Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fully recovered

Santa found us in Nelson at Auntie Kie's house and filled our stockings....
even Maggie the doll had a stocking....
Isla donned fairy wings....
and had her fill of chocolate....
Roscoe got four molars and developed a taste for cranberry sauce....
We connected with loved ones far away....
and had lots of cuddles with Poppa Regan...
We enjoyed evening walks amidst great fat flakes of snow.....
some of us LOVED sledding.....
others didn't enjoy it quite as much....
But most importantly, we got to spend it with family....
We hope your Christmas was as merry as ours!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Delimbing the cake

We did finally celebrate Roscoe's birthday. After having to cancel his birthday party twice due to cancelled flights and an absentee daddy on the actual day, we saved the celebrating for when we were all together.

Turning one is a big deal, and so I figured Roscoe should have a big cake. I spent one afternoon some time last week with the help of Isla and Fraser constructing a gingerbread man cake form out of tinfoil. We whipped up a double batch of our favorite chocolate oatmeal cake from the Whitewater cookbook and the cake man was born.
Now it is an especially scrumptious cake, and Roscoe was delighted to sink his 8 teeth into a big chunk of chocolate and icing for the first time.

Unfortunately, even now, a week later, the cake man still lives. The cake was larger than any one small child would ever need, even when he shared with his mommy, daddy, sister, cousins, auntie and uncle. We have been picking away at it, limb by limb for several days now. Even with the arrival of Uncle Chris and Sarah to help make a dent in it, the cake lives on.

But with it being the eve of Christmas eve and so many goodies to come I think I might say farewell to the gingerbread man cake and toss him. Or perhaps I'll cut the head off, stick it in the freezer and save it for his 25th birthday.

Farewell Cake, thanks for the memories.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Solstice, Happy Family

After an anxious few days of restless sleep, waiting out weather storms in airports and daunting road conditions - we're all together again.

Robin spent two nights in Salt Lake after the winter storm in northeastern Washington practically shut down the Spokane airport. The very same storm headed southeast after it dumped it's load of snow in WA and threatened Utah with much of the same. We worried that he might not get out of Salt Lake City even. But Saturday the skies cleared, the sun came out and I drove tentatively on icy roads down to Spokane to pick him up while Auntie Kie thankfully watched the kids so I didn't have to take them with me.

Both Isla and Roscoe were thrilled to wake up yesterday morning and crawl into bed with their daddy after a seemingly long separation. We celebrated being all together again at a Winter Solstice Party out in the valley with friends, a feast and a yule log.

Traditionally, the burning of the Yule log marks the beginning of Christmas celebrations. Burning a Yule log is probably the oldest Christmas tradition there is. It started even before the first Christmas as a celebration of the winter solstice. Celebrating Yule means no work as long as the special log burns and requires gathering family, friends and neighbors for songs and stories, dances and romances, feasts and fun.

After a little research I found out that the Yule log gets its name from the Scandinavian tradition, but the ritual burning of a special log during winter solstice took place as far west as Ireland, as far south as Greece, and as far north as Siberia. It was in the fourth century AD when Pope Julius I decided to celebrate Christmas around the Winter Solstice, the Yule log tradition continued, but the fire came to represent the light of Christ instead of the light of the Sun.

The traditional ritual goes something like this, on or about Christmas eve a big log was brought into a home or large hall. Songs were sung and stories told. Children danced. Offerings of food and wine and decorations were placed upon it. Personal faults, mistakes and bad choices were burned in the flame so everyone's new year would start with a clean slate. The log was never allowed to burn completely, a bit was kept in the house to start next years log. The log brought good luck. Any pieces that were kept protected a house from fire, or lightning, or hail. Ashes of the log would be placed in wells to keep the water good. Ashes were also placed at the roots of fruit trees and vines to help them bear a good harvest.

Wishing you a happy solstice and holiday season and that your new year brings you luck and begins with a clean slate!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Tooky

Happy Birthday my sweet little dimpled DuPont. Keep on smiling that cheruby cheeked smile. I love you. Love your mama.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ular missed his target

Remember my prayer to Ular???? Well he must have been tuning in, but missed the target slightly by about 150 miles.

A major snowstorm hit the northeast corner of Washington state beginning Wednesday evening, setting a single-day record of 19.4 inches of snow to fall in a 24 hour period at Spokane International Airport. I sat with my eyes glued to the television on Wednesday night watching the local Spokane news channel coverage of the storm details. I likely would not have been so interested, had I not plans to drive to Spokane this very morning to pick up my husband from the airport!!

I was able to warn Robin before he left Logan for Salt Lake City to catch his plane that things may not go as planned today. And they didn't of course. He is now propped up by hotel pillows at the Hilton in SLC wishing he were here and not able to get here until Saturday.

I had an anxious day watching the boob tube and the net for clues to whether he would be able to fly into Spokane, but in the end no flights either departed from or arrived at the Spokane International Airport because of the treacherous weather conditions.

Major thoroughfares in the Spokane and Coeur d'Alene areas have been continuously plowed, but the snowfall has kept driving to a minimum. Authorities are asking motorists to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary. Most major school districts and daycare facilities have shut down. Several school districts have already begun cancelling classes for Friday. Officials at the hospital in Spokane had to cancel all non-emergency procedures today. Even Spokane City Hall shut down.

Thanks alot Ular, I guess I wasn't clear enough.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ular, are you listening?

Oh the weather outside is frightful.

It has been bitterly cold here the last several days. It started snowing on Friday afternoon and kept up for 24 hours, coming down like big airy cottonballs at first. I bundled all four kids up for a play in the backyard that afternoon. And it was a good thing we did because we haven't been out of the house much since. The cloud cover has lifted and sun has come out, hello deep freeze.

We did get out to a few Christmas parties on the weekend, but made sure to suit up even for the short car rides. Today the kids and I enjoyed a quiet morning here at the Packham house, resting up after all the socializing over the past few days.

Despite the welcomed snowfall, our poor local ski resort was battered this weekend by a deluge of crisis after crisis. With the lack of snow thus far into the season, the hill has remained unopen, that is until they optimistically started up the lifts on Friday to the public.

Unfortunately with the amount of snow that came down that day and ensuing night, the new owners found themselves in the middle of power outages, broken down lifts, and stranded guests on windswept chairlifts. And that was just Friday! Saturday turned from bad the worse when the temperatures plummeted, freezing their waterlines and bursting pipes.

They soon recoiled, have closed down and are hiding out in the lodge praying to Ular, I am quite sure. (Ular is the much revered God of Snow and all things Ski-related). And although sunrays at this time in this valley are rare and elusive, I too am praying for some cloud cover, a hike in temperatures and another dump of snow, for Whitewater and for my own sake.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just call me Maria

Check out my new do! I came out of the salon singing "the hills are alive" yesterday afternoon on a snowy day in Nelson. On an impulsive whim I begged my friend Erin to cut it all off, and she did, much to her delight.

And I'm not the only one sporting a new look for the holidays. Isla Belle had her turn in the chair this week too. Even Roscoe could use a little trim around the ears and neck, as his hairdo will soon cross into the dangerous mullet category.We gals wanted to make sure we look our best this weekend while we galavant from one holiday party to the next.
This afternoon we are headed out to a Christmas party at our friend Sandy's place here in town and tomorrow we've been invited to the annual Christmas open house at Jon and Laurie's. Ho Ho Ho, gotta love the holidays.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Daddy gets delayed

Poor Robin has been working like a dog since we made a run for the border over a week ago. While the kids and I have been having all sorts of playdates and catching up with our Kootenay friends and family, the daddy continues his long hours in the studio back in Utah.

His official classes are over now for the semester and his focus has switched towards a firing for an extracurricular cause - an exhibition that he has agreed to take part in back here in Canada in the new year. The commission is for a dinnerware set of eight place settings (1 plate, 1 bowl, 1 cup for each setting). While he has worked hard to align his work schedule and firings so that all would be finished in time to catch his plane next week, dinner set under arm, unfortunately the rest of the world wasn't on the same workplan.

He's had to push his wood firing back a few days to fire over the weekend instead of midweek as originally planned. Due to a poorly situated air vent that supplies the art department building with fresh air - the intake is right next to the kiln compound. So the smoke from the wood kilns on overcast days especially make it unbearable for the employees and students inside. This has been an ongoing problem, poor Robin is just at the brunt end of it this time.

So pushing back the firing means changing his flight which means delaying our family reunion. Sniff, sniff.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy,

We sure missed you this weekend. I've been really busy doing all sorts of fun things with Fraser and Sophie. On Saturday night we went down to Baker street and watched Santa come in on the firetruck! I even got to shake his hand when he stepped off the crane.

Finn and Dylan came for a play on Saturday night as well. They came over to drop off Rachael because she and mommy were going out dancing. Sue and Auntie Kie went dancing too and Uncle Mark took care of me and Roscoe.

I was a good girl and went right to bed, I guess Roscoe woke up and got to watch the third period of the hockey game with Uncle Mark upstairs on the couch - lucky guy!

I woke up pretty early on Sunday morning and mommy said that I could have as much milk as I wanted as long as I went back to sleep. I found out later that she had a headache - too much dancing I think.

We had a fun day on Sunday too! We set up the Christmas tree and put out lots of decorations. We're going out to our place in Winlaw today to see Macaudo and find our stockings. I'll make sure that we get yours too. We'll be at Poppa's house this week in the valley, visiting all our valley friends. I sure wish you'd hurry up and get here. love you dada


Friday, December 5, 2008

As though we never left

It's been a full two days since we arrived back in the Kootenays, and it really feels as though we never left. I've already picked up my mail, pet my dog, made sure to get some Oso Negro coffee coursing through my veins, and bumped into a half dozen people I know at the grocery store.

The kids are tickled pink to be hanging with their cousins again, especially Isla, but Roscoe is right in there taking it all in. I am so grateful and pleased to be staying with my sister. It is so wonderful to have a sister, truly! We've spent the last couple days tag teaming with the kids so that each of us could get out of the house kid free (a luxury I haven't had for some time).

Today for example, with my children safe in their auntie's care, I was able to check out the Kootenay artisan fair and catch up with some friends there. (I have some good friends that are vendors at this fair each year selling fabulous handmade goods.) I also did a big grocery shop, sans enfants, which felt like a vacation in itself. And then to top off the evening, I headed out to an opening at the local art college to see the latest student wares for their holiday sale.

Our calendar is already filling up with lots of visits and seasonal events. Tomorrow Santa is rolling into town on a firetruck apparently and then it's a girl's night out on the town with the toe tapping Elliot Brood.

I only wish the daddy would hurry up and get here, we miss you and can't wait for you to arrive!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's up Canada?

After a two day slog of driving with two weary children, some haneous winter conditions and a sleep deprived mother at the wheel, I certainly wasn't expecting to return to my homeland on the verge of political upheaval?

What's up Canada? Where's all the true patriot love? I can't say that I am a big Harper fan, but c'mon folks, a minority government has got to be better than a coalition government. I feel like I've just recovered from the political excitement of the election south of the border to return to another group of fueding federals. So much drama!

At least we made it back to the Kootenays without too much drama of our own. Other than a section of freezing rain just east of Missoula Montana, that convinced me to pull off the road and bunker down for the night - the road trip went pretty smoothly. We sailed through the border, no questions asked and made it into Nelson before sundown.

Despite the political showdown, it feels good to be back in our home and native land.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Even better than a pony

Dear Grandma Lady, 
Today my mommy took me to the big store and bought me the most wonderful present! She told me that it was from you for my birthday. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love it so much. Love Isla

I'd  like to assume that her face says it all, but here is a little background just in case....

The last three times that I've taken the kids with me shopping at 'Sam's Club' (big warehouse box store), each trip Isla seeks out the toy aisle and zeros in on the "Sweet As Me Deluxe" Playset" and we spend twenty minutes or so arguing why we cannot buy it. The first time she hesitantly accepted no for an answer, the second time she longingly sulked the rest of the shopping excursion, the third time she desperately clutched the box to her chest and wailed, "But I want it mommy". 

So this time she suckered me in. I couldn't stand NOT to get it for her anymore. I still had some money that my mom had given me for her birthday and decided with no regret that this child obviously needs to own the "Sweet As Me Deluxe Playset". If only I could have taken a photo of her face when I finally said yes. 

She spent the entire afternoon fussing with her new belongings, even when we headed down the street to Kate's house to decorate Christmas cookies, the stroller and baby were never far from her reach. Understandably she is a little peeved that we cannot take her wonderful 5 piece 'Sweet As Me Deluxe Playset" with us to Canada on our holiday, seeing that she just got it. But I've assured her that it will be like brand new all over again when we return in a month's time. 

We're hitting the road tomorrow morning - without the SAMDP!