Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2004 revisited

I was searching through some old blogs the other day to look for some pictures of the Chickadees at Riverwood to send to a friend. This friend feeds Chickadees in her backyard and I was telling her that they would come and take the food right out of her hand if she stood still by the feeder long enough for the chickadees to get used to her.

I went on a hunt for the pictures of them gracing AC and I with their presence, and found them in our December 2004 and January 2005 blogs . On the hunt I got sidetracked with other pictures and blogs about our marvellous Christmas at Riverwood that year and decided to re-post some of the pics just in case you missed them the first time around. Even if you did see them, they are worth a second look.

2004 would be the first time we would celebrate Christmas without Thesha and that tore at our hearts. She is our Christmas baby, and loves the holiday in a very special way. It just wouldn't be the same without her. Sigh! Instead of sitting home and moping about it, we decided to do something completely different and go to Riverwood for the big day and celebrate Christmas with Mother Nature and the creatures in the forest. We would then meet Thesha after Christmas.

We set off for the five hour trip to the farm a few days before Christmas so we could get settled in before the big day. The area had lots of snow the day before our trip, so the scene that greeted us when we turned into Welcome Lane at the farm was like a picture out of a postcard.

As you can see in these pictures the trees and fields at Riverwood were all decked out in their prettiest winter garb and the whole area took on a magical air. I have never seen it as pretty before or after this winter. I really did feel like I was going to spend Christmas in a postcard setting.

Below is a picture of AC taking a picture looking across the road from the entrance to Welcome Lane.

At home I would usually have a big fancy Christmas tree in the living room all decorated in gold and silver with hundreds of lights. Below you see the Christmas tree we had at Riverwood that year. Quite the beauty huh? I loved it.

I made strings of popcorn and cranberries and put them on an old tree branch inside the farmhouse, and then on Christmas morning we transferred the festive strings to an old apple tree in the yard. We added slices of apple iced with peanut butter, and waited for the birds and squirrels to flock or scamper to the tree.

We hung seed and suet balls on other trees, set apples out along the forest path for any deer than might happen upon our snowshoe tracks on that day, and put carrots out for a Christmas morning snack for the rabbits. What fun!

We would go out each morning after that and put fresh peanut butter and apple slices in the tree. Pretty soon the Chickadees would dart all around me as soon as I ventured out the side door with fruit and peanut butter in hand to replenish the feast in the tree. I stood with an apple slice on my hand one day, and one little bird screwed up her courage to come and sit on my hand.

We had quite a little chat on this particular day, and every day thereafter.

My sister came for a visit in mid-January, and the birds graced her hand too. They were getting really bold by this time.

Even when we went walking on the frozen river, the birds followed us all along the walk chattering to us the whole way, watching to see if we might whip out an apple slice and some peanut butter.

AC got into the act too, and the birds were happy to sit and feast a while on his hands.

Nearing the end of our six week holiday at the farm we tried to see if we could get five birds at once perched on AC, but no such luck. I think he had three at one time, but we only managed to capture this picture with two birds. Yes, AC had a dollop of peanut butter on his head, along with apple slices on each shoulder and in each hand.

Oh what a magical Christmas and January that was at Riverwood. Maybe when we re-retire from our babysitting gig we will spend another long winter holiday at the farm. I don't know if we would ever be able to recapture the magic of that year though, but it would be fun to try.

To everyone who stops by to read my blog from time I wish you all a warm and wonderful Christmas this year. I'll "talk" to you all again some time next week.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Time out!

Some days the kids play nicely together, and other days they can't look at each other without setting each other off. When that happens, they both have to go to their separate rooms for a time-out. They have to sit on the carpet and stay put until I tell them they can get up. They can't play with any toys, and they have to sit quietly. Usually for about a minute or so. That's long enough for kids this age. They quiet down, regroup and play nicely again.
The other day Smudge wanted Buppa to take a picture of her while she was in her time-out. I just love the way her little hands are folded together while she waits patiently for the word that she can come out and play again.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ready for our walk in the snowy sunshine

I was getting ready for my walk the other day, and Smudge was getting ready to go to a friend's house to play for the afternoon, so we donned our winter duds and set off together.
Buppa took this picture of Amma and the girl just before we headed out the door. It was a beautiful sunshine filled day and we both enjoyed our walk in the winter sunshine.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another step...

Smudge and Jboy were sitting on the bench in the front hall playing the other day when I heard Smudge call out to me that she had drawn Walmart. I went over to take a closer look at her drawing and saw that she had drawn the letter "M". Does it look familiar to you? Yes, we have a MacDonalds in our Walmart store, and to Smudge, that is Walmart.
Oh my, she is taking huge steps forward these days and Jboy isn't far behind. Blink, blink, blink, and they are growing up.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Made me laugh...

The kids are usually in their pj's when I arrive in the mornings, so it is up to me to find an outfit for them to wear each day. My main focus for these wintry mornings is to find something warm and comfy, but I try to co-ordinate colours as best I can too. I have been known to get clothes mixed up and put Smudge's shorts on Jboy one day, but mostly I get it right.

Jboy has a little friend up the street who sends lots of hand-me-downs his way and most of the outfits are trendy and look great on him. This one however was a real hoot. It made me laugh right out loud when I saw him in it. I thought I would keep it on him just long enough to take a picture then find something else for him to wear...but...
Smudge thought it was a beautiful outfit and wanted something just at special to wear too. I knew it would be hard to find something as fantastic as Jboy's outfit, but we went on a hunt in her cupboard and found just the ticket. A snow princess dress. Quite the pair aren't they. The snow princess and the bumble bee! He is singing and she is dancing!
They danced around the bedroom for a while, sang a few songs, then Smudge took this picture of Jboy, before we went on a hunt for better outfits for both of them.
Did I ever mention that there is never a dull moment with these two? I had better go recharge the battery for my camera.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Village

AC went around the house last week taking pictures of all the Christmas decorations I put up every year, and he asked me to write about the history of the Christmas Village, so here goes...

In the early 1990's my mom thought it would be a good idea to start a Christmas Village collection of houses for me. The first year she gave me the brown/red house in the picture below, which is part of the Dickens Village collection and it is called The Shingle Creek House. Three years later Thesha painted the smaller red/white/green Christmas Shop also in the picture to add to my collection.
The next year, mom died suddenly and unexpectedly on Christmas Day. She hadn't been sick at all, and had no history of heart disease, but started to feel ill after dinner, and had a massive, fatal heart-attack that evening. I talked to her in the early evening and she sounded fine. She was excited about seeing us the next day and told us to drive carefully. That's the last time I spoke to her and have fond memories of hearing her happy voice telling me all about the wonderful Christmas day she had enjoyed with my sister and her family. We got the phone call in the middle of that night telling us she had passed away. What a shock.

The car was all packed with clothes, gifts and food; ready for an early start in the morning for the trip home to enjoy Christmas celebrations with family. We set off the next morning as planned for the four hour trip home. Only this time heavy hearts and sorrow blanketed all the presents and tinsel. Goodness that was a long trip. How difficult to make funeral arrangements amidst the holly and the ivy.

Christmas is a bittersweet time of year for me now, as those painful Christmas memories mix with joyful ones of all the Christmas's past. Yes, joy and sorrow, two sides of the same coin. Seems like you can't have one without the other.

Each year when I set up my Christmas village now I think of mom and that fateful Christmas day. All the happy memories associated with other Christmases mix with the memories of that up-side-down one and feelings are bittersweet indeed. As I arrange the cotton snow and dust off each house in the village, I let the emotions flow where they will and go where my feelings take me. Moving from the joy of the season into the shadows of grief, then back into the sunlight of all that is good in my life.

Mom had purchased another house for my collection that year, and had it wrapped and under the tree for me. I can't remember when I unwrapped it, some time in January I think. It is the blue house, called The Berkshire House, on the far right in the pic below. The next year Althegal painted the red and cream house which is the village library, in the centre of the picture and gave it to me for Christmas. The following year I got the house on the far left, The Stoney Brook Town Hall, from AC and the girls.
The next year the family added the Paul Revere Church to the collection, and Althegal painted the little green house beside it in the picture below.
Seven buildings seemed like the perfect number for my little village, so I stopped the collection at that. Below you can see the whole village as it is arranged amidst snowy hills on a shelf in the living room. Over the years I have added evergreen trees, ice skaters, carolers, snowmen and other winter characters to populate the village scene.
Each house lights up, so the village takes on a cozy glow in the evenings. I often turn off all the other lights in the room, so only the village and a few candles add light to the room. Then I sit with a glass of wine in hand and listen to Christmas music while my mind wanders down memory lane and in and out of the houses in the village. It's fun to imagine what's going on at the Stoney Brook Town Hall, or wonder who is speaking at the church, or try to smell the delicious things cooking in the Berkshire House, or wander through the aisles in the Christmas Shoppe to see what is on sale there. My mom would love the village in its completed state and would enjoy touring it with me.

Why don't you come on over for a glass of wine and a trip to the village with me. Be sure to dress warmly though because we will dash through the snow from one house to the other. Bring along your own memories to add to the adventure and enjoy a walk through the snowy landscape of your Christmases past. You'll love it! I sure do.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New playmates.

At this time of year a girl can find new playmates all over the house. These three seem like very friendly fellows.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I wonder! Doesn't it look like they have both been up to something?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kintail Country Christmas

We heard about an old fashioned Christmas celebration at the Mill of Kintail this weekend so decided to check it out. When we first arrived we were greeted by these beauties and were just in time for a "two-horse-open-sleigh ride".
Buppa helped Smudge say hello to the horses...
then Amma helped Smudge find a seat.
We were all ready for a snowy ride through the woods. What fun!
After our ride we made tracks to the Museum and stopped along the way to say hello to friends.
Inside the museum Smudge was delighted to join many other children for the Christmas concert.
The gentleman in the picture below was quite a colourful character and entertained us royally.
Smudge and friends got up to dance from time to time...
then found their seats again...
when it was story time.
When we left the museum, we stopped at the Education centre for hot apple cider and cookies...
then Amma helped Smudge make a pine-cone bird feeder.

Then it was time for another sleigh-ride through the woods...
before a stop at the playground, on our way back to the car.
I think we should put this event down on our calendar for next year too. It was a fun day in a beautiful spot.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another step...

...yes, we have taken another big step. Smudge is into writing notes on the computer, and as you can see...
...she works very diligently at it. She started off by hitting any old letters, but now she picks out the letters of her name, and ends the note with O's and X's.
Once her note is finished she moves the cursor down to the send box...
and sends the note on it's way.
We are going to be fighting for computer time soon. The rascal!

Friday, December 10, 2010

And the winner is...

...the red dress! We took these pics just before we dressed the kid's in their winter coats and boots to take them to the party.
Too, too, cute!
Oh, oh, Jboy is loosing his hat. Better get this show on the road.
Will check in with more pictures over the weekend. Stay tuned.