Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Well, it is Christmas Eve and truly I wish I were still in bed at this moment. Cody woke us up at about 6:30 a.m. as usual, and I was too paranoid to not get up. Last night I finally baked and iced and sprinkled all my sugar cookies. We got 97. Normally I get over 100, but we made them a tad bit thicker, and used big cookie cutters. It still filled two ice cream pails to the brim as well as a medium sized tin. I left them out on the counter overnight...something I would never have done in the past because I have had cats jump on them before and leave paw prints in the icing. That was a bad year! But I figured that with the dog locked in the kitchen for the night, the cats wouldn't dare set foot in there, and the dog was barricaded by the pantry and the back door, so he could not access them either. So they were safe and sound, but once Cody was awake, I had visions of him sneaking into the kitchen and eating about ten cookies! Somehow, he did not discover them. I guess because it is still dark out. That's why we had to get up when we did.

Mike helped me with the sugar cookies, which shortened the ordeal significantly, I'm sure. It took us about 2 1/2 hours to do them all, and on my own I'm guessing I could add at least an hour to that. I had very little motivation to do it for that reason. When he said he'd help me I figured I should jump at the chance and get them done right away. We finished at 10:30 and then wrapped the boys' presents until midnight. Unfortunately, we did not get our cleaning done, so we are not off the hook today. I want it super clean in here before we leave for our big Christmas thing at Mike's parents' place. It should be interesting. There are 29 people including 14 kids from ages 11 down to Jamie, who will be a year old in one week. It can get very crazy. Okay, it is always very crazy. I'm a bit nervous about how the boys will handle it, but hopefully we'll all have a great time.

Not much else to say for now. Merry Christmas to you all.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Terrible Scare

Mike is finally on holidays, so I am glad to have the help here, and the moral support. This morning we had a terrible scare though. Cody came into our room at 6am, which is his custom, and said, "Mommy, you wanna cover me up?" I did not want to get up to put him back to bed because I knew he would not stay there anyway, so I said no. Then I said, "Cody, go back to bed." He said okay, and then he left. Well, I fell asleep again, and Mike and I did not wake up until 8:30am when we heard Jamie fussing in the monitor. I could not help but be amazed that Cody would actually have gone back to bed and slept, but he has been very tired lately, so I figured it had finally caught up with him. I was in the bathroom and I heard the dogs (we have an extra dog right now) restless in the kitchen so I asked Mike to get up and let them out. Then a minute later I heard him calling Cody frantically and he came back into our room and said, "Where's Cody?" I said, "He's not in his room?" and he said no, and his voice was so panicky. He was running all over the house shouting Cody's name loudly and I hurried out to join him. Cody was not in his room. Mike grabbed all the blankets from his bed and tossed them off, in case he was under them. He was not. I joined in the search. Cody was nowhere, and was not responding to our frantic shouting. We opened the doors to look outside and I was getting a nightmarish feeling in my stomach. You have to understand that we are in Manitoba, and this morning with the wind chill it was -40 degrees outside, with deep snow as well. I knew that if Cody had gone outside he was in serious trouble, if not dead. I didn't know where else he could possibly be. When I looked out the front door there were no footprints in the snow. I asked Mike if there were footprints at the back door. He said no. We did another sweep of the house, and did not find Cody. Our shouts were getting louder. I said "If there are no footprints, he cannot be outside." Still, Mike threw on his jacket and boots and was about to leave when I saw something on the couch. That is to say, there was a patch of lighter blue fabric about the size of the palm of my hand in the crack between the back cushion of the couch and the cushion that you sit on. It was Cody's pajamas. I said, "Wait, he's in the couch!" I whipped the cushion off, and there he was, laying there unmoving, mouth hanging open and completely unresponsive to our voices. For a brief moment I was terrified that he had suffocated in there. But then I saw him breathing and realized that he was just having a darn good sleep there in the couch. I could not believe it. I was so scared that he was dead, or even that someone had stolen him, though we live in the middle of nowhere, so that didn't seem too likely. Either way, we were SO relieved when we found him. We used to have child-proof handles on our door knobs, but Cody knows how to get them off, so now I am afraid that some day he will leave the house without us knowing, and in this climate it is very dangerous. Even in the summer it would be scary. We have 80 acres of bush here, and it is easy to get lost. There is a lot more uninhabited bush adjacent to us as well. Now I'm wracking my brain for ideas to make sure that he can never leave the house without us knowing it. Talk about scary. I really thought we had lost him. I am thanking God profusely for my family today.

Monday, December 15, 2008

So Much For Christmas Shopping

Phew, I have been a little out of the loop lately. December is always a crazy month with all the Christmas preparations. I still have not made my famous sugar cookies, but that might be a project that I start later today. I'm not feeling so great this morning, so I'm a little paranoid about doing anything. I have not finished my Christmas shopping and I'm somewhat stressed out about it. My mother-in-law took my boys on Friday afternoon so that I could go in to town and try to get some shopping done. I'm about 40 minutes out of town, so shopping is always a lengthy process, as the driving alone is almost an hour and a half in total. I went in, hoping to just get Mike done, because the others he can help me with. As soon as I got to the mall, my stomach was feeling very gross. Well, sorry if this is too much information, but I had to go to the lovely mall bathroom and spend some time there before I even did any shopping. How nice for me. Unfortunately, it was one of those situations where my timing must have been off, because I left the bathroom thinking, "Hm. I don't think I'm out of the woods yet..." Even still, I headed further down the mall to get one of my gifts for Mike, and I did get him a nice pair of winter gloves, but as I stood at the cash register paying for them, it became clear that my earlier predictions were right. Great. I had a very limited time to do my shopping, and already I was going to have to make my second trip to the washroom. After paying for the gloves, I hurried back to the washroom, wondering how many of the people in the food court were having a case of deja vu as I passed them yet again and strode purposefully into the washroom. I decided this time that I should take my time, lest I have to make a third trip into the bathroom. Well, taking your time in a public washroom is never a pleasant experience, but this went beyond unpleasant. The Brandon Shopper's Mall has a very "modern" washroom setup, and has equipped it with those toilets that flush automatically. I don't know exactly how they work, and believe me, I have tried to figure it out. I thought maybe they had some kind of motion detector that could tell when you stood up, and then they would do their thing and flush so there is no chance that anyone leaves anything in the toilet. Let me clarify what I mean when I say "flush". There is no swirling and gurgling that would be typical of a house toilet. This is something more akin to Niagara Falls being unleashed with a fury that lasts only about one or two seconds, but even still, unless you have reflexes like Jackie Chan and can pull up your pants and leap over the stall door before the blast hits, you will probably need some kind of a rain coat. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for toilets that flush, but I really do find it disgusting when the toilet seat is sprayed with its own water after every use. In my particular situation on Friday, this was especially vexing. I tried very hard not to move at all on the toilet, lest I give it the mistaken impression that I was finished there. Apparently it is not a motion detector that sets off the flush. The first time it flushed while I was on it, I panicked and stood up as fast as I could, so as not to get an upside-down shower. Then, I had to wipe the seat with toilet paper again, as it was covered with toilet water. This was stressful because I had a feeling that time was ticking away before the next icy blast would send me to my feet once again. I was right. Well, let's just say that by the time I was done in there I had done a mini-workout of squats, my backside was cool and refreshed, and I had repeatedly cursed the conveniences of the self-flushing toilets in the Brandon Shopper's Mall.

So, having said all that, I did not get all that much shopping done on Friday. Today it is insanely cold out and Mike is off work as a result, hence the reason I actually have time to post in here. I was considering going in to town to shop, despite the bitterness of the weather, but I'm not sure that I'm up for it anyway. My stomach seems to be having issues this morning too so I may be forced to remain at home. That's probably good considering the intense coldness outside. With the wind chill right now it is -42 degrees, so if I were to have car trouble, it would be serious. I guess I'm going to have to leave my shopping until next week, which I don't want to do!

I also cut Jamie down to nursing once a day at bedtime, as of Saturday morning. This morning for the first time he drank a whole bottle of milk. Yay! That makes me feel a lot better about things. He was barely drinking anything at all before. I have many more stories to share about Cody, but I think I'm going to have to sign off for now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ode to my Mom and Christmas Baking

This has been a pretty decent week so far. Cody has been pretty good, although Jamie is sick. Not sure what is wrong with him, but he has been very out of sorts, and I even had to nurse him at 2am a few nights ago. That is extremely unusual for him, but he was so hysterical, it was the only thing that calmed him down. However, he seems to be doing better today.

My Mom and my younger sister came out today and we did some baking. My family has a traditional dessert every Christmas that is not all that well-known around here. It's called Venetarta (although if you Google that it is probably spelled Vinatarta), and it is an Icelandic cake with several cookie-like layers spread with a prune filling, and iced with almond-flavored icing. Okay, so it does not sound all that delicious. Well, I don't think it sounds good from the description either, but trust me, it is good. There are many different ways to make it, and I have had some that were not all that good, but my Mom's recipe (which is actually her Mom's recipe) is delicious, and she is now passing the tradition on to me and my sisters so that we can make our own at Christmas. It is a lot of work, but it is worth it in the end. My older sister's husband didn't think it was all that when he first tried it. Neither did my husband. Now they are both just as hooked as the rest of my family. My younger sister just got married in August, and wouldn't you know it, her husband is not thrilled with it either. The rest of us know it is only a matter of time before he is singing its praises too! Anyway, we had a good time baking Venetarta and butter tarts. Mmmm! Good! And of course, I got so much more done with my Mom around because she is so ultra-efficient! I hope some day I will be as efficient as she is. The nice thing is, she is not only efficient, she is also very pleasant to have around. I guess I'm just saying that I really appreciate my Mom and I hope that I am somewhat like her. That's all for now.