We had a fun birthday party for Kenan today.  Invited over 4 of his friends from school and a neighbor girl to play with Shana.  It was the easiest birthday party we have ever done:  we rented a bouncy tent and just let them play.  It was a risk…they might get wild and crazy with no structure…but apparently there was enough room for the wildness because we had no injuries or meltdowns or any other problems.  Nate also made animal balloons for them, everyone loves balloons!

Everyone loves cake too!  What a cutie!

The cake was dinosaurs playing soccer.

Kenan can read his own cards now!


The snake hot dogs I made them for lunch!  

Happy Birthday to the most adorable seven year old I know!  We love you Kenan!




Happy 2011 Everyone!

I hope you celebrated in style!  We celebrated in our own quirky style, and thought we’d share!

Late night snack of warm apple cider with cinnamon sticks and yummy sticky cinnamon buns.

(Ordered online and had delivered with our groceries, as befits our current state of house management.)

We watched the ball drop in NYC at 10pm our time, and counted down with plenty of confetti!  That was sure fun!

Then we got ready for bed and let the kids stay up in bed until midnight if they could, by the time we got them settled it was already 11, so they made it to midnight no problem, then I think Kenan had the sense to go to sleep but Shana stayed up making crafts to greet us in the hallway on New Year’s Day!

We really liked that confetti!

Here’s to a great 2011!  


We had a wonderful Christmas these last few days and and did not let a little old lupus flare up get in the way of a joyful and family-centered celebration.   Of course, the lupus flare up necessitated it being family centered…but we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Christmas Eve, we read Luke 2, the Christmas story from the Bible, and gave each of us a part of it to read.  Even Kenan!  He was very proud of his part and read:

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

We also acted out little bits of the story, which made it seem more real to all of us.  Mommy got the parts where she could just sit on the couch, of course!


Late at night, and the stockings were stuffed…

All the gifts under the tree….

Merry Christmas Morning!  We’re ready to open the gifts!

I’ve been wondering what’s in this one….

It was new train set pieces from Mommy and Daddy!  (So they can play with the train set for the next week of vacation!)  Below is a joint gift they are actually cooperating on opening, and here is the Reader Kenan again, wanting to read the card first!  “To Shana and Kenan, from Grandpa A and Grandma B”

All those gifts made us hungry for the perfect Christmas morning brunch…waffles with the works!

And I mean the works!  Yes, Mom and Dad, we finished up that chocolate sauce that was languishing in your fridge.  Yum yum!

Later on in the evening we actually managed dinner too, and Shana made us a pumpkin pie for dessert!   She was given the recipe and mixed it up without much supervision at all, I think Nate helped her pour it in the crust, but we didn’t check her seasonings or measurements to anything!  Not only did it turn out beautifully, but was delicious as well!  Good Job Shana!

With love to all our family and friends out there, may you have had a blessed Christmas as well.  Yeshua has come!

We went on a fun family outing the other night, we all put on our jammies and piled in the car and drove to view some houses with extra special Christmas light displays.  They were set to music transmitted at a particular FM frequency!  There is a website ( where people with fancy light displays around Calgary can register, and we saw 3 amazing and elaborate Christmas decorations all to jammin’ music!  These were not fancy houses in rich neighborhoods, just regular people who probably could live in a bigger house if they didn’t spend $10, 000 on their Christmas light display!

We couldn’t manage to upload the video, so you’ll have to imagine!

I’d love to see one with a Nativity, and choir of angels, and music that spoke of Jesus…maybe Handel’s Messiah or something.  Anyone up for the challenge?

The real highlights from our time in Chicago can’t be posted in a blog:  catching up with old friends from childhood and college days; sharing time with family; Justin & Judy’s idyllic back yard; hanging out with Shawna & Joel at the neighbourhood pool (twice!); visiting Helen’s old haunts…

The real highlights will have to remain memories.  But at least we can blog some of the photo highlights…

Visiting Legoland


It was so cool (weather aside) to go to a real baseball game (Schaumburg Flyers) with Grandpa and Uncle Andy!  Front-row seats; ice cream that melted so quickly the cones were soggy; and getting a real baseball autographed…


Swimming was a major theme throughout our week in record-hot Chicago, whether at our hotel pool, wading pools, community pools, or a hippo-themed water park at a mall, we were always happy to be wet.

Or in the shade…


Real double-crusted Chicago-style pizza, from the source!  “Does this cheese ever end?!”


We miss you already, Uncle Andy and Grandpa!

Future preacher!

The beach was actually only one day squeezed into a busy week.  Our real reason for going to Florida was for a nephew (once removed)’s bar mitzvah.  Mazel tov, Zach!

Shana and Kenan were good sports through the long services Friday evening and Saturday morning, but they really loved dressing up for the fancy dinner Saturday night at a newly renovated historical house.

Snazzy clothes, their very own kids' table (when Mommy isn't snooping), and candy on their plates.

We spent lots of time with family–Helen’s cousins and aunts and uncles–but also enjoyed sharing our rented bungalow with her sister Susan, Joseph…

…and their son Ishi.

Hey there's a camera on me, I'd better act up!

Look, a camera! I'd better act up!

Sometimes we’d all just zone out watching TV…

… or reading our books …

Of course we saved time for ice cream!

And did I mention we spent a day at the beach?

Before we knew it, it was time to pack everything back up and go home.

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