingly let you into my personal space.
     Gigi spends every weekend with you.  She is the sister you never had and I hope you come to realize you can depend on her for the rest of your life.  She is your person, Claire.  Fiori spends weekends with you too, and you love the time you get to spend being a kid, and doing activities together, or even just nothing but laying around watching movies.  I love watching your relationship with these two blossom.
     You are gearing up to start Kindergarten this year, which I'm already having a hard time with.  But I vow to give the five of us the best summer we ever had, before our whole lives change once again.  And while I'm nervous for the road ahead, I'm so grateful to be able to watch you conquer every obstacle with grace and joy.  

I love you Darling Claire,

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Week

I set my alarm for 4 am to put Lea Clark, the doll that Santa was bringing for Claire, under the tree.  Sometimes she gets up in the middle of the night to come to our room and I didn't want her to see it coming down the hall.  Lucky, because that's exactly what she had done.  When I woke back up in the morning, I turned on the Christmas tree lights and ate/crumbled up the cookies left out for Santa, then woke up the girls.  The two older ones were dragging, and in the midst of the building excitement, Claire came and whispered in my ear that she just knew Santa had brought her the AG doll she asked him for.

The girls opened their presents from us, and their joint presents of games and nail polish, and the presents their aunties and uncles had sent from Vancouver, and the doll stuff Mike had bought for each of them.  It was thrilling.  So much so, I skipped church.  I couldn't imagine telling Claire she would have to wait 2 hours until I come home to do this.  Then we immediately went to my in-laws so the kids could open presents there, and then to my parents' house so I could eat brunch and the kids could jump on their new trampoline.

The girls knew I had the entire week off, so they came home with us and never left.  DP was hurting so he was home too.  It was a full house, and a mess of torn wrapping paper, packaging, and gifts, but we laid around, watched a lot of Netflix, and didn't care.  We ate junk and then I ran it off the next morning, then starting drinking wine after lunch.  And the kids jumped on the trampoline every single day.  It was fantastic.  One night after I went to bed, the girls picked up the house and I rewarded them the next morning with Starbucks.  Gigi and Fiori always get frappuccinos and Claire gets the breakfast sandwich.

It was a nice 11 days and I was sad it had to end, but I'm excited for what 2017 has to bring.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Eve

AKA The One With the Poo Potatoes

Okay, so Christmas Eve at my folks' is a formal affair.  We get all dressed up, drink wine I can't afford, and eat a fancy feast off my mom's good dishes.  We might play a game or sing Karaoke, or watch the kids open presents, and I get my new pyjamas.  But not this year.  This year we played a game I like to call Poo the Potato.  I set a bag of potatoes at one end of the room and buckets at the other.  So there were two teams, and each person has to put a potato between their legs (by their bum, obviously) and walk with it like that to the bucket, then squat so it falls in.  The kids figured out the potato stays put better if they hop to the bucket and omg it was the funniest thing ever.  We added up the potatoes at the end and the winners got special poo emoji cups that I'd found at the dollar store.

The kids opened stockings that my mom had done up for them (with new loofahs and body wash, much needed) and some presents.  All the girls got makeup kits.  But like, real ones.  They were thrilled.  Then we ate our red meat.

Oh and meanwhile all this Christmas-ness was going on, the kids' uncles were out in my parents backyard putting up that 14-foot trampoline for the kids that DP bought, that wouldn't fit in our yard.  It took about 3 hours and it was cold and dark.  But you know our kids are spoiled, and DP's younger brothers were more than happy to do it.

They couldn't jump on it just yet, but they loved the idea of the huge present.  It was after midnight by the time we left my parents' house, and the girls insisted on coming with us even though I told them they would just have to go straight to bed anyway.  Gigi snuck downstairs while I was still up to put out cookies for Santa.  I really think she was spying on the present count, so luckily I hadn't added the gifts yet.  I know she didn't believe in Santa but it's still fun to come downstairs on Christmas morning and see surprises.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Santa Clause

So we went to visit Santa on Christmas Eve.  I told you I was slacking this year!  I don't even know if it was because I didn't feel pressure or I didn't care, but I barely did anything at all.  The kids even decorated the house and the tree, which is usually my favourite part.

I wouldn't have bought any gifts either, except that I told DP he was in charge of Claire's Santa gift and the stuff for the kids, so he went out and bought a 14-foot trampoline for all of them, that wouldn't even fit in our backyard.  I could have killed him.  To be fair, he bought some board games that I had wrapped up because he likes the look of gifts under the tree, but we still didn't have anything from Santa or for each girl specifically.  He said, "Okay, well you might as well order the American Girl doll you've been talking about getting anyway," which I wasn't planning to get until next year and had already missed the free shipping promotion PLUS had to rush order it to even get by Christmas.  But fine.  I spent the $200 for the AG Girl of the Year + carrying case.  Claire didn't know what she wanted for Christmas anyway.  Then I ran out and bought 2 posters for Fiori.  (Sidebar: cute story.  I took Claire to Walmart to pick out a poster for her room and she picked out Harley Quinn.  Fiori kept trying to get her to pick the one that she liked, that had a puppy wearing sunglasses.  Something completely appropriate and sweet for a little girl's room, but Claire was adamant on putting the tattooed harlot up on her wall.  So I bought the puppy one for Fiori with a matching one, puppies wearing headphones.)  Then I ordered Gigi one of those makeup sample subscriptions.  We usually just get one Santa gift for Claire and one gift each for the kids but my hands were tied because it was so last minute.

Okay, so back to Santa.  Claire wears some variation of black in her Santa pictures, it just kind of happened that way so I try to keep it up.  We even go to the same place every year for the picture.  This year we had Fiori with us so the whole way to Town Square, the kids lamented in the back seat about what they were going to ask for.  Claire has (just like in picking a Halloween costume) said a different thing every time we asked, and still she couldn't decide.  In the line-up, DP told her she should ask Santa for a trampoline (because he's the absolute worst) so I thought that's what she'd go with.  But then Claire got up on Santa's lap and when he asked her what she wanted, she paused like she was thinking really hard, then sweetly asked for an American Girl doll.  DP did the eye thing to me and whispered, "I'm so glad you got her that."  I honestly couldn't believe it myself.  Claire has never asked for one before.  She even knew that she was too young for one (the girls were not shy about letting her know that she had to be 8 years old) so I guess she thought that would be a secret wish between her and Santa.  It was quite a magical moment.



Friday, December 23, 2016

Family Stuff

Since I didn't take any time off before the actual holiday, I felt a bit rushed for Christmas.  It's 3 days away and I hadn't bought any presents, and I didn't do anything special with the kids.  So when my mother-in-law wanted to take Claire caroling, I thought it was a great idea.  And Claire, my little superstar, was so down for that.  She even wore a tiara!

I didn't go because it was more fun to stay warm indoors, drink wine, and make fun of people who go door to door and sing actual Christmas carols for the neighbours.

My dad's birthday was the next night, and I wanted to take him out to dinner, but due to an unexpected and unfortunate family situation, he cooked for us instead.  Huge tempura prawns.  And we had sushi and sake.  It was just so typical of Gramps, let me tell you.  And then Claire bossed everyone around during a game of matching.

The week ended with a bang, literally, because on the first day of my 10-day vacation, I got a phone call that scared the crap out of me.  DP mumbling that he was in a car accident.  I barely got the location of the wreck before we disconnected, but I knew it was close because he had just left the house.  So I raced down there and couldn't believe the scene.  And that he was alive.  It was the scariest thing I've ever experienced.

He kept saying he was fine but was bleeding from his head.  And I know if he wasn't driving that big-ass rental, he could have been seriously hurt, or worse.  We got really lucky.  And after I made sure he was going to be okay, I wondered how much time he would be spending at home because of this.  Talk about cramping my style.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Some Parties

My parents host the kids for a Christmas party every year, so they can hand out their pyjamas.  It's hectic but so much fun.  They have their own traditions including mac and cheese pizza and building a gingerbread house.  And makeovers.

I picked up Claire halfway thru her cousin weekend at my parents' house, and took her to her Aunty Sierra's birthday party.  They had a chocolate fountain.  Enough said.