24 December 2010

A canadian christmas miracle

just in time, the government sent us our renewed work permits.

the work permits we first got when we entered canada expire december 31, 2010. so in october dave got his new work contract made up so that he could submit it to immigration services and apply for a new work permit. we thought it made most sense to apply online, so he did that...on november 5.

after several weeks of having nothing come in the mail, dave went back to the website and noted that it can take 8 weeks to process the request if you apply online, or 4 weeks if you go in person! ugh. by then we had already booked our flight to florida for the holidays. we are to be gone december 25-january 1. and january 1 would put us as trying to enter canada on an expired work permit. so, we printed out all the paperwork we had proving that we had applied to renew our permits and hoped like hell that the real thing would come in the mail. otherwise we would have to travel with Xs canadian passport and give them some sob story about how our anchor baby needs to get back to her canadian home full of toys.

well, thankfully, today, the last day the postal service runs before we leave on vacation, we saw two brown government envelopes sitting in our mailbox. joy to the world, a miracle has occurred! we are now legal to move about the world. yay.

22 December 2010

Solstice ceiling surprise

happy first winter solstice to X. and a lunar eclipse to commemorate the day as well!

yup. here it is folks. the entry. i'll make it short so as not to sound pretentious, cuz thats not the message im trying to send. basically, we dont celebrate christmas. and this year is the first year we could really make our mark on that statement.

yes, we both came from households that celebrated christmas. they both were detached from the the religious meaning of the holiday though and so it was all santa and presents based. and that is fine. i realize that is how a large portion of people experience it in their families. but to us, the day is a religious holiday (a religion we arent a part of) which, over the years, has morphed in to parents attacking other parents, sometimes killing them, to get the hottest toys for their kids, people going into SERIOUS debt to show their friends and family how much they are "loved," and just a generally over-the-top, ostentatious-type circus that we tend to shy away from on a regular day to day basis.

now, i love family meals, traditions, and warm fuzzy cozy memories indoors while a winter wonderland of beauty is outside. i do. i love it. i just dont have any attachment to the religious reason that december 25 is celebrated by so many around the world. therefore, it is much easier to make the winter solstice, a day that always hovers near christmas day, our chosen day to celebrate the season. family meals, traditions, warm fuzzy cozy memories and winter wonderlands can all still be appreciated under this scheme. and should we have a house one day, i see no reason why pine scented wreaths/clippings, winter decorations, etc. cant enter our house, or yummy cookies cant be baked and decorated in our kitchen. we just wont be bringing santa, or jesus, or dreidels, or the like into the mix.

anyway, our first solstice tradition apparently chose us rather than us choosing it. and i like it that way...we had been noticing X looking up all the time. inside, outside. always gazing skyward. leaves on trees, rooftops, light fixtures, ceiling fans, "exit" signs, fire alarm bells. she is always craning her neck to see something. with christmas decorations coming out around town, she has had even more to see, and i found her often entranced by the cut-out snowflakes hanging from the ceiling at the library (it helped that they were near an air duct that made the snowflakes dance). i loved how it captured her attention and thought it would be fun to buy some good paper and cut some snowflakes of our own and decorate our drab apartment with them.

so, we recently went to the art supply store down the street from us and bought some white drawing paper to make the snowflakes. near the register i also saw a colorful strand of butterflies. had to get it. back at home, we hung the butterflies up and Xs face lit up. since then, she has "kissed" just about every butterfly in her reach...and it now looks like a butterfly graveyard...but she is still in love with them. this then inspired me to step into our local "hippie/world handicrafts/head shop" and see what they might have to offer. SO cool. their entire ceiling and walls are covered in eye catching decorations. i chose a $5 mobile of wooden vegetables (serious kitsch factor, plus X can practice her food words) and a short strand of hand painted beads with two hand painted elephants and a magical tinkling silver bell at the end of it. at the register they even threw in one silver and one pink star decoration for free. bonus!

now we have a serious and seriously diverse collection of ceiling decorations...all for under $40. we cut up some snowflakes one night while X was asleep (and we were watching Dexter, season 5) and recently bought two more colorful strands from the art store (one with hearts and one with birds). without really planning it, we basically jump started our first real solstice celebration.

so last night, after X went to sleep, dave and i hung our new treasures from the ugly tiled drop ceiling in our living room. and i think it turned out pretty great. i know it sure brightens up my mood to see all the life and color around me. instant character and instant fascination. i was very interested to see Xs reaction in the morning...something akin to a child running downstairs to look under the christmas tree to see what santa brought.

well, X slept until 9a this morning, but when she finally opened her eyes dave was there to pick her up and take her out into the living room. i thought she might be groggy (as she is every morning) and not notice at first. but right away her mouth dropped open and she was looking around. twirling her head in every direction. she wanted to see everything at once and then see it again and again. she was smiling and excited. it was great. perfect reaction.

the whole day she has been staring at the ceiling. smiling. craning. bouncing with excitement. reaching out to try and convince me to carry her over and let her touch them. and occasionally kissing the ones she gets her little mitts on.

we finished the day with a comfort meal of homemade mexican food (although, we had the idea to order a pheasant from our farmers market, we chickened out...for now at least) and more ceiling gazing. it was a nice first solstice celebration and i look forward to building on it next year. another ceiling hanging (or two), maybe a more special meal, maybe another tradition will find us. and maybe, we will find equally special ways to celebrate the other solstice/equinox days throughout the year. this could be the start of something fun.

(Xs first looks at the ceiling this morning)

19 December 2010

Serendipitous sunday

nice little sunday we had. even found a few new places.

stepped out into the sunshine this morning on our walk to the grocery store for ingredients for "soup sunday." carried X in backpack mode in our carrier, which she has recently agreed to, and she was positively giddy about being outside. bouncing and smiling the whole way. so cute.

anyway, after the grocery store and a nap we got in the car to take a look at a couple new places in dartmouth. i somehow recently found out about another cafe/bakery, so of course, we had to go. i think weve pretty much eaten all the sweets and sandwiches available in our area now.

when we walked into the edgewood cafe is was surprisingly crowded. with kids. weird. we luckily found a table though and i ordered our sandwiches and sweets (a cranberry square, gingerbread man, maple shortbread, and raisin butter tart...i had to try this many things to make a fair assessment...) and sat down. then, santa come into the store. it was obviously some pre-planned thing because he had toys with kids names on them. but he was a very convincingly dressed santa and with all the kids in the bakery it made it a fun time. X thoroughly enjoyed herself by smiling at everyone and eating her tomato slices, chicken pieces, and bakery bread. she even said hi to santa before we left. a cute place with decent treats and great prices.

next stop was to a new kids store called fiddleheads. i had heard about it from my momma group and wanted to check out what they were throwing in to the local baby store mix. they have a nice space right on a lake in dartmouth and a decent size show room. lots and lots of safe, non-toxic, colorful, fun kids toys and other baby essentials (wraps/carriers, bath stuff, eating gear, sleeping stuff, etc). we got a great local handmade rattle for $8, a cool manhattan brand wooden toy for our upcoming airplane ride to florida, and a sample of this new diaper detergent i have been hearing moms rave about. rockin green soap. i'll give it a try. the store employee was friendly and helpful, just as i had hoped, and, overall, i look forward to shopping there again in the future.

later that night, our days positive vibes were still flowing. dave was able to make a yummy soup that is basically my new favorite thing. its a weird one with zucchini, red lentils, couscous, carrots, etc. but it had a great flavor and texture and with the added chicken and crushed red pepper it was a perfectly well-rounded meal. i like when potentially average days can turn out so well.