Christmas Past, may be summarized in one word: snow. Those of you around last year, may remember some of the snowy highlights. The holidays were spent navigating the snow, being housebound because of the snow, or shoveling the stuff.
Honestly, it was the best Christmas because I kind of liked being stuck at home and here was the amazing part: Jackson didn't mind it either. His mood is the largest determining factor of mine. He was happy to play on the computer, do the occasional craft and go out and go sledding down our street 3 times a day. Sydney for her part, loves to be at home. She was more than happy to go outside too, as that always means a cup of hot chocolate when we came in. To coin a phrase of the Girlie Goo "it was the awesomest".
Christmas Present is not at all snowy. It hasn't even been rainy until today, December 30th. It's been crisp and cold. Husband and were optomistic about the holidays. After all last year was awesome and we were stuck at home for days on end. This year, we'll be able to get out and do a few things, PLUS we have the Wii, so really, piece of cake.
Husband and I were careful to schedule one fun-outside-the-house-activity (at least) after Boxing Day (December 26th for the non-Canadians out there) when Jackson spent WAY TOO MUCH time on the computer and the Wii. At about dinner time he was blowing gaskets over unreasonable questions like "what do you want for dinner?".
Sydney was complaining she couldn't have three turns in a row on the Wii.
That night, I put a moratorium on the Wii until the intermission of the hockey game. There was some griping but the kids then actually PLAYED together creatively. These found some cars and some mini pots of paints and some Lindt chocolates (which were bombs) and created some kind of conflict that entertained them until bedtime and even forgot about intermission Wii time. But we learned our lesson about too much screen time.
On December 27th, we went to church, which is always good as it gets us out of the house and for the 30 minutes they are in Sunday school they are not only getting fed spiritually, they are not annoying us.
That evening we all went to my parents for Chinese to celebrate Husband's birthday. Sydney has been requesting a sleepover at Oma and Opa's and they obliged that night. It was fantastic ... Husband and I got the Wii all to ourselves! And we got to sleep in and also figure out what was wrong with the dishwasher and get a new part. We didn't get home with the kids until about 3 pm the next day and I left at 4 pm for a baby shower.
December 29th, we played Wii together and then I took the kids to see the movie, Alvin and Chipmonks Squeakquel which we loved. Husband does not share out love of the chipmonks as evidenced by his desire to stay home and do laundry instead. That night we drove around looking at houses with 2,457,688 gigawatts worth of Christmas lights. We cracked open one of Jackson's gifts, Monopoly Junior and played a game. You'd think with all that fun, Jackson would be on an even keel.
He refused to go to bed. I took away computer, Wii, DS and threatened to make him stay home from the next days yet-unannounced fun activity. When I told him the plans (Vancouver Aquarium) he grudgingly went to bed.
Today, December 30th, started off well enough. Jackson earned back his Wii and I told the kids they both needed to get 30 Fit-credits on the Wii fit before we went to the Aquarium. They obliged and played only requiring parental intervention every 5 minutes. And Jackson worked on a rocket he is painting. We played more Monopoly Junior. Sydney was exasperatingly silly and repeatedly knocking the board, not paying attention, rolling the die for 5 minutes every turn and making jokes involved "poo" and "pee" repeatedly.
When it was time to leave for the Aquarium I looked her straight in the eye and made her promise to not drive me crazy. I should have done the same with Jackson, who until our leaving, was having a good day.
The Aquarium went well enough once we finally found parking. We went pretty late in the day. We actually were gifted (last Christmas) a year long pass that we only got around to redeemed today so we planned to just go for a short turn, knowing we can go often over the next year. We planned to eat dinner out and another activity later. Apparently we were not the only ones with the same Aquarium idea. Anyway, despite the 4D movie being sold out, we had a good time. The jellyfish were amazing, and the kids were good.
I will digress and say it was beyond the pale that there was a woman breast feeding right in front of a major display surrounded by people. She was literally leaning against a big tank of sea creatures. I have an EIGHT YEAR OLD BOY. And he's curious. Now I am not one of those people that think breastfeeding women should be locked up. But for the sake of parents of EIGHT YEAR OLD BOYS, can you find a bench somewhere, and like, not perch yourself on the tank that has "slime stars" that EIGHT YEAR OLD BOYS really dig?
Anyway, the kids were getting a little rambunctious so we left for the long walk to our parking space. Those of you that know the labrynth that is Stanley Park in Vancouver with rush hour restrictions, getting to North Vancouver is a circuitous route. The kids were getting squirrelly so I started a game. "Everyone think of a piece of clothing starting with S". We all came up with one. "A kind of food that starts with S" "A name" "A game". "Something that Grows".
At "something that grows" that starts with S, Jackson says "Suicide Flower", which makes my blood boil. He once played (without our knowledge or permission) a game called "Stickicide", which is stick figures committing suicide. The game has long been banned by us, and we've gone into GREAT detail about why we think it is inappropriate. But Jackson will use the term, which I find highly offensive. I told him AGAIN that he is not to make light of that and suicide is something serious and sad.
We continued the game and he starts making up answers with synonyms for the A word, and I tell him to stop. He continues and he is banned from the game. And he still continues, and I am ready to leave him by the curb in Stanley Park. Really, I am ready to abort mission for the evening but I know the boy will be getting hungry it would be an even longer ride home if he doesn't eat.
He rallies in White Spot during dinner and we tell them of our plans to see the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is a big Vancouver tourist attraction, and they have done it up in lights. And we just happen to have free passes. The kids rally and put away their sillies.
Until the ride home. And the body humour starts, and they are fake-belching, and other really annoying things that we often just ignore, but Jackson burned through our patience quota hours ago. I demand silence and Jackson, who thinks I don't have eyes on the back of my head, is mocking me as he mouths blah blah blah while I am lecturing.
Then we told them about next Christmas holidays:
Mommy and Daddy are going away on a lovely vacation.
"But who will take care of us?" Sydney asks.
"We'll send you to homework camp. Like sleepover homework camp. Homework boot camp."
"That's fine with me, I love homework." Sydney says.
"Oh and there is a 10 mile hike around the lake every morning" I say. The one thing Sydney hated at camp last summer was the ONE walk of about 2 miles they did one day.