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Monthly Archives: December 2012

What a Week

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What a week it has been….emotional ups and downs…..tears of happiness and sadness.

Saturday was an emotional day. It started early with my mom’s arrival at the Pearson International Airport. I haven’t seen my mom since we were home in September when my dad passed away. I’ve called her almost weekly since then but a phone call doesn’t even come close to speaking with someone in person. We were all so excited when she told us she was coming to spend Christmas with us and started counting down the days as soon as we heard. 🙂

Mom’s flight was due to arrive on Saturday at 7:25 am. That’s a pretty early arrival for us since it’s about a 45 minute drive to the airport, but it’s an even earlier departure for her from New Brunswick. My brother Andrew, his wife Patricia and my niece Abby took her to Moncton on Friday night and booked in at a hotel since they are all about an hour from the airport there too. Her flight left at 6:00 am their time so she needed to be there by 5:30 am. We didn’t have to leave our house until about 6:30 pm so we slept in a bit compared to them.

Once we got to the airport we checked the board for her flight and saw that it was expected to arrive early….. 7:17 am….8 minutes earlier than scheduled, no doubt due to the strong winds. In the end it was still 7:25 am when the board read that it had arrived. You’re not actually supposed to go into the baggage area…..Security reasons I suppose….. but every time the doors slid open releasing a passenger who had already claimed their bags, I was craning my neck trying to look through the people in their waiting to see if I could catch a glimpse of her waiting for her bag. Of course I started looking long before she had even debarked from the plane but the board said it had arrived and therefore she must be in there somewhere! A few people were slipping in to the “controlled area” when the doors opened and I eventually told my husband I was going in on the next opening, and so I did. Once inside I tried to look inconspicuous so that I didn’t look suspicious and have “clipboard dude” escort me out of the area. I noticed a stack of bags sitting by a post so I nonchalantly wandered over and stood near them as if I was just waiting for my travelling companion to retrieve the rest of our baggage. Could have been a mistake…. unclaimed baggage in the airport….. not really where one should stand, and the owner of the bags was probably eyeing me wondering if I was trying to steal her belongings. Anyway nothing happened and it seemed to take forever for the Moncton passengers to get to the baggage area. You can always recognize the folks flying in from the Maritimes because they get off the plane with their “carry on lobster” in hand. That was my first clue that Mom should be coming along shortly, and then there she was coming down the escalator and headed my way. I smooshed her into a big hug (trying not to hurt her) and no matter how many times I tell myself I will not cry when I see her…..I am wrong…..I cry. Those are the tears of happiness.  Now we just had to wait for her bag….that did take forever. Chris and I had been texting back and forth while I was waiting for Mom so once I let him know she was off the plane he came in to the baggage area to wait with us. We finally get her bag, paid for parking and headed home. I sent messages to people waiting to hear that we had retrieved the package (my mom) safe and sound and were headed on home. It was now around 8:30 am and we weren’t sure about Mom but we were starving so we stopped at Sunset Grill before arriving at home for our usual Saturday morning breakfast.

Once we got home we did not give Mom a chance to rest up as we still had some things to do since it was the Saturday before Christmas. Erika still had to finish start her shopping…..that’s right, our little procrastinator had not started her shopping yet. Well she had 2 gifts but only because I had picked them up for her. We took Erika to the mall to meet her friend Taylor who also had to finish her shopping and picked up Nick to take back to the house for a visit with his Nan. Chris and I then went back out to do a bit more running around while Mom and Nick spent some time together.

Around 3:00pm Erika arrived home from the Mall and was quite upset. While shopping she had received word that a friend of hers from school Eric Goegan was killed in a car accident that happened on Friday night. Teenagers tend not to see themselves with any kind of mortality, they live in the moment and they believe they will be around forever, so when this happens to someone they go to school with and are around every day with their whole life ahead of them it is a very difficult thing to deal with. Her tears were those of shock and sadness.

On Sunday morning Mom and I dropped Erika off at work and went to church. This was only my 3rd Sunday at this church and as we were hanging up our coats a kind gentleman introduced himself to us and asked if we would like to sit with him and his wife since we didn’t know anyone. Of course I said yes believing it to be impolite to refuse. We took our seats but it was evident that this was going to be a problem…..they were left hand side seats…..I’m a right hand side sitter. I always choose a seat on the right hand side, I don’t really know why but I assume it has something to do with my childhood and the Hughes Family always sat in a church pew on the right hand side of the church. I don’t ever remember sitting on the left or in the centre unless it was for a Sunday School concert or a wedding or a funeral.  After the service I decided that next time I will just quietly slip in to the sanctuary and pick a seat on the right hand side…..small things. 🙂

Monday, Christmas Eve day, Chris and I both had to work so Erika and Nan spent the morning together. We got off work early, Chris much earlier than me, grabbed lunch at Swiss Chalet and then came home and I finished up my baking. I didn’t purposely leave it until the last minute, I’m not really a procrastinator, I just ran out of time. That night Mom, Erika, Chris and I all went to the Christmas Eve church service (we managed to find a seat on the right hand side so all was well) It was a good service, lots of familiar carols, some stories followed by a short message (the pastor had promised a 6 minute message and he held it pretty close to that). Even Erika was impressed by the keyboard player service, she is a little disappointed that she has to work Sunday morning and can’t go with us again.

I love Christmas Eve, probably even more than Christmas Day. Everything just seems calm and pretty with the gifts under the tree and the tree lights glowing in the dark and all of the preparations are finished and it is a time to sit and reflect.  I could just sit and enjoy that feeling forever but we all know we have to go to bed eventually or Santa won’t come. 🙂

Our tree on Christmas Eve

Our tree on Christmas Eve

Opening the presents on Christmas Day was fun because it seemed to go on forever. Mom, Chris and I were up somewhere between 6:30 am and 7:00 am. Erika eventually rolled out of bed at 7:45 am and then we started handing out the gifts to open.

erika 1


Once we finished we went to get Nick and brought him and his still unwrapped parcels to our place for more gift exchanging (once he finished wrapping them).


By this time we were getting Tom ready to go in the oven for our family dinner at supper time.


Shana was next to arrive with her presents and again we all did the gift exchange and opened more presents.


We snacked while waiting for Ryan and Whitney to arrive from her mother’s place. We didn’t want too much for lunch to be too full for turkey but we obviously had to eat something to avoid starving to death. Once they arrived we handed out gifts again and it seemed like we spent all day opening just because we did it all in stages.


Once dinner was ready we all sat down to a delicious (if I do say so myself) turkey dinner.


We all ate too much and then topped it off with dessert of raspberry cheesecake, something that has become a bit of a tradition in our family, Chris’ mom’s cheesecake recipe. It was great to have the whole family here for dinner and having Mom with us made it that much more special. The only flaw in the day….if there was one… that I, being camera happy as I am, did not think to get some pictures of all of us together. Hopefully there will be another opportunity before Mom heads back.

Everyone was up early on Boxing Day, well not everyone, Chris was up at 4:00 am to watch Team Canada in the World Juniors and was joined by Ryan and Nick who crawled out of their warm beds to drive to our place just to watch the game and then I assume returned to their beds after the big win. It’s obvious that we are not much in the way of hockey fans in this family (jokes). After that it was a lazy day for most of us except Erika who had to work. After lunch we enjoyed a nice visit with my dad’s cousin Myrtle and her sons Jim and Garth and Jim’s son and Garth’s daughters. Myrtle, Garth and the girls were heading back to Oshawa after spending Christmas with Jim and his family here in Guelph. It was agreed that Garth and I hadn’t seen each other since we were kids (early teens maybe) at my Nan’s place in Cody’s, so that was about 30 to 40 years ago.

Yesterday Chris was back to work but I had taken a couple of days off to spend with Mom so we mostly just sat around watching movies until around 4:00 pm when Mom thought a walk would be a good idea. I took the opportunity to join her so I could take a couple of pictures of the snow…..we get so little of it I wanted pictures as proof that we had some.


For dinner Mom and Chris and I went to Wendy’s as Chris thought he was about turkyed out.

Last night Erika and her friends went to the visitation together for their friend Eric. When she got home she told me it was the hardest thing she ever had to do. The only funeral experience she has had up to this point has been for grandparents and that is certainly a different atmosphere then it is for someone your own age.

This morning we had company again for another 4:00 am hockey game. Ryan and Nick were here once again to watch with Chris and this time Erika got up and joined them. I too was awake at 4:00 am and thought about joining them but then thought better of it and turned the TV on in our room and watched the game from the comfort of my nice warm bed….right up until the last 10 minutes anyway, before I fell asleep. It was still a win so I guess they didn’t need me to make it so.

Now Mom and I are just lazing around, Erika is still sleeping and Shana will be coming by to take her Nan out to lunch at the Keg for her Christmas present.


I may try to squeeze a nap in this afternoon while they are out but other than that I am going to enjoy a lazy day and try to do as little as possible. It has definitely been an eventful week but our visit with Mom is going by way to quickly.

No-Bake Baking Day

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I feel like I accomplished so much today!

I got to sleep in….sort of…..until 7:00 am, when the pups decided they had waited long enough and wanted to go out. Puppy paws in the face can be very helpful in convincing you to drag your butt out of bed and let them out. I think they thought we were up for the day but I was not quite ready for that.  As soon as she came in Cody stood at her dish looking from it to me, back to her dish, then to me hoping I would take the hint and give her some breakfast and I’m sure she was very disappointed when I looked  at her and said, “Bedtime, let’s go,” and back to bed we went. About an hour later we actually got up for the day, this time I fed the poor starving pups.

My husband and I did our usual Saturday morning breakfast out, and feeling very ambitious, we decided to walk to the restaurant. Breakfast was delicious and full of calories (which is what makes it so delicious), so it’s a good thing we walked there and back in an attempt to burn off one or two of those yummy calories.

After breakfast I had to pop in to work for a bit and while we were there we grabbed a couple of Christmas gifts that I had stored in my office and brought them home to move them to our other secret storage place….which is not in our house, with the snoopers in it. Oh wait, there is only one kid living here now so it would be just one snooper we are hiding things from.

On the way home we stopped at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients I needed to do a little Christmas baking. I  usually do my baking at the Zehrs bakery because I don’t seem to find the time to do it myself, since I generally end up spending so much time at work this time of year, but I really wanted to make something myself just to say I baked. I say it was baking, but there really wasn’t much actual baking involved.

I managed to get a large batch of Peanut Butter Balls made… oven involved there, just the stove top and freezer.

My Peanut Butter Balls

My Peanut Butter Balls

I made a batch of what I call “Frogs” other people call them things like Haystack cookies, but it doesn’t really matter what you call them….they are yummerific, but again, no oven needed,  just the stove top.

My Frogs....or whatever you want to call them....delicious will do.

My Frogs….or whatever you want to call them….delicious will do.

The only thing I used the oven for was to make the Holiday Pretzel Treats….and that was for a whopping 6 minutes….long enough to soften the Hershey kisses so I could smoosh the M&M into it.

Holiday Pretzel Pinterest Recipe.

Holiday Pretzel Treats….my Pinterest Recipe.

So I guess it was more of a no-bake bake day but I still feel like I accomplished much in the baking department. Maybe I will get to shortbread and sugar cookies next Saturday but not likely. My mom arrives from N.B. that day (which by the way we are all very excited about) so I may not feel like being very productive and I just might want to visit. 🙂

After my long hard day of baking no-baking, my husband and I went to see a movie at the brand new theatre that just opened this weekend near our house. We watched Skyfall and we were quite surprised at how busy it was since the movie has been out for a while now. We wondered if that many people really wanted to watch the movie or just wanted to go to the new theatre. We wanted to do both, watch the movie and see the new theatre.


I have to say I really enjoyed the movie, it is my favorite James Bond movie now. I liked everything about it including the sound track. I must admit I feel a special “Bond” with  James  since we are both 50 this year.


It was a great day and now I need to call it a day and hit the hay. Good night all!!

Back To Church

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I went to a new church today….well the church isn’t new but it was my first time there so it was new to me.

I’m not going to lie, I haven’t made it out to church on a Sunday morning for some time now. There always seems to be a reason, or as some might say an excuse as to why I can’t go. I’m too tired, I have to take Erika to work, no one wants to go with me, or I just don’t feel like it, and any other number of reasons excuses. Last week I had great plans to get up and get ready and go to church no matter what…..and then I didn’t. It was raining and Erika had to be at work the same time that church started and I didn’t want her to have to walk in the rain so I ended up not going so we could get her to work relatively dry.

This week there were no excuses, Erika didn’t work today, I wasn’t feeling so tired, there was no great work crisis, everything seemed to be going in favor of me making it to church today…..and I did!

I come from a Baptist background and was a regular church attender with my children when we lived in New Brunswick. When my kids and I moved here the only people we knew were friends and family of my husbands. He had friends that attended a Presbyterian church here so we started going to that church and we had our wedding there 12 years ago on December 30th. We attended this church quite regularly and I enjoyed the services very much, but as the kids got older and had to work on Sundays and their sports were on Sundays it became increasingly easy to use that as an reason excuse not to go. I always managed to get there whenever my parents came to visit because I knew it was important to them to attend a church service on Sundays, but once their visit was over I quickly fell back into my pattern of finding other things to do on Sunday mornings……even if it was nothing.

This morning I was actually planning to return to this same church because it’s familiar to me. I Googled the church’s home page to verify what time their service was and I had a choice of 9:00 am or 11:00 am. I always prefer the earlier service since I’m up early anyway and (as bad as it sounds) to get it out of the way so that I can have the rest of the day to spend with my family.

Now I had my plan and all I had to do was get showered and dressed and be on my way. Well there happens to be a Baptist church just about 10 minutes from my house so my husband suggested that I might want to give that one a try. I couldn’t even remember the name of the church so I went back to Google and searched for it by their address and found their home page……Calvary Baptist Church. They also had two services listed, 9:45am and 11:30am. The 9:45am was definitely the right one for me considering it was the earlier one and the second service is in Mandarin. My Mandarin is not that good…..actually it’s nonexistent.

Walking into a new church, by yourself can be a little overwhelming no matter how familiar you are with “church” and so I was a little uneasy as I walked up to the doors.  The first person to greet me was outside the door and my uneasiness must have been showing on my face because he shook my hand told me to come on in and suggested that I smile (so obviously I wasn’t smiling). It was really cold out this morning so I made a little joke that my smile was pretty frozen and then I ventured on inside. Right inside the door I was welcomed by 2 more greeters and then I took a moment to take in my surroundings. This church is a pretty large building and right inside the doors is a large area where everyone was standing around chatting and having coffee and juice. A new person sticks out like a sore thumb when you’re just standing there gawking around and trying to decide if you should continue to stand there or move on in to the sanctuary and take a seat…..didn’t take me long to decide to find a seat. I was handed a bulletin and then had to make the decision of where to sit.

I’m pretty sure this comes from my church background and the idea that ever since I was a kid the entire congregation pretty much had their specific “pew” that they always sat in and they didn’t appreciate someone new sitting in their place. You could always tell by the dirty looks that these people didn’t like change and taking someone’s seat meant they had to change. I took a seat and hoped I wasn’t going to be the recipient of any of those dirty looks I had seen members of my home church give unsuspecting visitors who had inadvertently taken their seats.

My little home church in Codys New Brunswick

My little home church in Codys New Brunswick where everyone had their own pew.

I had only been sitting a couple of minutes when I was welcomed again by a couple of more people from the church, had a brief conversation with them and was given a card to fill out with my contact information and was presented with a welcome gift of homemade jam and a pen…..getting presents is always good.

I have to say I really enjoyed the service. The message was “Where Is Christmas” and the minister spoke about Christmas Traditions and it was easy to relate to a couple of his family traditions growing up…..presents stayed under the tree all nice and neat so that they could be shown off to friends and family when they came to visit, and there was no present opening until after breakfast, his problem with that was the same as mine has always been…. “Why on Christmas morning are we having the biggest breakfast of the year and why is Dad eating so slowly?” He, like we, did not continue those traditions with his own family….Seems we had some of the same family traditions growing up….. Go figure, he is also a Maritimer.

Overall, I had a great experience at church this morning, the music was great….mostly Christmas music, which I love, the sermon was interesting and challenging with some humor thrown in and the people that I met were very welcoming and friendly. I believe I will be going back again next Sunday.