Monday, December 27, 2010

On location

I was in love with the windows in this coffee shop.  A family asked to shoot some candid photos here and I was just tickled with the results.  I wish I could just post all of the shots, but I’ll leave a few for a surprise for the family.   To me, its really easy when everyone is so good looking to begin with.  I’m just there to capture the moment…IMG_5174aIMG_5242aIMG_5191bIMG_5211aIMG_5216aIMG_5122aIMG_5128a

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

We had a great time exchanging gifts with our extended family, and a really fun morning opening gifts at home.  We talked about Christmas and why you’ll never see us using “X-mas” anywhere.  We watched a movie as a family and made our own pizzas for dinner.  I really enjoyed myself, and the kids loved all of it!

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Merry Christmas to you all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Climbing Aboard the Holiday Train…literally

Each year the Canadian Pacific Railroad hosts the CP Holiday Train. From the Canadian Pacific website: “The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train hits the rails again this November, visiting over 130 communities in eight states and six provinces. In the last decade, the Holiday Train has help raise $4 million and 2 million pounds of food for local food banks.” They make a stop right here in our home town, too!  This year was a little bit different for the kids.

We got a call from a friend of a friend, telling us they had spare tickets to RIDE the train this year, from one stop before and right into our town.  I was super excited because tickets are hard to come by.  They are not sold.  You have to be an employee, and as I understand it, not even all of them ride.  The problem was, she only had two.  I thought about saying no, how was I to choose one kid to accompany without a fight or at the very least hurt feelings?   Then she mentioned that in the past, they had let their kids ride alone, with friends who’s parents would make sure they were accounted for.  Aria had friends with parents riding, so I gladly accepted the tickets and let Max and Aria ride without me!  We waited at the nearest stop to get on.  The town had 2 nice warm bonfires and the local kids played while we waited for the train to show up.

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Here’s what the train looks like as it rolls through:

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The train doesn’t get into our town until 9:30pm on a school night, but I was willing to skip bed time for such a cool opportunity.  Aria’s friend’s mom made sure they sat nicely, and got off at the right time (only the next stop, so I wasn’t worried).  She remarked the next day at how well behaved they are (yay!!).  I sent Aria a camera and told her to go crazy with the pictures.  This is what I got:

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Santa came around and gave all the travellers neat commemorative pins (cool!).  They also got candy canes and hot chocolate.  Aria told me they were one of the few that had a table between their seats.  They said they had a really fun time coloring pictures and watching out the windows.  Once they stopped in our town, they opened the box car doors and threw a concert right there on the tracks.  It was actually warmer this year, snow and all, than it has been in the past.  Even though its less than a block from our house, last year I didn’t take the kids because it was about -10° F.  Not my idea of fun, but several people I know still stood out there to watch.  This year I believe it was about 20° F, which is just fine to stand around (properly dressed) and watch a concert. 

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The kids had a really awesome time.  I was glad they got to do it.  Who knows when they’ll get another chance!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Teachers and Christmas gifts..?

IMG_4480aI started thinking a few weeks ago about what we wanted to give to the kids’ teachers as gifts for Christmas.  Admittedly, we don’t always get around to that with the craziness of the season, but I’ve always felt they deserve more than we can give them!!  I decided to ask a few of my friends who are teachers to give me a little input on their feelings toward gifts they’ve received in the past and what they like.  Some of these teachers have been teaching for years, some are fairly new teachers.  Here’s their take…

Getting Gifts that Give Back

Most of the teachers I talked to (or emailed with) said they usually receive some gifts from students, but not all of them.  They expressed that they were very appreciative of the thoughtful gifts.  Sometimes its hard to think of unique gifts.  One of my friends mentioned that they have started asking the kids and parents to donate or bring in goods for the local food pantry.  Another said she has in the past received a card stating a donation was made in their name to a local charity. A great idea from Mrs. F was “…supplies I can give to students who could use them like glue sticks, pencils, etc.”

Too Much?

I had also asked what they may have seen a bit too much of over the years.

Mrs. F “Lotions”

Mrs. M “ I usually get a good variety of gifts”

My other Mrs. F commented that she had seen enough Apple d├ęcor. “Just because I'm a teacher doesn't mean I want to see apples everywhere I look. haha!”  This is a sentiment I have heard from other teachers, too, so perhaps it’s time to check that one off my list?apple phone

Anything qualify as re-gifters?

Let’s admit it, sometimes, even with the lovely thought, there are things we just know we may not use.  While most of my friends told me absolutely not, I had one fess up: “ I sometimes pass on nice perfumes/lotions, since I'm not a big fan of smelly stuff.”  All said they appreciated the thought put into the gift, and it’s the sentiment that counts.

It came directly from our kitchen…

I had read recently that there were teachers who wouldn’t eat home made treats, especially knowing where they may have come from.  The teachers in that article even went so far as to say that as soon as the day was over, the treats went in the trash.  Really? I asked my friends what the deal was with home made goodies.  I didn’t have a single teacher say they would ever NOT accept treats.  Of course, most of my friends are from small towns, and perhaps these other teachers were from big-city schools where accepting food might be more dangerous.  So, parents, judge for yourself, but I think we’re safe!!  All of my teachers really enjoyed getting treats made by the families.  Mrs. M said “They are great.  Especially when I only make a few specialty items at home.”

Favorites

I love to hear the stories about some of the favorite gifts.  My friends said that while the little store-bought items are very nice, and gift cards are awesome, it’s the ones the student made themselves that mean the most.  The teachers all said they love to hang on to items made by students.  A few said they love the ornaments they’ve received and have hung them on their tree year to year, long after the student has left their class.  I was told a special story about a family that had very little money or interest in giving the teacher a Christmas gift.  The girl made a cute item for her teacher anyway, with what was available to her.  It was very touching to her teacher and  still holds a special place in her heart.

The verdict

What to give your kids’ teachers?  They all agree that what ever it is, will always be appreciated and well received, as long as your heart is in it!!  So, how can you thank the teachers in your life this season?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oh…Christmas Tree?

In keeping with the idea that I’ve been trying to be better about holiday activities for the kids, I let them talk me into putting up the tree.  It’s not that I don’t want to put our Christmas tree up, I just always feel like I don’t have time to do everything involved.  I don’t want to haul the boxes upstairs.  I don’t want to rearrange the house.  I don’t want to put down what I’m doing.  Then I feel guilty about it.  Last year I put it off until a few days before Christmas.

We don’t have any pretty picture windows, or for that matter any real space to set up a Christmas tree that isn’t already occupied by furniture.  We decided to rearrange the sectional and put the tree in the corner of the living room.  That involved moving the sectional parts and finding all the lost treasures under it.  Also, it involved vacuuming up a lot of cereal and goldfish crackers that had sought refuge under the parts of the couch I don’t usually move. 

Anyway, the kids were excited.  They love digging through the box of ornaments and finding items we’ve saved from school that were made for our tree.  Every time I finally decided to go through with a project, I end up having a good time with the kids. 

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

If I Was A Turkey–by Aria

I found this in her “take home” papers this morning.  I laughed for about half an hour before I decided to scan it and share.  I love how this girl’s mind works.  Poor turkey…(What you don't realize is that turkey isn't excited, apparently he's screaming in terror....)

A (last) thought of a turkey:

Turkey Day

If I Was a Turkey…

I would taste… feathery.

I would feel…fat.

I would hear…wolves howling.

I would smell…gun powder.

I would see…hunters shooting.

I would want…turkey peace.

Aria.