Thursday, January 22, 2009


We, the parents, have been thinking a lot about responsibility recently. Our kids lead a pretty cushy life and neither of us want them to end up spoiled or never knowing how great it feels when you do a hard job and you do it well. I noticed over the Christmas break that Owen, and to some extent Isabelle, were content to spend hours in front of the TV, often choosing that over going outside to play, or even playing board games...this was a shocker for us and I sadly realized that I have let this happen...I, the parent, am responsible. Making the kids responsible for things around the house has never been our strong suit...they both put their clothes in the hamper...sometimes, they hang up their coats and put away their boots after playing outside...sometimes, Owen puts his dishes in the dishwasher after meals...rarely, they clean up their own toys...sometimes. It has not been something that we have focused on, but all that is behind us. A while ago I talked about New Year's Resolutions and one of mine is to focus on raising the kids the way we want to...not just going with the flow and letting things be purposeful and deliberate in our parenting choices. For me, that means - more outside - less inside...more creative play - less tv/video games...more board games and card games - less "mama is busy, we'll do that later"...more earning tv / video time - less hours spent mindlessly watching.

So, in that vein, I have created a Chore Chart for Owen. He is 5 years old and has 5 things to do in the morning before school, 5 things to do after school and 5 things to do before bed at night, also there is a Daily Extra - one for each day of the week. I presented this idea to Owen last night and it was met with excietment, this is a good thing. He read through the list and was thrilled to be responsible for getting the mail and packing his own snack. He was less than thrilled about cleaning the toilet (plugged his nose and made a funny face) but we talked about how mommy always has to clean up his 'dribbles' and how this will be a good way for him to learn to do it himself.
We started today with 5 checkmarks before I left for work this am - good start! We will check in in a week or so and update you on our progress.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The last of the flashbacks...onwards to 2009

There are so many great things happening around here right now and I have not blogged them because in my mind, I had to complete my December flashback posts before moving on. I really wanted to do a comprehensive review of was fantastic...but I am letting that go. Here is the last 'flashback' post I am going to do - December 21,24-25 and that will be it. After this we are moving 2009.

Christmas Day
Adrian and I both said that Christmas Day this year was exactly what we wanted it to be. Full of fun for the kids, very low key, minimal time spent cooking the big dinner, more time playing with the kids, time for quiet reflection...really just a perfect day. Here are some of my favourite shots:Owen reading the letter Santa left. I love this shot because he is really reading, I am amazed at how advanced his reading has become over the past few months - he is now reading at a Grade 2 level!
Isabelle eating her Chocolate "B"...Owen figured that Santa couldn't find an "I" for Isabelle, so he got a "B" for Bella. She ate that chocolate B all day on and off...dropping it on the floor when she had enough and picking it up a little later.
These are presents that Owen picked out for me - a purple flashlight because it would match my shirt and a fire starter so I would not burn myself anymore. Side Story: a few weeks prior to this I was lighting a fire and when striking the match, the flame-lit end fell off the match and landed on my pj's burning a hole in them and burning my leg a little. Adrian took Owen shopping and he picked these out sweet thoughtful boys...thank you!
Adrian and Owen putting a new toy together. We made a point of putting things together right away rather than just moving from one gift to the next. It was nice to take breaks to play.
Isabelle wanted to have a "fleep" in her new doll house.

Santa got tricky with a few gifts, Owen had to follow the arrows to see who this gift was for.
Owen is wearing his Superhero cape from Grandma and holding up a new I SPY book.

This is a new game Owen got for Christmas (wonder pets Trouble) and I do not think a day has gone by where it has not been played at least once. Here he is taking a quick break from the game to wish Nana a Merry Christmas.
Breakfast happened around 10am...chocolate chip pankakes...yummy! (notice the game is being played)

Adrian putting together King Arthur's Castle - this was a tricky one...28 pages of directions...he spent hours and hours putting it together...what a great dad!
Isabelle playing Polly Pockets which she lovingly calls "Lolly Pocklets"
The kids got some new bath stuff from Santa - bath tints and foam of course we had to have bathtime mid-way through the day.

Mom came over mid-day and was the only one dressed - we all stayed in Jammies all day. Here she is holding up a present from Nora. And helping Isabelle feed her new baby. And opening up a button Christmas Tree that Owen had made for her.

Owen in Isabelle's new fairy wings...I am not sure they are supposed to give the wearer super lightning-fast speed...but that is what they did for this Spider Man.Here is Bella in the same fairy wings...looking like such a little fairy of the forsest flitting around the room in her wings and diaper.
Grandma always gets the coolest are some shots of us reading the new 3D books.
Arian reading Jungle Animals
Grandma reading Dinosaurs
Owen and I reading Ocean Animals

A really great Christmas was had by all!

Christmas Eve

Dec 24
Ever since Owen was a baby, it has been a tradition in our family to open up 1 gift on Christmas Eve, and that gift is always new pajamas. I won't lie - I started it because of the Christmas day photos...I really wanted us all to match and look great. But what started off as a silly little photo 'necessity' has grown. Owen was so excited this year to see his new jammies and even helped me pick out Isabelle's and Daddy's. It is nice to have traditions.

And we also sprinkle reindeer food so that they can find their way to our house.

December 21

December 21
Christmas with Nana, Papa and Auntie KaitlinWhen Owen was a baby, we decided as a family, that we would not travel on Christmas day. We did this for lots of reasons; 1 - he was a terrible traveller as an infant, 2 - we wanted to start our own family traditions, 3 - we really wanted to always be in our home on Christmas and starting that when he was born felt like the right thing to do. That year we started to celebrate Christmas with Dad, Barb and Kaitlin at our place on Christmas Eve. This tradition as evolved over the years, they have moved up north and now we celebrate it on the Sunday before Christmas. Both Dad and Barb's families have big family parties on the Saturday, the 3 of them sleep at our house on the Saturday night and we celebrate on the really works well.

Auntie K got the kids some wonderful gifts:
Isabelle and her Little Pet Shop treehouse
Owen a Light Bright & a Yellow Speed Racer car

Owen made a button tree for Nana
Owen also made some pom-pom decorations for their tree
Papa and Bella looking at pictures - "this one is Owie, this one is Mama, this one is Bella, this one is Daddy"...she could go on all day...
Isabelle playing with her new necklace - not really sure what is going on in this picture?? After breakfast and opening all the gifs, Auntie K and the kids made a gingerbread train. Nana and Isabelle had a peanut butter and apple snackIt was a really wonderful family day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dec 26, 27, 28

Friday, December 26, 2008
Snow Day - Boxing Day - Christmas with the Gills Day - Perfect Day

Here are some of my favourite shots of this busy, wonderful day

Building Igloo

Playing countless games of Trouble with Nana and Daddy

The Kids

Where are the presents?

Reading books
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Adrian and I strive to teach Owen about the world, to care about others less fortunate, to understand why we recycle and compost, to value nature and love animals and to protect and nurture this wonderful world we live in. I was so thrilled to see this amazing globe while shopping in Toys R Us, it is hollow plastic with sponge continents. Owen and I spread on chia seeds and then fill the world with water and watch it grow. We rotate the globe so it gets even sunlight, mist it to keep it moist and delight when the first seeds start to sprout. So very glad to see these kind of meaningful toys alongside the trains and dolls and commercialism.

Sunday, December 28, 2008
It has been a long tradition in the Gill Family to see a pantomime at Christmastime. Last year, the boys Owen and Logan were old enough to attend and had such fun...a new phase of the tradition was started. This year was Cinderella and Ross Petty did not disappoint. Lots of laughs, lots of sillyness, lots of audience interaction, perfect pantomime. My favourite parts of the day though, was seeing the boys delight in the excitement of new and different experiences. Walking along a high wall, riding the escalator, having fun with a light up wand and looking in the Christmas windows of the Bay. It was a truly perfect day.

The photos you get when you ask 2 five year olds to pose nicely in front of a Christmas tree: