Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Rest of the Holidays

So holiday times is over already and it's back to school again tomorrow. I must say we had a very enjoyable holiday, actually the whole month of December was a bit like a holiday, but especially the last couple weeks. We enjoyed having Rob around and Rob enjoyed the chance to relax and catch up on some reading, work around the house, odds and ends and just feeling less pressure all around and even putting in a few days of work here and there. For myself the beginnining of the month was busy, but yet it seemed relaxing, for it's different when you can choose how busy you want to be. For the past two weeks we did lots of visiting, relaxing and just enjoying doing nothing more then the basics around the house. And tomorrow Rob and the girls start back at school, we reestablish a routine and I get back to work again. The list of things I need to get done is long as there is still much to catch up on from the past year, but I look at the list with a different view then before, for it is actually possible for me to get things done on the list now.

And here's some pictures that show a bit of what we've been doing over the past week or so.

To start off with we have an indoor picnic which we usually do during the winter holidays. This time there was not enough room in the dining room and so we had to resort to the kitchen floor, but regardless the girls still have some fascination with eating sitting on the floor ... why is beyond me, I quite like my comfy chair, but it's always nice to find small and simple things that will amuse them.

The girls enjoyed some time decorating cookies one afternoon. Marietta is our crafty child, but surprisingly it was Rebecca who ended up doing the most cookies and Marietta who lost interested after a few.

Another afternoon we decided to make some Egg White Cookies. They found this even more fun then using their Easy Bake Oven, for it was actually like real baking (well yes, it was real baking). And of course, for Rebecca, our dear sweet tooth, the best part was clean-up time.

For New Year's Eve we spent the night at friends in the Attercliffe area. Our small group getting together just like "old" times. It was an enjoyable time and we were thankful we were able to make it out even though Rebecca had come down with the flu the night before. But she appeared to be better and so we decided to go still. This was suprising to us, for whenever Rebecca develops a stomach flu it usually takes her 4 days to get over it. First she gets over the initial flu like everyone else has, but then her sensitive stomach takes another 3 days to recuperate and she must take in only liquid, for even a small cracker will come out the bottom end in about half hours time. Slowly we began to realize that she wasn't actually better like we thought. She went to sleep while we were at church. We had told her she would have to stay home and take a nap and could get up after to play for a bit, but she was out so cold that I couldn't wake her up. She never once mentioned the fact that I didn't wake her up. Then the next day she turned down a few foods that she loves and by the end of the day she wasn't looking so well and the diarrhea set in. As long as she didn't eat any solids her stomach was okay and so she was still able to mostly play, but every now and then she needed to take a time out and usually by nighttime she was worn out and ready for bed. But regardless we still enjoyed ourselves. So back to the pictures.

New Year's morning everyone went outside to enjoy the snow we had gotten overnight. The kids started with trying to build snowmen, which then changed into forts, but all was forgot when "Uncle" Dave brought out the four-wheeler and GT Sled. And so the fun began for quite some time. The girls absolutely loved it and we were once again reminded of the things they miss out on when living in the city.

You always know when Dave is driving, for then the name of the game is to see how quickly you can get the passenger off the GT. He was a bit gentler on the kids, but you can still see them above after they wiped out going over a good bump ... too bad I missed the pic of them actually falling off, kinda neat to see both of them slidding off at the same time. And below we have Rob giving it a try ... true Dave style he made sure Rob headed right into a snowball (by the way the steering handle on the GT broke off, so the driver has little control over where he's going).

After an enjoyable morning out in the snow it was off to Grandpa and Grandma's for a family get-together. We had an enjoyable dinner and time with family with an evening playing games and doing card tricks. We slept over and the next morning it was a work day. We spent the day making croquettes ... yum, yum. So after chopping, grinding, stirring, cooling, rolling, dipping, more rolling, more cooling and finally deep frying (we deepfry them all and then freeze them so we can just pop them in the oven when we want some) ... we were finally done by 10pm, the end result was 530 croquettes. The girls enjoyed helping out too. Both girls had been looking forward to rolling the croquettes. Rebecca had been asking already for a couple months when we were going to make croquettes again, and poor girls stomach told her enough that even if we allowed her she wouldn't have wanted to eat any.

Rebecca has this great fascination with colouring eggs and thinks that whenever we have white eggs (we usually have farm fresh brown eggs) in the house we need to colour them. Since she hadn't done this for a while I let her make a dozen of them nice and pretty looking.
The girls also were asking for pizza so this time I let them make it themselves ... so it seems we spent a lot of time in the kitchen, but really we spent very little in comparison to "normal".

And one last photo of when we went skating again. This year we decided to get a skating pass so the girls could learn to really skate and enjoy it a bit more when they go with the school. The City offers a discount to families with low-income so we thought it was a worthwhile investment for some entertainment over the next months. We've only been a few times, but we can see them coming along and getting the hang of it.

It took Matthew quite some time, but he finally seems to have recuperated from his cold. We still get the occasional coughing fit from him, but the worst is over. After a week of having him vomitting several times a day the light finally went on (duh, you think we'd know better by now) that we had changed his formula not long before this spitting and vomitting started, and so we changed him back to his original formula and that seems to have done the trick. He still has thrown up or had a few larger spit-ups since then, but they seem mostly related to coughing ... so right now we're thinking we've got that under control.

And so that sums up our holidays. We hope you all enjoyed your holidays as well, for we certainly enjoyed ours. It's nice to see that you don't need a big fancy holiday or to spend lots of money to enjoy your kids and to see them having a good time ... you just need to take out the time to focus on them and the simple things become so much more enjoyable.


Kevin & Amy said...

Well, it looks like you have a couple of regular homemakers living in your house! Your girls really like spending time in the kitchen:) I hope my girls will have the same interest.

I'm curious about the cheaper skating pass for low income families. I know you've also mentioned dental benefits from the city. Is there a website that lists all the things we can apply for or do you just need to know about these things?

Stephanie said...

Unfortunately the City likes to keep things hush-hush and it seems only if you hear the right thing or have the right connections do you figure out the programs that are available ... at least that's what we've found.

For recreational things the city offers a 50% discount for a skating pass and a 75% discount for a swim pass to families receiving Child Tax Benefit. You need to bring in either your CTB form or GST form showing your family income. Also through this program you can get swimming lessons for $12.50 a child, as well you can get skating lessons at a discount too(something I just learned - you have to ask since they don't offer the info).

As for the dental stuff, I found this out only because I knew there was a program out there for children called CINOT (Children in Need of Treatment) and upon making a few calls discovered that low-income families can get free-dental services. This one is a bit stricter on their cut-off for what is considered low income, but if you qualify all your basic dental needs (cleanings, fillings, x-rays, extractions) are free.