One of my favourite types of days on the west coast is a clear sunny cold day in the winter. I remember when I was at UBC back in the early days and it was hard to stay inside the old Chem building on a January day when I could see the sun bursting through the small stained glass windows. I often escaped down to Jericho beach for a walk in the sun, feeling the coldness bite at my skin.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday were glory days here (if you like cold and crisp and clear). I changed plans at work on Thursday so I could take two groups of five year olds out for a winter walk and to observe the natural world around us.
On Friday, while out and about doing errands, I took my tea down to Kits beach for a walk and to take in the glorious blue skies and snow capped mountains.
On Saturday, Colin played a soccer game on a very chilly Saturday morning under a bright winter sun.
And then later on Saturday, I took Adam out to practice his driving. We drove along the south dyke and at one point, Adam said, "Mom, nature is distracting me" because it was really so gosh darn beautiful out there.
We are wanting for a few more days at home. After the busy-ness of Christmas, New Years and Adam's birthday, we always feel like we are just starting to be restful and the boom, we are right back at it again. Adam has got in lots of driving practice and is gaining confidence. Neil took the boys skiing up at Seymour - they definitely prefer spring skiing but had a great time!
(poor iPhone photo but thanks to Neil for taking it for me...always feel like I'm missing out!)
Monday is fencing, Tuesday is PAC, Wednesday is soccer and hockey, Thursday is fencing, Friday is hockey and Saturday is soccer again which of course the boys are glad to be back at. Oh, and there will be homework too as the boy's first semester is coming to an end. So tonight we had dinner together and a celebratory end of the holidays pavlova for dessert.
I am going to be focused on seeing the joy in things this week...will help me get through this always tough week back at it!
We spent new year's eve at home, having dinner, playing lots of card games and the boys got up to their usual shenanigans. Belly laughs and fun all around. Colin claims to have made the first new year's confetti angel ever. And just after midnight, we all wished Adam a very happy 16th birthday!
We could see it as we walked out of our hotel, all special for the holidays with the Christmas tree on top. The boys humoured me with a quick iphone photo on the go!
We had dinner at our favourite pizza place in Seattle...Bambino's. Neil doesn't really like pizza but he will eat this pizza. It is cooked in a wood fire oven right in front of you and the sauce is just so so fresh and there are a great selection of foody toppings.
After breakfast, we walked over to Seattle Center to take in the King Tut exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. As we were waiting for our ticket time (so glad we pre-bought tickets as they were sold out for the day!), we saw a display of artifacts from the 1978 exhibit. I squealed when I saw the book I had purchased when I visited that exhibit as a school field trip when I was in grade seven! I still remember the feeling of awe I felt as I looked at the treasures from King Tut's tomb when I was thirteen and hoped the boys would feel the same way after seeing this new exhibit.
We were not disappointed, except for the no photos in the exhibit rule! There were ten exhibit rooms, with the last four holding the treasures found in the four parts of King Tut's tomb. After an introduction to the history of the Egyptian pharoahs and other archaelogical sites and treasures found in Egypt, the timeline of finding King Tut's tomb was shared. Adam was miffed that the water boy who actually found the stairs to the tomb got one mention while Howard Carter got all the glory! Colin was amazed by the amount of gold in the artifacts and wondered about the time it must have taken to create such treasures. We all thought the cat casket was memorable as was the very embellished mini-coffin for King Tut's embalmed stomach. The mini-animation showing all the levels of security that helped keep King Tut's remains safe for over 3000 years was very well done. Neil commented it was kind of like watching matroushka dolls getting opened over and over again until we finally got to the solid gold death mask and the remains. The variety and amount of artifacts on display was amazing and just like I did in grade seven, I bought the book with images from the exhibit and hope the boys will remember the experience the way I have for all these years!
After our visit to the exhibit, we picked up doughnuts at Top Pot and then had a late lunch at a diner before we hit the road home. So glad that we made it to this exhibit finally and the little family getaway to Seattle was a nice way to start the post-Christmas part of our holidays!
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were quiet days full of family. I took photos of the boys in front of the tree as per tradition...
and played with getting the bokeh just right (this little snowglobe met its demise during dinner!)
Neil's brother and dad joined us for Christmas Eve dinner...
and then we headed out for our traditional Christmas Eve drive to look at the lights while enjoying hot chocolate.
Christmas morning was a late start with traditions such as stockings and sticky buns.
and then Christmas brunch with Grandpa and Glenn and then a bit of an afternoon nap before heading to my parents for Christmas dinner. This was our first Christmas without any cousins (or my sisters!).
I almost didn't post this tonight. This weekend has been almost consumed by reading the news about the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I was in a meeting downtown on Friday and didn't have access to any news until we stepped out for lunch and I could not believe what I was reading and seeing on my phone. Gut renching, heart breaking, stunned disbelief. And then the sense that I needed to get home as soon as I could to see and hug my boys.
The weekend did have pockets of goodness...
Colin's soccer team won the Richmond Cup for their division on Saturday afternoon. There was snowy rain coming down and the coaching staff set up a tent with heaters and hot chocolate for the boys. This clearly helped as they won 6-1 and were very excited about their medals and cup win!
There was much baking and a cookie exchange with friends on Saturday evening.
Being all educators and mothers, there was much talk about Newtown. So hard to process.
On Sunday there was usual Sunday stuff and dessert preparations for our early family Christmas dinner with my parents and sister's family. They are off to Thailand for three weeks this Friday and this is the first Christmas since we've all had grandchildren that our families won't be together for the holidays.
My sister, who is training to be a counsellor, and I had lots to connect about. We both are talkers - we like to talk things out and sort things out in our head by talking. So much to talk about and so much to feel thankful for.
As more and more news comes out about the shootings, and the faces of the little ones lost to this Earth are shared, I can't even imagine how those children and teachers felt. I am so struggling with the WHY of all of this...is the answer gun control? better support and understanding of those with mental illness? is this a reflection of a society that is becoming more and more broken?
At this point, I can only hope that this tragedy will be an impetus for change.
As we drove by St. Paul's Hospital this evening on our way home, I snapped a quick (aka blurry) photo of the Lights of Hope and sent my thoughts to the community of Newtown for support and healing.
And I was thankful for the goodness that is in my life.
Twelve photos on the twelfth day of the month following Ella's Take 12 photo challenge. This month's prompt was inspired by the upcoming Christmas season and taking time to pause and notice the details of December through the lens of a camera.
Today's date was also significant and I'll be doing a mini book using today's photos to capture our life on 12/12/12. It was a regular Wednesday for us...school, work, homework, soccer practice and a hockey game but is was also International Hot Chocolate Day so the boys and I enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate late this afternoon to celebrate...at 4:30 when it was already dark outside!
So the details captured...signs of the holidays around the house such as candles, Santa, Christmas cards, the snowmen on the living room mantel, the clock at work at 12:12 on 12/12/12, the setting sun on my drive home, a child's piece of artwork on display at work, hot chocolate, hockey and soccer and our home lit up for the holidays. Oh, and two very important details in my life...the boys!
Thanks for coming along for the 12 on 12 ride with me! For 2013, I think I might go back and look at some of the alternate projects that were part of the Take 12 package and think about those. Doing photo challenges helps me see the world a little differently and notice and capture things I might not otherwise.