Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Once Upon a Christmas

Well, last I wrote you may recall that Gabriel was sick with an upset stomach. That complaint is long gone... and replaced by another. On Saturday night after spending a delightful day in Calgary, we just got in the house when Cash ran up and stole Gabe's toy out of his hand and Gabe started crying - although it wasn't his normal cry. It was hoarse and weezy and followed by coughs. His temperature wasn't up but his cough got worse through the evening and when we put him to bed we were quite worried about him. He woke himself (and us) up every hour through the night with coughing fits and weezing so badly we were really worried for him. He spent the rest of the night laying between us in bed and at least he finally got some sleep, though the same could not be said for Matt and I. We suspected croup based on a couple of his coughs and he started getting a fever on Sunday afternoon so I slept on the floor of his room Sunday night and kept an eye on him to make sure he would be okay through the night. In general he had a better sleep, but his cough was by no means better. We took him to the doctor's on Monday and were relieved to see 4 of our 5 most trusted doctors working the walkin clinic so we were a little at ease about any medications they might prescribe. The doctor we saw prescribed an antibiotic for Gabe, said it looked like in mild infection in the throat and chest and not croup. So now, after another night on the floor of Gabe's room and him having been on antibiotics for the past 24 hours, I am pleased to say he is looking and sounding much better. His appetite is sure back and he's been playing hockey all afternoon. Next to football, hockey is his favorite sport. Watching the Grey Cup on Sunday Gabe started imitating the players to the point of throwing his arms in the air and yelling touchdown and pretending to snap the ball between his legs.
Unfortunately, this little episode of illness has slightly hindered our fond rememberance of the fun we had on Saturday. If you remember, we were headed to Calgary to visit Heritage Park for their Once Upon a Christmas events. With 50% off tickets being handed out everywhere you go and regular admission only being $7 it was definitely a deal. We got to the park by 12 and then walked up the hill to the old village where all the seasonal happenings were. First thing we noticed was a horsedrawn wagon going by filled with little kids. Then we saw the carolers, and the candy store and the bakery. Our first official stop was in to see the model train display however. It was a beautiful Christmas scene that took up the whole billiard hall. We spent a good chunk of time in there looking at each figurine and model house or shop. After the trains there was a bit of a question about where to go next but we finally decided on seeing the reindeer. Real reindeer! And you could go right up and pet them! They were adorable. And small - they were a very small species. After oohing and aahing over the reindeer we went for a hayride and were serenaded by carolers while we waited. The ride was fun and the driver was very fond of his job and the horses. Once we got off the ride we were quite cold so we went into the Wainwright Hotel for their brunch which we were lucky enough to get into without reservations! The brunch was fantastic and we all would have eaten more if we didn't have a huge dinner waiting for us. We needed to do a bit of shopping after lunch which took us to 4:00 by the time we were ready to go. We then retreated to our cousin's house for dinner and a bit of play time for the kids. While we did get home later than we had planned it was very fun. I only wish Gabe hadn't gotten sick!
This week I hope to get our tree and have it ready to decorate by Saturday, and I really need to crack down on making my Christmas presents! It's almost hard to decide where to start...

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday?

Here are some things that have been said around our house lately:
"No Gabe, you've already had enough raisins, now eat your cookie."
"You can have water when you drink your juice!"
"Sorry Gabe, we can't brush your teeth right now, you'll have to wait."
"Maybe you can have a bath later bud, but we can't have one right now."
Do I have a weird kid or what? He hates juice. Refuses to drink it. Since he's been sick this week we thought we'd try again and try to get some apple juice in him. No go. Won't touch the stuff. He loves raisins, yogurt, cheese, squash, bread and bananas but we're hard pressed to get him to settle for a cookie for a snack. One of his favorite activities is brushing his teeth and if that holds the #2 spot, having a bath is #1.
Gabriel is feeling better, although he's still not himself. I was wondering this morning how he was feeling until he spilled a few cheerios on the floor by accident and he start bawling. That basically answered my question. It's weird having him like this... he's normally such a happy-go-lucky baby, doesn't fuss, doesn't think too much of bumps and falls. Over the past 4 days, every time he stumbles in the least he screams like he broke something. If he drops a toy he has a panic attack. If the music stops playing between songs he starts hyperventilating... I can't wait until he's better :) Oh, and he's being exceptionally defiant lately. Usually you say, "oh, sorry Gabriel, but we don't play with that." and he's content to leave it. Now you try saying that and he tries his darndest to break it. On the upside, he's sleeping really, really well! But I'd rather have my normal, happy baby, than one that gave me lots of down time. I don't mind being busy with my baby when it's happy busy, but when he's sick I just feel so bad for him.
I'm planning on leaving my house today for the first time since Sunday. I must say, I'm quite excited. Being housebound is hard, and fortunately it happened while it was -30 (or -45) out, but still, 3 days is enough. This weekend however I'm sure I'll make up for all my isolation.
So, Happy Thanksgiving to all ye Americans (or Canadians down in the States) and major kudos to my cousin for surviving her first turkey making experience :) One thing I've never understood about American Thanksgiving however is Black Friday. Why? Why, why, why? I have been known to take part in the occassional Boxing Day sale, but I have never lined up outside of a store, nor gone at any time before 8 a.m. just because there are good prices. And I've got to be honest - unless it's 70% off or better, I'm not likely to give a hoot unless Matt and I had been planning on investing a load of money into that thing anyway. 50% off of something that's $1000 is still $500. That's a big purchase. If it were $300 I'd be able to justify it if, say, Matt and I had been wanting one for a long time, or if it were Matt's Christmas present. And sure you can find some of those really good sales on Black Friday, but most of these sales are $10 off purchases, 30% off, or get something for free. Granted, I'm not the most preferred style of shopper in the retail world. I buy things when I need them and when they are on sale. So, say that I need a pair of jeans. That's my cue to start looking for sales. I'll hold off for as long as a month looking for sale prices and if something really good comes up in that time then I'll buy it. But just because jeans are $20 at some place one weekend, if I don't need them, I won't buy them. Also, 30% off is nothing compared to the deals you can find on last years' electronics or refurbished things from smaller businesses. Computer Trends is awesome for cheap, cheap prices and great service. It's true, you won't get the same warranty necessarily as you would at Best Buy, but Computer Trends will stand behind their products and if it conked within a certain time, they'll just give you a new one - a luxury which you have to pay an extra 10 - 30% for at Best Buy. So, would you rather buy a 40" LCD TV from Best Buy for $600, or the older model for $300 at Computer Trends? The answer comes pretty quickly to me.
Well, that was today's rant :) I'm spent already from it. I think it's time for Gabe to have a nap, and me to have a bath.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Here are some pictures of my christmas presents and decor! Hope you enjoy!


So, a funny thing happened yesterday. I've been getting these rashes on my forearms for the past few weeks and I had no idea why. It happened again last night and I was showing it to Matt when I realized this was the same reaction that my upper arm used to get when I would go down waterparks in tire tubes... and then I realized I'm allergic to my pants. Awesome eh? I have one pair of jeans that fits me well and isn't ripped in the crotch and I'm allergic to them. I have a severe allergy to rubber and apparently the spandex that is woven into my jeans to give them their stretch is enough to make me react. Now, the funny thing is that it's not doing anything to my legs - just my arms from rubbing against the jeans. So I'm going to continue to wear them until my reaction gets worse.
I have something else to confess (other than my ridiculous allergy that makes me react to clothing): I'm really excited about the royal wedding. I've always been a bit pro-monarchy and I think Kate Middleton is a peach. I'm actually reading articles about the wedding date being set and dress concepts that designers have drawn for her (my money is on something with a modest dip, a dropped waist and more form fitting than not). I think the fact that she's a commoner (granted, a commoner from a rich family), and that William apparently gave her lots of time to see what she was getting herself into so that she could back out before he proposed, is great. I also think it's great the idea they had of inviting 100 commoners to their wedding. I wish I were british just so I'd have a shot at being one of the 100. Granted, I wouldn't have thing to wear... But on April 29th, 2011, don't bother making plans with me. I'll be watching the ceremony on TV.
My day yesterday got a bit better and was much more productive than I thought it would be. I actually got Gabe down for an early nap (he was sooooo grumpy) and while he was down I cleaned my living room completely, tidied the kitchen and rewarded myself by bringing up all my Christmas decorations and going through them. I'm providing my sister with decorations this year as well and since she has a day-home she's getting my silver and blue decorations (most of which are plastic or styrofoam) and I'm using my green, red and gold decorations (most of which are glass). Gabe woke up and was patient long enough to let me change out the rest of my normal seasonal decor (book case displays, table tops, etc). I made a happy little village display on our friend's old record player that we're keeping in our living room for him and a treescape with gold balls in a bookcase cubby. This weekend, if the weather is nice enough, we might steal some time to hang up our lights and hopefully the week after we can get our tree! I've got some beautiful things to hang on our tree this year.
I spent some time this afternoon finalizing my gift list for everyone. By doing so I've also finalized what crafts I'm making. The teacup candles and bath salts I've already done (well, I need a couple more batches of bath salts but seeing as those take all of two minutes to make...) and I've decided to make some cute styrofoam snowball decorations for some people (Roll the glued-covered styrofoam balls in fake snow with a bit of clear and silver glitter in it - cute!) I'm only knitting things for my niece and I've only got one done so I need to knit at least 3 more things for her and maybe sew a few. Then comes the food... I've settled on Candy Cane Marshmallows, truffles or chocolate bark (still not sure on that one), biscotti (most of which I already have made and frozen) and tea! I had almost abandoned my hope of making tea this year because I thought my mint plant had died and while yes, I would need to dry my mint leaves, there's a difference between drying and dying. Anyway, turns out my mint has come back with a vengeance. So this Friday I'm going to hop over to our local dutch store and buy some fresh licorice root and I'll chop up some of that with the dried mint leaves and make a nice licorice mint tea! The best part? My mint variety is Chocolate Mint. mmmmmm...
Now that the fun stuff is over it's time to get down to business. Have you ever heard of www.onematch.ca? Well, now you have. OneMatch is a donor matching program for people who need stem cell transplants. And lots of people need stem cell transplants. Lots of conditions such as leukemia and aplastic anemia, as well as immune disorders may require people to have stem cell transplants. And these transplants are usually their last option. My church recently hosted a Stem Cell donor recruiting session which was spearheaded by a local lady who lost her 27 year old son last April because he couldn't get the right stem cell transplant. While her son was undergoing treatment she met a lady from Calgary whose 7 year old son was suffering the same condition and had already been told that he needed a stem cell transplant since he was no longer responding to other treatments. 60 people turned out which is awesome, but chances that any of those 60 people are matches for her son are extremely low. Apparently, whereas siblings are usually preferred donors for many things, with stem cells family members usually only make up 30% of eligible matches. So what does it mean to be a donor? Well, for lots of people it won't mean anything more than that your name is on a list. Some people will get called to be actual donors. 80% of those people will simply go through a process similar to giving blood. 20% will be asked to donate bone marrow. If you are asked to donate marrow, the amount they take from you will have replenished with 3 - 6 weeks. And for the person who gets the transplant? Well, you would have just saved their life. Now, I'm very pro donating. I've signed my organ donor card, I give blood, I give money and time to things I care about. Lots of people don't take the time to think about giving some things like blood. I mean, it takes a whole hour sometimes to donate and recover. My goodness! I've known people who have had blood transfusions and would have died without them - my brother-in-law included. So while I'm pushing one thing I'm going to push another. I believe that people should give blood. I really do. Lots of people have religious reasons for not donating blood. Fine. But my religion says that Jesus shed his blood for my life. And not just a pint - all of it. My religion is pro blood-donation. Many people may think that since so many people already give that they don't need to. Well, when it comes to stem cells, you don't have that excuse. According to the OneMatch website, even international databases with millions of names on them, sometimes they can't find a perfect match for some people. So if you register and are asked to donate, you may very well be the only person in your whole country, if not the world, who can save that person's life.
Now, I'm done ranting almost, but please, please, at least go to www.OneMatch.ca and read up on it for yourself. If you do want to donate they'll send you a swab in the mail so you don't even have to go anywhere to register. I'm going to.
Right now.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sick baby

Oh goodness. Well, my cleaning and decorating plans for yesterday didn't go quite as well as I had hoped. Within half an hour of posting on here yesterday, I picked Gabe up on my lap because he was being quite cuddly and I was telling him how much I loved him and how adorable he is... and he threw up all down his front. The poor little guy was so shocked. He had no idea what had happened. I managed to get him down for an early nap (apparently puking takes alot out of you) and got myself ready in that time but didn't make any real progress on cleaning before he woke up. In the afternoon I gave him some soup and that seemed to go down well, but then he kept putting his head in his hands, rubbing his eye and his forehead and whimpering. I think he had a headache. At that point I whipped out the tylenol and phoned everyone who was expecting me to do something for them in the next two days and cancelled - it's funny how I'd be so hesitant to do that if it were myself throwing up but the instant it's my baby that's sick there's no hesitation. Anyway, Gabe got all of my attention for the rest of the day, Matt went to Auxano without me while I got Gabe to bed by 8 (two hours earlier than normal for him). After 8 I did manage to get the kitchen clean while rocking out to some Nat King Cole Christmas music, but I'm not really any closer to decorating than I was 24 hours ago. Oh, and I made my stocking stuffer list for Matt this year! Stockings are something my family always did every year and I've carried that tradition into my own small family now, with some changes. When my parents did our stockings you could be sure of getting socks, a toothbrush, deodorant, bobbypins, etc. All those necessary things that you only get excited about because my mom took the time to individually wrap them. Well, our stocking budget for eachother now is $50, which means I usually put in some of Matt's favorite candies and chocolates, a fun pocket knife/fishing tool/etc, scratch tickets (another old family tradition on my side) and some bigger things like a magazine subscription, a bottle of wine or some of those sampler bottles of brandy or something, CDs, DVDs, Gift cards and anything else fun that I find while I'm out shopping. My stocking list (Matt prefers I write him a list) has things like Second Cup's White Hot Chocolate mix, Black Currant Tea, a new scarf, Guylian seashell chocolates and, of course, scratch tickets.
Well, even though today doesn't look much more promising for getting closer to decorating (Gabe's been trying to climb up on me all morning) wish me luck! Hopefully I'll get at least some stuff done!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas is Coming


You know how I can tell? I'm listening to Christmas music right now! Granted, if I had my way that's all I would listen to from September on... but I digress.
This weekend was a bit of a flurry with lots of commitments, lots of phone calls and a load of cleaning, but amid all that we did manage to pull out some seasonal decor and find my favorite Christmas CD (Nat King Cole). So while I haven't really decorated for Christmas yet, (no lights up, no tree and 6 boxes of decorations untouched in the crawl space) we do have our candy cane made of bells hanging on our door, our wreath is up and I've rotated out the decor in the main bathroom from orchids to mini presents and red berries. I also have a vase in the living room that housed rocks and a stem of fake orchids which now holds some frosted pine cones (which I bought for $3.50 on Saturday. Seriously, who buys pine cones?)
I'm not allowed to decorate until the house is clean (my rule, not Matt's) so fortunately, given the weather forecast, I'll have lots of time to do that this week. Incidentally, how do you explain to a child under the age of 2 what -30 with a wind chill means? All morning Gabe has been bringing me his boots asking for me to put them on so that we can go out. Not in this weather however. I'd be happy to not leave the house for the next two or three days, or however long it takes to warm up. If I am staying housebound however, I may need to track down a couple more Christmas cd's - mainly the Carpenter's Christmas and Amy Grant. Thank goodness for iTunes, eh?
I am pleased to say that I am nearly done Christmas shopping for Gabe, I have one of my three presents for Matt and only have one other person to buy for and other than that I've spent all the money I plan to spend this Christmas. The rest of my presents shall be, as I have mentioned before, inspired and homemade. I am getting a bit tight on time however, so I'll need to really crack down on the knitting and baking to get it all done. Fortunately, I have a habit of power baking once I get started so I'll probably get all my Christmas baking done in two days. Oh, and one of Martha Stewart's articles last month was on finding one basic cookie dough and manipulating it into a dozen (or more) different varieties of cookie so I might give that a go this year. I'll make 3 or 4 batches of the dough, do one up with earl grey tea, one with chocolate and maybe some nuts, one with a cherry swirl through it, and ice the other ones. Wouldn't that be fast and fun? Still, there are some things I have to make just because I only do them at Christmas: Peanut Butter balls dipped in chocolate and coconut, Shortbread, some type of toffee or candy and I might have to break down and bake my traditional 9 dozen sugar cookies (I freeze them and they do for the rest of the year, or until summer at least - it depends if Matt finds where they are in the deep freeze).
Anyway, I slept in today and haven't been very productive this morning (short of the normal productivity of feeding and caring for an 18 month old) so I'd best get cleaning, because when I'm done, I get to decorate! Yay!

Mrs. Vander Leek

P.S. This has been on my heart alot lately - particularly yesterday - "I will sing of Your mercy that leads me through valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy - Hallelujah"

Monday, November 15, 2010

OPM and Ribbon

Something bothers me from time to time. I don't really know how to make chinese food. I must admit that the complex layers of flavours in some of the western-chinese dishes are beyond me. I don't like using store bought sauces to cheat and I can't figure them out on my own so whenever I'm craving chinese food, I order in. The reason this bothers me so much is that Chinese is expensive to order in (or rather, good chinese is expensive) and I crave it alot. And, we don't have an OPM in town so some of their absolutely fantastic dishes are out of my reach (or rather, an hour and a half out of my reach). I've already raved on here about OPM and some of their best dishes in my opinion: the mongolian beef, their chicken lettuce wraps, their drunken chicken... So I resolved last night to suck it up and learn how to make such dishes. My method: look for similar recipes online. The mongolian beef is the one that I will be most particular about because it's such a distinct flavour, and while I'm sure OPM uses cocoa in their's, the only recipes I've found so far use brown sugar but no cocoa. So, I went looking by sight and googled Mongolian Beef and looked through all the image hits and found a picture that looked most similar to what I've eaten at OPM. The image was from a blog that posted a recipe for Mongolian Beef that I fully intend to make sometime this week. Then I looked for a good Chicken Lettuce Wrap recipe which needed to include oyster sauce (I could tell that much from tasting it). I found one on About.com that looks promising and while I know I'll tweak and play with the recipes until I get them perfect, I think I won't need to do too much!
This weekend was a bit interesting. Things didn't quite work out the way I had planned them but I still managed to get some shopping done for Christmas crafts that I will be making. Ribbon was 50% off this week at Michaels so I got a bunch of types and today I set out to make ribbon ornaments as seen on marthastewart.com. I love Martha and all, but sometimes she forgets that some of us are incompetent. What she explains as being one simple step took me 30 minutes to figure out. And that was for one ornament (which didn't even work out by the way). I'm hopeful, however, that another style will be more user friendly for me, but that one does involve hot glue guns, so knowing my luck I'll come away with scars.
Did I mention we're selling some of our guppies? We have way too many in our tank right now and just had 3 more males mature this week, all with the same coloring. They're beautiful, but now we have 7 mature males and that's way too hard on the females in the tank, so baby production might actually stall because the females will be too stressed. So the simple solution is to sell some! I thought asking $10 for 1 male and 3 females was fair and they can have their pick of fish to a point. Obviously there will be some males that we'd rather keep for their colors. Then, once our tank is cleared out, we might get one or two new females with colors we don't already have and see what new colors we can get! Such a fun game!
This weekend we're having a South African themed meal with the inlaws and some friends. I volunteered to make a dish but I've got to be honest - I have no idea what counts as South African cuisine. Wish me luck!
Anyway, I've got a hat to knit today, groceries to buy and ribbon to torture myself with.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sprinkler System

What an odd couple of days I've had! Yesterday was, of course, Rememberance Day and every year I attend the ceremonies in town. My mom met up with me at my house and then we went down together. Of course, having to get there uber early to make sure we got seats meant that we had to sit in the unheated arena for an hour until things started. Why unheated, you may ask. Well, it becomes pretty apparent why when the poor cadets down on stage start dropping like flies from heat exhaustion despite the fact that it's both November and cold inside. Well anyway, at the ceremony we learned that Gabe really enjoys bagpipes and he especially loves clapping. He was the most enthusiastic one there! When I got home from the ceremonies I started planning for my sister and her husband to come and stay at our house this weekend (and their baby, and their dog). Since my house is still recovering from the stint I spent in Calgary when my Grandpa passed away I knew I was going to have to do a lot of cleaning. And since I hadn't bought groceries in a week I knew I was going to have to stock up. My sister's request for dinner was to have something that she wouldn't normally eat at my parents' place - where they normally stay when they come to town. I was torn between stuffed pork chops, stuffed manicotti or oven roasted ribs. I figured I'd wait until I was at the grocery store to decide. In the afternoon I heard what I could have swore was running water but could not for the life of me find the source of it. None of the appliances were running water, the hot water tank wasn't making any funny noises and the faucet on the one side of our house wasn't running. I even called Matt about it and told him what I was hearing and he suggested that maybe it was the chimney flap being blown about and sounding funny. I decided to try and forget about it and had a nap in the afternoon. When I woke up I could still hear the noise. This time I looked out into the backyard to see if I could see any water pooling, but nothing. I had to get Gabe ready for dinner at my parents' so I pushed it out of my mind until Matt got home. Matt hopped out of his truck and was coming inside when he took a detour to the far side of our house... at which point he spun around, ran inside and ran downstairs as fast as he could! Turns out our sprinkler line broke. It had been pumping water into our dog run all afternoon and I never thought to check that side of the house. So, the water was about 6 inches deep there and our water bill will probably be sky high this month :) I decided to put off grocery shopping until today and last night while I was lying in bed I wrote up my to do list for today: a trip to Zellers, buying groceries and a whoooooole lot of cleaning.
This morning when I got up the first thing I did was check my messages since the phone rang while I was still in bed. There was a message from my sister letting me know that they weren't going to be able to come on Saturday night. :( I was really sad about that but noticed it was snowing outside and thought that instead of feeling the need to get all my cleaning done today that maybe I could go Christmas Shopping. I started off going to Zellers where I had a list of things from their flyer that I needed to get, including a Christmas present for Matt. Well, turns out that Zellers, the morning that their new flyer deals come into effect, is the least organized place in the world. One of the things I needed to get they only had one of and it was opened with parts missing. A couple other things I couldn't even get to because of all the boxes and carts around. I ended up not buying a thing and Gabe was getting really fussy so that put a halt on any other plans to shop. I then hit the grocery store where I needed lots of staples and especially milk, as Gabe informed me of every two minutes. He barely let me unload the van at home before he was screaming for milk. So now, it's not snowing any more, I don't have company coming, Matt's working all weekend and today seems to be a bit of a flop. I do however have high hopes for tomorrow. I just got my Michaels flyer today so I'll head there tomorrow to stock up on some things I need to make Christmas gifts. I haven't been to HomeSense in a long time so I'll hit up there too and I'm determined to get at least some Christmas shopping done tomorrow.
Maybe I'll spend the rest of the day decorating for Christmas. I know it's a tad early, but it would so make me happy!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Christmas and Catch Up

Do you ever have those days where you feel like a horrible mother? That is, if you are a mother to begin with? Friday was one of those days for me. My sister and her family were coming to town for the weekend and we were all going to have dinner at my parents' house and I had volunteered to cook up a turkey. First thing Friday morning I spent a chunk of time cleaning the turkey, making the stuffing, stuffing the bird, seasoning it and just getting it ready to be cooked. Gabe was tolerant for a little while, but not very long. He was stuck up in his playpen screaming at me for the last 15 minutes of my stuffing and seasoning. I felt bad for this neglect and spent the rest of the morning playing on my hands and knees and doing whatever I could to make him happy. I took him upstairs with me to our guestroom/office/greenhouse while I watered my plants, which he loves to be a part of. Our dog Cash followed us up there too. When I was done watering I told Gabe and Cash to start heading downstairs and I was walking with them until I remembered that I had left the door to my plant room open and Cash would just love to eat some of my orchids, I'm sure. I turned around to close the door and just as I shut it I looked back at Gabe. He was at the top of the stairs, backwards, squatting down to start crawling down the stairs, but when Cash, who was standing next to him, heard the door click he jumped around to see what was going on and knocked Gabe down the stairs. I ran down the hall as I watched Gabe bounce down two of the 7 stairs and land on the bottom. I slipped as I was going down the stairs and slid all the way down myself, however, I'm not a baby and I didn't do any flips in the air. Gabe was fine, just really, really scared and I can't tell you what relief I felt when I heard him cry at the bottom. I'm a worst-case scenario thinker on a good day, so how much more so when my baby falls down a flight of stairs?? Nothing was broken and he stopped crying fairly soon (I was another story) and he went down for his nap shortly after. At about this time I realized I was feeling a bit sore... I hadn't stopped to think about the damage that I might have done to myself. I had a hot bath while Gabe slept and then assessed the damage: a bruise the size of my palm on my butt. Serves me right if you ask me. When Gabe woke up he had a bruise on the front of this forehead and on the side of his head, but they were mostly carpet burns. He's a little iffy about stairs now and so am I to tell the truth.
Anyway, we're all alright now. I know it's been some time since I posted anything on here. We had a loss in the family - my Grandpa passed away - and so most of last week I was actually in Calgary with the family. We're all doing well though and it was good seeing all of the family together too.
On a happy note, Gabe just successfully used his training potty for the first time today! He's been letting us know in advance when he's going to go for quite some time now but he was always really confused about what to do on the potty. Now that he's actually gone in it I think things will move along a bit quicker now.
When I was in Calgary visiting with family one of my dad's cousins informed us that they were going to be taking part in the Heritage Park Once Upon a Christmas festivities. For those of you who are unaware, Heritage Park is a historically preserved tourist attraction in the middle of Calgary and around Christmas time every year they have fantastic attractions including horse drawn carriage rides, gingerbread man decorating and a bunch of really unique shops. Well this cousin and her husband are avid model train collectors. I mean, whole levels of their home have been devoted to having these model tracks set up. They're part of a model train club in Calgary and have a display set up at Heritage Park every weekend from November 20th - Dec 19th. So Matt and I thought it would be fun to take Gabe there and my sister and her family are coming as are some of our cousins and their little boy who is quite the train fan! It's going to be awesome! Not to mention tickets are only $7 for adults and a ton of places are giving away 50% off coupons. I'm also really excited to see the Old fashioned bakery and they might have real live reindeer there too! I think it'll be just the thing to get into the holiday spirit! Not that I need much help with that... today I ordered one of Matt's Christmas presents from the Sears catalogue and a few presents for Gabe online too! I still don't know what I want my Christmas present from Matt to be. I was going to ask for the cello rental but when I found out it was only $40 a month I figured I could do that with my own spending money. I was also going to ask for some stuff for our house like new dishes but Matt would prefer buying me something fun. In a way, I'm kind of excited that I don't have anything I really, really want. That means I can ask for something strictly fun or uselessly pretty without feeling like it's a waste of a wish! For example, one store in town puts out a flyer every Christmas of the most gorgeous Christmas decorations - foot tall figurines hand crafted and inlaid with gold, or crystal pieces of loveable disney characters... I remember every Christmas growing up it was such an exciting time when my mom brought out the decorations that only came out for December and were so unique and so special: a Santa figurine on a turn top that was bending over trying to get his boot on, an 18 inch Frosty the Snowman candle that we never burned, a curvy, leaf-shaped, crystal candy dish strictly for Christmas candy and little bears peaking out of gift bags that we put up on the piano - a different bear for each of us kids. I want so bad to have special decorations like that that my kids look forward to and remember fondly. As it stands, decorating our house is wonderfully fun but that would make it more personal and significant in my opinion.
This year I have yet to decide if we will have one or two Christmas trees. I made a joke to a friend who has been storing stuff in our basement that I have more Christmas decorations than he has possessions, but it wasn't really a joke. I really do. Every year I alternate the color of the Christmas tree: red and gold, blue and silver, red and white, purple and blue, etc. and the color of the tree dictates the colors for the rest of the room. However, I believe this year is time again for a red variation upstairs and while that means that my red and gold stockings can stay upstairs this year instead of being sent downstairs, some of my nicest decorations are of the blue and silver variety and it's hard not using some of my decorations at least once a year. So, last year Matt and I agreed to take my grandparents' fake Christmas tree with the intent of setting it up in our basement. We didn't get around to it last year but if we decide to put it up this year that would solve a lot of issues for me. And honestly, yes it is more work, but who mind work when it's as fun as decorating? I could even have a decorating party! Invite over my sister-in-laws, make eggnog ice cream and homemade cider, listen to Kenny Rogers and Nat King Cole Christmas cds and decorate to our hearts' content! Doesn't that sound wonderful!
I'm about to get an early dose of Christmas spirit tomorrow. On Tuesdays, as you know, I go to the church and make lattes for the staff. Well tomorrow is their all-day staff Christmas party. At 4:30 they're coming back to the church to sing some carols and I'm going to have the latte bar open for them then, along with some special drinks we don't usually serve. I'm particularly excited to make Caramel Apple Spices for them!
Well, this has been a rather lengthy catch-up and my house is a mess considering how busy I've been lately. I'd best be responsible and clean. Maybe while listening to Christmas music?

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)