Growing Out On A Limb

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Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014 was pretty special around here – it was our first Christmas in our new house and we had special visitors to boot – nana and papa!  We felt really lucky that they could come and spend a few days with us, especially at such a special time of year.  Having them involved in our holiday traditions makes them even more special for all of us.

Speaking of traditions … Christmas eve jammies!  We sprinkled reindeer food in the yard (oatmeal and glitter) to help the reindeer know where to land, set out cookies for santa, and laid out the stockings.
IMG_5022 The boys got up at around 6 am, which was about what I expected.  They opened their stockings and played with their santa gifts while nana and papa made breakfast.  If you look closely, Oliver is upset because hurricane Eleanor just came through and knocked down his angry birds tower before he was done.  Big brother problems.  IMG_5027 The boys were really good at being patient about opening their presents while we ate breakfast and had a quick skype chat with ali and aaliyah in abu dhabi.  I found they got tired of the whole gift-opening thing after a while because they wanted to play with toys they already opened.  I think next year we might just take longer to open presents, all day if we have to, instead of trying to coerce them to finish.  IMG_5033 Brian took the boys shopping on separate occasions so they could buy gifts for each other.  This picture is everyone being very eager to see what Oliver bought for Emery.  The behind-the-scenes story is that I walked in on them having a whispered discussion about what they bought each other the day before.  They need to work on their secret-keeping!  IMG_5037 Eleanor loves her new chair from great nan.  She is in and out of the boys’ chairs all the time so this was the perfect gift.  IMG_5040 Papa being papa!  IMG_5041 No one loves puzzles more than papa!  IMG_5045 Emery got a spiderman car from santa.  It’s all star wars and super heroes around here!  IMG_5049 Oliver’s santa gift was star wars angry birds telepods.  The figures transport into the game but he loves building up the sets and using the slinghot to knock it down just as much.  He could do this for hours.  And he has already.  IMG_5052

IMG_5056 Eleanor loves handling the remotes so we got her a pretend one.  She puts everything that even remotely looks like a phone up to her ear though.  IMG_5058 “Mommy… need helping making Christmas dinner?”IMG_5065 “Really… I can help!”IMG_5069 Spiderma… err, Emery… tried on oliver’s talking darth vader mask.  IMG_5079 Baby vs zoomer dino.  She was pretty tentative at first.  

Storytime with nana!  IMG_5006

I, for one, missed having snow on the ground – it was a rainy, windy, mild day here.  But with family around, it definitely felt like Christmas in spite of the weather!  We spent the day unpackaging gifts, playing with toys and games.  I got great gifts too but I found myself way more excited about the kids’ gifts, figuring them out and putting them together.

We had a great Christmas dinner and the kids went to bed exhausted.  It was different for nana and papa to be out of their home for the holidays but I am so thankful that they were here.

We got some fun activities in after Christmas too… blog posts to follow.


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Eleanor at 16 months

I’ve been trying to pick up the camera a bit more lately.  I was always good at grabbing it during little moments… moments that weren’t big outings or events but just everyday moments around home… but I lost that at some point.  I guess it’s just a product of being busy but I’ve been missing those silly shots (and I have always said that I would have just as many pictures of #3 as I did for #1).

And sometimes Eleanor is just so darned pretty.  I look at her several times a week and hope that I always remember her just as she is at that moment.  IMG_4960 She babbles.  A lot.  She definitely knows what she’s saying and sometimes the babbling has intonation that sounds like words but so far … nothing definitive.

She’s a climber.  She gets up on everything but, in particular, we have had to start putting the kitchen chairs on their sides so she can’t climb up to the table.

She is super affectionate and the socialite of her home daycare – she goes up to every mom and dad at pickup time and gets hugs from them.  She’s the only girl there so I’m sure the dab of pink among all the boys helps.  I always get hugs when she comes home at the end of the day.  And she gets a super excited look on her face when I walk in the door – she is so glad to see me, even if I’ve only been gone fifteen minutes.  IMG_4961 She is a pretty good eater.  She’ll try pretty much anything but we never have to guess whether she likes something or not – she is good at letting us know!  I’m also pretty sure she has a ‘slip-you-my-leftovers’ deal with nelly.  Very sneaky.IMG_4976 Finger up the nose… must be her brothers’ influence sneaking in there.  IMG_4980 She is busy, busy, busy.  She’s always on the move and always into everything and always curious about what her brothers are up to.  Pretty typical stuff for a 16 month old. IMG_4993Overall, Eleanor is a dream baby.  She goes to sleep well, stays asleep well, and is rarely upset about anything.  She makes us all laugh and smile a lot.  I think the boys would agree that she is the perfect little sister.

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Advent 2014

Like last year, we had a list of advent activities, one for every day leading up to Christmas.  Some days were chocolates, some were crafts, some were Christmas-related activities, like decorating the Christmas tree.

It was definitely harder to fit them in this year, with everyone at school/preschool/daycare and while working, but we managed and the kids had fun with it.  Lately, I don’t seem to get as many pictures as I would like but we did capture a few.

On the 6th we went to a Winter Wonders program at the library – several craft tables setup and a movie. We cut star wars-themed snowflakes (did they know we were coming?!) and made a team effort out of decorating this snowman out of boxes (and the boys were thrilled to see him set up as decoration on a trip to the library closer to Christmas).  We also borrowed new books that day, which the kids always love.  Getting a library card and visiting often is one of the best things we have done since moving.  IMG_20141206_112728

Emery and I went to see Polar Express on the 13th with a couple of friends.  Oliver was sick but it is always nice to get out with just Emery.  We’ve seen that movie several times at home but it is really good in 3D.  And who doesn’t love midday movie popcorn?  Emery and I do!  IMG_20141213_105914On the 14th, we decorated our tree.  The kids like going through the ornaments, as I do, and remembering making them or seeing them last year.  This year was all about ‘unbreakable on the bottom, breakable up top’… for Eleanor reasons, of course!


IMG_4998A few of my other favorite advent activities were Oliver’s Christmas concert, going for sprinkle donuts and paying for someone else’s order, and a couple of days of new-to-us Christmas books (picked up at our local used bookstore, Otis & Clementine’s).  The snowman pancakes (breakfast for dinner) is a big fave of everyone’s too.

For two years in a row the kids have enjoyed opening up the advent activities every day so I think we have ourselves a solid family tradition for years to come!



Oliver’s Christmas Concert 2014

Last night was Oliver’s primary Christmas concert at Tantallon Junior Elementary.  It was a crazy, windy, 100+-mm rainstorm kind of night (wish at least some of that was snow!) but these kids were super adorable and made the soaking worth it.

Oliver has been singing his songs around the house for weeks.  He hums and sings to himself all the time.  He’s got an ear for music.


Without further adieu, here is Madame Julie and Madame Roselle’s Primary French Immersion classes singing ‘Petit Papa Noel’…

Yup, it sounded even cuter in person.

We got there at least a half hour early and still had to sit in the back row.  And afterword, Oliver told me he was looking for me and couldn’t see me.  Note to self:  get there waaay early next year.  (And if you think we got there without a huuuuge struggle over wearing the tie, think again.  He’s five… why does he care so much about these things?!).

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Family Shots 2014

My girl, Shari, somehow found some time in her short stint home (amid all of her travelling adventures) to take our family photos for us.  Even though she doesn’t take family photos (much) anymore, she is super patient and has a wonderful eye.

We took the photos at the Frog Pond, which is part of Fleming park off Purcells Cove Road.  It was a beautiful, mild fall afternoon so we took a few photos, then wandered along the trail that goes around the frog pond.  I got beautiful family pictures and the super sweet bonus of hanging with Shari while she was home… win win for me.

These are my faves from the shoot…

This one smells like a Christmas card.


The cutest three kids ever.

Emery was a little shy to smile but to be honest, this little smile is very true to his personality.  It’s perfect.  IMG_0812_ShariTucker

There’s a bigger one!  IMG_0821_ShariTucker We were doing everything from whistling to singing to joking to talking about poop (come on … they’re boys.  Nothing is funnier than poop!) to get Emery to smile.  IMG_0824_ShariTucker Oliver was (a bit surprisingly) very cooperative in the picture-taking process.  He did everything Shari asked of him, played with Eleanor, and even tried to get Emery to smile with us.

How is it possible he is this big?!  At least once I week I just stop and watch him doing whatever he’s doing and am dumbfounded by his size, his smarts, his maturity, and who he is in general.  IMG_0827_ShariTucker IMG_0830_ShariTucker My sweet girl!  She didn’t want to sit still long, of course, but that’s okay.  These pics are definitely capturing her and her sweet self.  
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Thank you, Shari, for once again capturing our family for us!  We love you!

(Plug for Shari:  She is traveling all over the world, here and there, and documenting lots of cool things on her blog).  I miss her.

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Eleanor play

Eleanor and I are in NB this week so spent the day traveling yesterday.

We stopped in Salisbury for lunch, where Eleanor entertained me (and everyone within earshot) while playing with the creamers and cheez whiz packets.  She is surprisingly steady and oh so proud of herself when she gets them stacked just right.


When she got all four piled up, she would let out a laugh so big that people a few tables over were checking her out.  And she started doing this cute squint-y pose after I took the first picture and the flash blinked at her.  IMG_20141130_125652I laughed at her until there were tears in my eyes.  So far she is the perfect traveling companion, sleeping at all the right times and being pleasant when she’s not.  IMG_20141130_125617My friend gave eleanor the sweetest dress today, one that her mother brought with her from India.  She tried it on quickly tonight before getting her jammies on.  Now that’s what I call cute!  It barely fits because her belly is such a pod!

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That settles it.  She’s adorable no matter what she has on.