Thursday, December 29, 2011

Change is inevitable

2011 was a year filled with changes for our house!
I knew there would be many and knowing that I don't deal with change well, is the reason I chose the word, change, to be my one little word for the year.
The changes started off almost right at the beginning of the year. On the 3rd of January, Brian left for a job up North that would keep him there for 3 solid months. Now, I've been husbandless off and on for the past several years and survived...sometimes barely, but none the less, managed to do what needed to be done all be it as a single parent! However, 3 months is a very long time to work a full time job, raise 4 sons and somehow maintain a level of sanity! I'm not going to lie, some days were much easier than others and I discovered that workouts were a great stress reliever!!
I began a healthier lifestyle the day Brian left: eating better and exercising and am pleased with the results that I achieved in the time he was gone. More impressive was the fact that he noticed!!
February saw Zack and Reilly in full swing with club volleyball...between the 2 of the, we had 5 volleyball free weekends from the beginning of Feb till the end of May! Thanks goodness for Nintendo DS's and ipods that helped keep the younger 2 from becoming too bored while we sat in stinky gyms for hours on end!
In March, Reilly turned 14...old enough to get his learners did that happen!! The countdown also began to the day that Brian would be coming home. Just as exciting as his arrival, ok...maybe even more so, was the fact that he and I had secretly booked a family trip to Florida! Specifically, Disney World and Universal Studios. It was soooo exciting to be planning behind the boys backs. I was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep the night before...I was right! I woke them up by singing "Zipitdeedoodah, zipitdeeay, my oh my, what a wonderful day" Zack was the hardest to get outta a 17yr old on Spring break, the last thing he wanted was to be up and out of bed around! He kept telling me to get lost and leave him a was hilarious but only for me and only cause I knew what was waiting for him upstairs. I had secretly made Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes one day and served them up on Disney paper plates with matching cups and was all waiting on the table for them when they finally got to the kitchen. Brian had the video camera ready...

At first the boys thought we were going back to Disneyland and were not disappointed at all to here we were flying to Florida that morning...they had 2hrs to eat and pack so we could leave for the airport. I had made them packing lists to help with the rush and excitement. It was a wonderful trip...exactly what the 6 of us needed!!

April was busy with volleyball still and grad preparations were in full swing. I had the unfortunate pleasure of being on the decorating committee with a couple of moms who thought it was there way or not at all...I won't ever volunteer to do that again!! Zack picked out a fabulous looking tux...although tall skinny kids don't wear them! He was still a handsome and proud guy though!
May was the month in which the ceremony took place for high school grad. To my surprise, I was only teary eyed once during the ceremony! I was thrilled to have my mom and my grandma here for the weekend to witness the graduation of their first (great) grandson! It was a bittersweet day for sure!

Something else was also in the works for Zack this month. A deeper connection was made between he and his grad escort and they began dating. She is so awesome and I LOVE having another female in the house!!
In June, I was happy (and somewhat relieved) to be kept on at the school. Thrilled to hear that I was staying with the student I had worked with in grade one and moving with him to second grade! Another bitter sweet moment for me...Zack turned 18!

We celebrated by taking him and his GF to Red Lobster. He didn't even want a drink. He didn't want to make the GF he says...she is not yet drinking age and doesn't come from a drinking kinda house...the real reason I'm sure has something to do with his over indulgence in alcohol at his grad party. His "famous last words" of "I'm never doing that again" appear to be true...thus far! Lesson learned?
For most of July, it was just the 14yr old and I. Brian was working, Zack had gone up North to live/work with my brother and my mom had wanted to take the youngest two. Reilly spent parts of every day working at his new job, leaving me alone to rediscover my love of reading...I've read more books this last 5 or 6 months than I have in the last 10years that didn't star Franklin, Clifford or Dr. Seuss!!
(this is a small sampling of the books that have graced my beside table)

The month of August was busy. Enjoyed a day trip with the neighbour and her 2 sons to Calaway Park once Zack returned. Had a couple of days home with my 2 eldest sons and then we packed up our camping stuff and made the trip to my moms in SK. I couldn't wait to see the youngest had been almost a month. They squealed with delight when I walked through the door...only to be fighting with each other moments after...typical! Spent a few days relaxing there, and then made a little further drive to my grandpas cabin. It's been 20yrs since my last visit. Consequently, my sons had never been. It was awesome!! So peaceful and relaxing. Can't wait to return next summer...hopefully with Brian along with us!

Attended another wacky family reunion then made the long trip home to prepare for back to school. When we left home for a couple weeks was when I left behind my healthy eating and exercising :(
September brought about yet another big change for us. We moved Zack to his University residence. It was going to be a huge adjustment, not just for me, but for his younger brothers as well. Having him come home every weekend helped make the transition easier. The rest of us were also busy with the routine of being back in school, homework and extra curricular activities.
October and November were filled with lots of school volleyball. I was lucky enough to have 2 sons on the same team...for the first time ever!! Simplified things a little...which was nice! Once the school season was over, Reilly tried out and made the team for the Winter games. Now , we drive 2.5hrs one way for a practice once a week for that. Halloween was fun...too bad Brian wasn't home for his favorite holiday.

He also missed out on the "Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour by Cirque de Soleil" we had tickets for over a year for. It was phenomenal!!! (we have plans someday to see it in Vegas)
December was the usual hustle and bustle of Gavin's birthday and Christmas preparations. School is so busy at this time of year also. Add in tryouts for club volleyball and you have a very tired me! It all worked itself out, as it always does though. Reilly is happy with the club team he's on, Gavin had a pretty good birthday and Christmas was wonderful!

This last week of the month and year, has given me a chance to look back with a feeling of contentment. 2011 has , as with most years, been filled with ups and downs, good and bad but ya take it in stride and deal with it.

I'm pleased with the way I've learned to handle changes in my life..."If nothing changed, there'd be no butterflies"-Walt Disney

Friday, December 23, 2011

no time like the PRESENT

to get back into blogging!
Love is in the Details is featuring a creative project I worked on for the students in my grade 2 class. Pop on over and have a peek. It's my first time ever being "featured" somewhere and I was actually kinda nervous about it...not sure why but I was.

I've been attempting to get back here for what seems like ever....have had several thoughts of things that would make good blog topics...just didn't get them here :(
That is changing as of today...I will be back to regularly scheduled blogging...I had no idea I would miss it as much as I have.
There will be lots to catch up on but lets focus on the are you all doing with your Christmas preparations?
A couple weeks ago, I was in a bit of a panic thinking there is no way I would get everything done...seems I have that feeling pretty much every Christmas and as in years past, it somehow takes care of itself. Even if that means several long hours shopping and baking. As of yesterday, the shopping is complete. After 7hrs in the kitchen, the baking is done as well.

Tried to write a new Christmas carole based on my baking:
5 dozen sugarplums
4 dozen pb cup cookies
3 dozen pretzel rods
2 dozen gingersnap balls
and a pumpkin cheesecake
Alos made a regular and a dessert cheese ball but wasn't sure how to work them into the
(the home made Oreo's in the big jar were made last weekend...surprised they are still there
By the end of today, the gifts will be wrapped and home made Christmas crackers will be made. Then it's time to enjoy my family. I am thrilled to have my brother, SIL and 2yr old niece coming to spend a few days with us. We'll also be sharing the holidays with eldest sons girlfriend. They have been dating for about 7 months and it's actually been easier than I thought it would be to "share" my son. I LOVE having another female in the house that's for sure!!
Would love to hear how you are spending the holidays!
And in case I don't get back here before then, may you all take some time to enjoy the many little things that make this time of year so special. Merry Christmas!!