Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

The gift of love. The gift of peace. The gift of happiness. May all these be yours at Christmas and throughout the new year.

Much love from the Z family! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Grinch is Gone

I had a grinchy little post in mind a few days ago in which I planned to complain about all the shopping, wrapping, crowds and stress leading up to Christmas. But something kept me from pulling the trigger on that negative little gem, and I think I've figured out what it was. I was secretly terrified that I'd end up on Santa's naughty list. I also didn't really want to let on how stressed out I was, and I didn't want to be that woman complaining about Christmas. I really do love Christmas, but I just let all the work involved get to me some days.

Today I'm glad I didn't post all the grinchiness I was feeling a few days ago. Now that the shopping, wrapping, baking and assembling are done I'm totally ready for Christmas. I'm excited that my sister is here to spend the holidays with us in Newfoundland. I can't wait to see the kids' faces tomorrow morning. Brandon finally understand presents, and Kyle and Natalie can't wait to see what Santa brings. We even spent the day tracking Santa's progress around the world courtesy of Norad. Tonight we're off to Claire's house where we'll drink mulled wine and cider with spiced rum and taste our first real Christmas pudding.

Thank you, Christmas spirit, for finally deciding to show up! Now maybe I can work my way back onto the nice list before Santa gets here.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Seals Came Up With Shiny Boots

Last night was the Christmas concert at Kyle's school, and now that it's over I can admit to how worried I was. Kyle was one of four Kindergarteners chosen at random to have a speaking part in the holiday show called Holiday Zoobilee. He had his part down cold, but he's very prone to distraction, and I'd been anxious for him for the last several days.

I kept having visions of last year's 'end-of-school-year' performance where Kyle knew his lines but when the time came for him to deliver them he was staring, horrified, at the little boy off to one side suffering from a bloody nose. His teachers had to call his name several times before he heard them, and, sure, he said his lines, but the rhythm of the whole poem was thrown off.

Part of me wanted Kyle to do well last night just because I'd look like the parent that didn't practice his lines with him if he screwed them up. But I mostly wanted him to do well because he wanted to do well. Over the last few days he'd made a few comments like, "I wish Wednesday was done already!" and "I'm a little bit nervous about the Christmas concert!" I was terrified that my outgoing wild child had suddenly become too self-conscious and was going to freeze onstage.

There were a few dicey moments when I feared the whole thing was going to go up in flames. Early on during a song Kyle knocked his zebra ears off (I don't know why he was dressed like a zebra, but he was), but he looked down at them and just kept right on singing. Kyle was lined up in the very front row of the chorus right next to the biggest baby in the Kindergarten class, and this child spent the entire performance flailing his arms, turning around backwards, and making an overall nuisance of himself. Visions of the bloody nose incident haunted me, but Kyle just ignored him and kept right on singing. Kyle even lost a zebra stripe at one point, but he just bent over, picked it up, stuck it back on his shirt, and after a quick check to make sure the rest of his stripes were going to stay put he went right back to singing again.

It turns out that my anxiety was misplaced. Kyle walked right up to the front of the stage when it was his turn, and belted out his lines:

The seals came up with shiny boots that came out just your size. And the zebras have a stripey belt, that you will truly prize.

Don't ask me what in the heck that's supposed to mean or what zoo animals have to do with Christmas. But I was so anxious waiting for Kyle's turn to speak that I couldn't even pay attention to the show, and I still can't tell you what the zoo or seals with boots have to do with anything. I don't even care. My baby said his lines perfectly, and he was so proud of himself afterwards.

Today I'm just glad the whole thing is over. The only thing I can imagine being worse is the first time Natalie has to go onstage for something. If I thought last night was hard I'm going to give myself a stroke before Natalie's dance recital in May--or at least some very serious heartburn. I need to not think about that yet. Where are my antacids?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Five years old!

I am now the mother of a five-year-old boy.

Yesterday was Kyle's birthday, and last night when he went to bed he declared that he didn't need a nightlight any more because he's five. He was actually insulted when I turned it on--as if he hadn't used the darn thing every single night of the last five years. That fire truck nightlight was a baby shower gift that I used even in my own bedroom when Kyle was a newborn and we shared a room at my parents' house. I couldn't stand not being able to see him when he was sleeping--whether he was sleeping in his crib, in his swing, or, most frequently, on my chest. I've spent the last several years wondering when Kyle was going to outgrow needing a nightlight, and then he springs this little surprise on me at bedtime, and I had to pretend to be excited while I hugged him and tried not to squeeze his little body into submitting to my wish that he stop growing up so quickly.

Kyle couldn't be more excited to finally be five. He's always enjoyed his birthday, but this year he's been especially anxious because he's the youngest child in his Kindergarten class, and until yesterday he'd been the only four-year-old (his emphasis) in his class for the previous eleven days. It was killing him. I don't have the heart to tell him that in just a few weeks everyone in his class will start turning six. He'll find out soon enough.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the weekend's festivities. Check them out while I go try to figure out where the last five years went.

Yeah! Bakugan!

Kyle with his buddies, Neal and Ethan

The birthday party at the Geo Centre

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Awesome Weekend Turned Near-Death Experience

Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little bit. My weekend was awesome, and it did end with a harrowing aviation experience, but I'm not sure we were actually at death's door at any given moment. It just felt like we were about to die. It's been three days now, and I'm finally ready to discuss the ordeal.

I traveled to New York City this weekend with my Scottish friend, Claire, and we met up with our Texan friend, Jenn. We flew into Newark (oh, hated Liberty International Airport) on Friday morning, caught a cab into New York from Newark once we discovered the train bridge into NY wasn't working and our $15 train tickets were useless, and then much shopping, gossiping, sightseeing, eating, and drinking ensued.

We saw In the Heights on Broadway, and I loved it! It was a great show, and Jenn scored us a few awesome seats. Go see it if you're in New York.

We also went to check out the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, and we watched the ice skaters down in the rink. Claire and I felt obligated to comment on their skating technique and also on the quality of the ice since we're now expert ice skaters thanks to about six Monday night skating lessons.

We were highly amused on Saturday to learn that St. John's was expecting an impressive amount of snow during the day on Sunday. The idea of our Sunday evening flight being canceled and our husbands scrambling on Monday morning to deal with getting kids to school without us provided much entertainment throughout the day both Saturday and Sunday.

On Sunday the snow started piling up in St. John's, and Claire and I kept waiting for our flight to be cancelled. I emailed Shaun. John (Claire's husband) texted Claire. Shaun called me. Claire called John. Instructions were given on the subjects of packed lunches, carpool arrangements, and uniforms. Still waiting for our 6 PM flight to be cancelled, we all boarded a train to Newark Liberty International, said good-bye to Jenn, and prepared for a long night in Newark.

Never in a million years did we think our flight would not only depart for St. John's but that it would depart on time for St. John's. I've never been on an airplane that didn't spend at least two hours on the runway in Newark before taking off. We were actually going to fly into the snowstorm and attempt landing in 100+ kilometer per hour winds? Seriously? Oh, no, we weren't going to land in that kind of wind. We were just going to fly three hours to St. John's and hope that the wind had died down by the time we arrived.

Now, readers, just guess what happened next. Did the wind die down enough for the St. John's airport to open a runway? No. Did we circle for thirty minutes in hope of the wind dying down? Yes. Were we then forced to divert to Halifax an hour and a half away? Yes.

We landed in Halifax and Claire and I thought to ourselves, "Oh well. At least we're on the ground. Now maybe they'll let us off this plane, check us into hotels, and fly us to St. John's in the morning." But guess what happens when an international flight is forced to land somewhere other than at the airport it was originally scheduled to land at. It creates a customs and immigration nightmare, and therefore no one is allowed to actually disembark from the aircraft. Upon landing in Halifax we were told that we would be sitting on the runway in our tiny little airplane (in our very special last-row seats which did not recline and were located right next to the toilet) until a decision was made to either return to Newark (NO!! Please, not Newark!!) or attempt flying into St. John's again (in a windstorm certain to knock our little Embraer out of the sky). Seriously? When they could have just canceled this flight hours earlier and we could have been snoozing in a hotel in Newark at that very moment?

The airline proceeded to spend the next three hours making this decision. When the pilot finally announced that we were going to try landing in St. John's again he also threw in a little, "Fingers crossed, everyone!" Yeah. That's what I wanted to hear. Whatever. At that point I was willing for the airplane to smack right into the side of Signal Hill if it meant I could get out!

An hour and a half later, we were approaching St. John's, descending through the clouds, our little airplane was being bounced up and down and around in the sky, and Claire turned to me and said, "I think there's still snow on the runway." I turned to Claire and said, "I think I'm going to vomit." I didn't actually vomit, but I've never been subjected to such a rough landing in my life. For a moment I almost wished myself back on one of those second-hand airplanes about to land on ice at the airport in Moscow. Almost.

Obviously, we survived the landing. We survived forty-five minutes clearing immigration and claiming bags. We opted out of digging my car out of the twelve inches of snow in the airport parking lot and hopped in a taxi. I rolled into my house at 5:12 AM, and when I walked into my bedroom Shaun sat up, looked at the clock, and said, "You have got to be kidding me."

Ditto that, Shaun. You have got to be kidding me. I have decided that I'm not leaving Newfoundland again until I'm not required to return. They'll have to repatriate us to the U.S. sometime in the next few years, right?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Want My Mommy!

Moms are really quite excellent people to have around--especially when you're sick. They check for fevers, administer Motrin, deliver middle-of-the-night drinks of water, refill humidifiers, offer you anything you want to eat in an attempt to get you to just eat something, and arrange for doctor's appointments (no small feat in an area overwhelmed by H1N1 and lacking a sufficient number of doctors).

Today I did all of the above for all three of my kids, and I did it all while feeling like I'd been run over by a truck.

I could really use my mom right now. I don't keep a working thermometer in the house--I can't ever find them when I need them, I swear they're always wrong, and I can tell with a touch if my babies are running a fever and how bad it is, so what's the point in having one? I discovered the flaw in this reasoning today. I have no idea when I have a fever. I wish my mom was here right now so she could tell me if I'm running a temperature. Then she'd probably bring me a snack, make me drink some juice, administer some Motrin, and tuck me in. Too bad she lives in another country!




You know what else my mom would probably do that would be really nice right about now if she wasn't thousands of miles away? She'd take the kids off my hands so I could get a break!

I might be thirty years old, but I still just want my mom when I don't feel well, so I'm trying to be as patient as I can with my own snotty, coughing, whiney little monsters, but can a girl get a break around here?