Thursday, December 31, 2009

And Never Brought To Mind

I had plans for a lovely and sentimental year in review.

It was to be beautiful.

But I also have strong willed children and (yes, both of them - I am TRULY blessed) and this week has been a bit of a war of the wills season of training and instead of writing I have been cleaning up excrement, physically helping 50 pound children to obey, talking, explaining, spanking, time-outting, hugging, washing pee-soaked clothes and praying.


So, imagine with me a gorgeously illustrated, well thought out litany of our accomplishments and joys.

And while you do that I will be bleaching my house.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

There's TWO of them

I think it's been a while since I've shared about my sister and her OCD. I've got to change that.

For those of you new here, most of my family is fairly type A. My sister reads organizing blogs JUST FOR FUN. Because nothing says fun like a label maker and colour coded linen closets.

I on the other hand am more type z-ish.

This can occasionally cause conflict or hilarity, however one chooses to view it. Most of the time, it just makes me want to snort. Like the gem of a conversation I overheard this weekend between my sister and my sister-in-law.

I just caught the end of it, as my sister said "a sharpie is a mother's best friend." I have strong willed creative boys so I must beg to differ as those suckers are HARD to remove. Turns out my sister use the sharpie to label all her kid's Fisher-Price animals so that she will know what piece goes with what set.

Because really, can you imagine THE HORROR if the horse from the nativity set got in with the ark and one couldn't tell where it actually belonged? How would one sleep at night? Good thing there are sharpies so order can be maintained.

You don't even want to know what my sister goes through if an animal goes missing. Let's just say that my brother in law is a VERY GOOD MAN.

And while we are the subject of my sister-in-law guess who called me the other day begging for the sweater?

Yes ma'am. She has seen the error of her ways and wants some of that snowflake goodness for herself.* Next thing you know she's going to be ditching the skinny jeans in favour of some mom jeans and a denim vest.

Welcome to the dark side C. Make sure you bring your sharpie.

*She may have actually wanted the sweater for a red-neck Christmas but I wasn't totally paying attention. Too busy rejoicing in the fact that she wanted the sweater!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Checking it Twice

The burning question that EVERYONE keeps asking me.
Are you ready for Christmas? Well let's see.
I'll just get my handy pictorial check list.

Check. We've got snow to spare. You want some?

Check. My shopping is done. DONE. The presents are even wrapped. It's not pretty, but they are wrapped.

CHeck. I decorated. I'm still smiling. It is a Christmas MIRACLE.


Emmanuel. God is with US.

I am DEFINITELY ready.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Insert Interesting Title Here

Last weekend we took a last minute trip to Edmonton. It was a great deal of fun, but if one is foolish enough to go away a week before Christmas then one turns into a whirling dervish when she returns. Especially if that said person had been laid up with a killer cold the week before.

And whirling dervishes are not good at blogging.

However, I was feeling the blogging guilt. This is intensified by the fact that my husband posts every day and has at least a week's worth of posts all queued up and ready to go at any time. Me? Not so much.

I have a bunch of photos to show you of all the decorating, but that would involve walking up the stairs to go get the camera and download them. And the whirling dervish is TIRED.

So, instead I shall tell you everything you did not want to know about our weekend and were afraid to ask.

We did have a lovely time. We spent a day with my sister and her brood and my sons almost jumped out of their skin for the sheer joy at spending time with their cousins. I made the mistake of telling them a day or two in advance where we were going and lived to regret that decision every 2.8 seconds as I was asked yet again how many sleeps till we went to their house.

Much hilarity was had by all. I have a question for those of you with four or more children. How on earth do you get through supper? Earplugs? A rule about whispering? A sedative? MY WORD. THE NOISE. You'd think it would be relatively quiet what with them shoveling food in their mouths but NOOOO, that just makes them louder. I've been to quieter monster truck rallies.

The following day we met up with our dear friends C and G at West Edmonton Mall, which was shockingly quiet for a week before Christmas. I must confess, I had no desire whatsoever to spend anytime in Canada's largest mall, but then we got a room at the fantasyland hotel and didn't leave the mall for 24 hours.

My kids went to galaxy-land, saw the lemurs and the sea lions, had Starbucks AND McDonalds and yet their favorite part? THe bunk-beds. While riding the rides they kept asking their dad when they were going back to the hotel room to play on their beds.

Uh Huh.

If we weren't certain the novelty would have worn off by the time we got home, we would have been stopping at Ikea on the way out of the city for their very own bunks. And then sold all the toys cluttering up my bonus room.

I must tell you, whoever thought of popping a hotel onto a mall was rather brilliant. The next morning my kids woke up at Dark o clock and we snuck out of the room and wandered the mall at 6:30 in the morning. It was my favorite part of the trip. Two little hands in mine, exploring a big mall in search of breakfast. When we finally found a McDonald's that was open Spud exclaimed, "Oh look mommy, it is open!" Isn't that exciting?" We are so lucky!"

Lucky indeed Buddy. Very very lucky.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How the Geek Does Christmas

Well, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. We've got PLENTY 'o snow. It's also been waaaay colder than should be legal but at least it's not Edmonton.

So, since I'm feeling all Christmassy and stuff I thought I'd steal this meme from Missy at It's Almost Naptime.

Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? Both. Now would be good. Really good. And this is where I express my extreme disappointment that Starbucks did not bring back the salted caramel hot chocolate. BAD, OVERPRICED YUPPIE HANGOUT. BAD.

Does Santa wrap the presents or leave them open under the tree? We've killed off Santa here at the house of Geek, so in compensation for his untimely demise all presents are wrapped. Not well, but they are wrapped.

Coloured Lights on a tree or white? This is where I earn my wife of the year award. I really like white. Way Cooler prefers coloured. So our tree is a multi-coloured eyesore delight. I also get bonus good wife points for the fact that most of the lights are hand-me-downs. We didn't have to buy them ourselves. Score one for the frugal team.

Do you hang Misletoe? I actually put up a tree. Any decorating beyond that would be a Christmas miracle.

When do you put your decorations up? When I feel like it. I'm sorta the anti-type A. I'm more type Z. So, this year, they went up before December. When I had colicky babies, they stayed in the box. And note, Tonggu Momma, that I did NOT decorate before Thanksgiving. That would be weird seeing as how Thanksgiving is in October. It was a good month past Thanksgiving before I decorated.

What is your favorite Holiday Dish? You're asking me to pick one? I'm rather fond of all holiday dishes. Mind you, I'm rather fond of food. My least favorite? Well, that would be the nasty smoked oysters that Santa leaves in my dad's stocking. In my opinion you need to be smoking something strong in order to want to put one of those things in your mouth.

Favorite Holiday Memory as a Child? You want me to remember something from childhood? Right now I can't even remember where my keys are.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? In keeping with our not-at-all-traditional traditions we open all our presents on Christmas Eve.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Envision the perfect Martha Stewart tree. Mine would be the exact opposite of that.

Snow. Love it or Hate it? It doesn't really matter what I think, I live on the Canadian prairies. Enough said.

Can you ice skate? Did I mention where I live? Ice skating is part of our genetic make-up.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? It's not really a dessert per se, but the dark chocolate salted caramels from President's Choice make my heart go pitter patter, and if I ate as many of them as I would like to they'd eventually make it stop altogether.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? There is no way I can pick just one. But St. Nicholas Day is fast becoming one of my favorites.

Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck? Nasty little peppermint things. I was utterly delighted when I gave one to Spud and a minutes later he basically spit it out. "But this tastes like toothpaste" he cried. "We don't EAT toothpaste." Exactly my boy. Exactly.

Favorite Christmas Show? While it is not a Christmas-y show, I have very very fond memories of watching The Sound of Music with my family every Christmas. Way Cooler does not share my fondness and now I have memories of watching it alone while wrapping (very poorly) all the presents.

There you have it, everything you did not want to know about Christmas at the house of Geek. Feel free to steal this for your blog should the spirit move you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Bestest Christmas Concert Ever

As promised, I must tell you about Spud and Sprout's Christmas concert, but before I do I need to send a shout out to a hard-working blog designer.

Jackie from Memories by Design is one amazing chick. She is the one who designed Way Cooler's new blog. Which may not have been the easiest thing she has ever done. By a long shot. Way Cooler can be rather, um, precise in what he wants. Very, very precise.

She answered all his e-mails right away, did exactly what he wanted and then made revisions after revision, after revision, after precise revision . All while being exceedingly pleasant. Which is waaaay better than I would have done. If you ever need blog work done, I totally, totally recommend her.

Now about that concert. Spud was in a junior choir for the first time. He did a fantastic job. This is was a huge step for my son and way outside of his comfort zone. He rose to the challenge beautifully. We practised together so much that I may never get the songs out of my head but it was totally worth it seeing him up there on stage singing away.
It was totally a Hallmark moment.

Which stands in direct contrast to what had happened seconds earlier when Sprout sang with his Sunday School Class.

You know how in every concert there is a child who totally hogs the microphone, puts their hands down their pants and up then their nose and sings at the top of their lungs? The one who has to be moved way from the microphone for the second song?

This year it was my baby. I was SO PROUD. Or something like that. Did I mention that we attend one of the larger churches in our city? LOTS and LOTS of people got to see it.

And they were noticing. I could tell because the laughter ratcheted up a crescendo when he started to um, boogey.

Also a Hallmark moment.

P.S. Way Cooler is having a giveaway on his site. It turns out that while he has a good amount of traffic already financial blogs don't get the same kind of comment love as mommy blogs. Even when giving away Starbucks giftcards. So, if you head over, you stand a good chance of actually winning.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Calling All Sherlocks

Last week I made myself some notes about ideas for Seven Quick Takes. Unfortunately, I was just getting a rather evil case of the flu and these are my notes.




Yep. Those were the notes I made myself. Problem is, I have no idea what they mean. I wanted to talk about cheese? Really?

So, do you want to help me out? What do you think I wanted to say?

My evil cold is gone and I now have lots to tell you about. Including a Christmas concert, a really good sandwich, and maybe a weather report or two.

See you Monday.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Results are In

So, remember how I asked you about a sweater?

Turns out not many of you like it much. In fact, the word grandma may have been used a time or two. The final tally:

Eight of you voted that it should be sent to Goodwill. NOW. (No Janet, voting three times does not count. But nice try.)

Four said to keep it and wear it proudly. My favorite quote of the week comes from Veronica who told me to "Embrace the quirk. Be proud. Be strong. Stare down the mockers. Look them dead in the eye and flip the switch on your electric Christmas-light socks." You have no IDEA how much I want to find those kinds of socks now. They'd be so cool. Or my version of cool anyway.

My husband voted that I should keep it in case it comes back in style. However, I kind of hesitate to take advice from a man who sees no problem with wearing a longsleeved striped shirt with plaid shorts. In public.

Speaking of my husband, if yours ever asks you for help with starting a blog, run away screaming into the night. It's not really a hobby, it's become more of an obsession. He checks his stats more frequently than a teen girl checks her hair. He's even using birthday money to get a blog makeover and he is now buying his own domain name. Way Cooler is even cheaper than I am, so for him to spend money on a hobby, well, that's really something.

But I digress. How terribly unusual.

So, the sweater is on it's way to a new home. My cousin knows of someone who needs an ugly sweater for a party and apparently mine fits the bill nicely.

That's Ok, I'm gonna have my socks.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Is it seriously the second Sunday of Advent already? Why is it that December goes at three times the speed of January?

Seriously, they say that January is 31 days long but I don't believe it. It's actually 92 days.

According to some traditions the second Advent candle is the Bethlehem candle. Others refer to it as the love candle.

This struck me as a bit odd.

When I think of Bethleham love isn't the first thing that jumps into my mind.

Let's face it, Bethlehem wasn't exactly throwing a festival of love for Mary and Joesph. She had to give birth in a barn. I don't know about you, but if I had some pregnant lady about to give birth show up on my doorstep, I'd have been kicking someone else out of a room for the night. But no one did. They found her a room in a stable instead. Betcha there was no germ gel in sight either.

So, while Bethlehem wasn't exactly running over with love, this is where the ultimate love story started.

A story of a Holy God who wanted to reconcile with his people. So He sent them his son.

I think we sometimes miss the ultimate point of why Jesus came to earth. It wasn't to perform miracles, to start a revolution, form a new religion or even to teach all those parables.

All those things eventually happened, and they were all good, but the ultimate reason was to save us. To save us from our anger, our self-centeredness, our lies, our pride and the consequences of all of these kinds things.

He came to offer us a new way of doing things. His way. Through his Spirit.

But the only way to accomplish this for us was his death.

He offered himself in our place.

That is love.

And it all began in Bethlehem.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What We Found At The Library #1

Sarah from This Heavenly Life is hosting a Brand New Carnival!
This one is right up my alley. Books.


I'd like to have pics to go with the titles, but I have one of those colds where congestion is rapidly replacing grey matter and pictures are far beyond my ability. So, for today, you get Amazon links.

Next week, pictures.

I think.

Spud's Choice:

This is Spud's favorite book. Week after week after blessed week. I have very, very large portions of it memorized. LARGE portions. It is classic Seuss; a fun, silly story. It's about a little elephant who tries to save a very small town from certain death at the hands of some other jungle creatures that don't realize the town is actually full of people. Since they live on a dust speck and all. Much hilarity ensues. At least hilarity if you are five.

Sprout's Choice:

The hero in our story is Pierre, a fox (I think he is a fox, but hey, he could be a cat, the illustrations aren't all that clear) who has no friends. The story chronicles his journey up a large mountain to find a friend.

This one is full of repetition and fun sounds. Which basically is what Sprout looks for in a book. Quite honestly I think his favorite part is his mother reading Pierre's dialogue with a horrid French accent. I'm not trying to have a horrid French accent, I just do. He actually ends up sounding Italian when I do it.

It brings back precious memories of working for the federal government* and having to answer the phone in both French and English. It was easy to tell when the caller was a Francophone as there would be this pause and then poorly concealed laughter on the other end.

Mommy's Choice

No, I did not read this one to the boys. And technically I did not take it out of the library, it was loaned to me, but it was one of my favorite reads recently. I can't say I agree with everything Rob Bell says, but I like his approach. I can totally see why he's FREAKED OUT the Calvinists or any humourless defender of Orthodoxy but if you want a good look at the rationale behind some of the emerging church beliefs, this is a great read. Plus, it will not tax your grey matter at all. It's a tad bit simplistic, but I have a funny feeling he wasn't trying to write a classic work of theology. Seeing as how most great works of theology do not have Elvis in their title.

Spoiler alert: This book has basically nothing to do with Elvis.

So there you have it, gems from the library. For more selections, go see Sarah.

*I am Canadian and we have two official languages. So, I had to answer the phone, "Good Morning Transport Canada, Bonjour". And that is the extent of my French.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Do You Think?

While I am not one to shy away from controversy, I have avoided it on this blog.

Until now.

Forget religion, politics and breastfeeding in public, today I want to address something even more controversial.

The Christmas sweater.

Specifically, this one.

It's mine.

I've had it since university. Which I think helps clarify the state of my social life in university. However, it has recently come to my attention that maybe it is no longer as cool as it once was to wear this.

Or maybe it was never cool. I'm not exactly sure.


Since it takes a village to make the Geek look good what do you think?

Should I

A) Get it off to Goodwill as fast as my car will drive.

B) Keep it and wear it proudly, quirky is the new cool.

C) Save it. You never know when that will come back in style.

D) Forget Goodwill, do NOT subject anyone else to that. Burn it.

For the record, D is my Sister-in-law's choice. But she doesn't read the blog so she doesn't get a vote. You wonderful people do. Voting closes Friday at which time I will bow to to will of the people and do whatever the majority says.

The sweater's fate is in your hands. Vote wisely.