Wednesday, March 26, 2008

easter weekend

we had a lovely easter weekend, celebrating with aaron's family and maryka and kevin. (although we were certainly missing our north shore friends and the christ church hullabaloo!) we hosted a pre-easter-vigil dinner here on saturday, which i know is sort of cheating, but it just worked out. we had a yummy ham and potatoes dinner, along with cakes from maryka and aaron's mom and truffles made by aaron. the weather was lovely and the easter egg hunt in our yard was a big hit with noah and kate. at first noah was super generous, handing over all his eggs to kate, but then it seemed to dawn on him that it was a competition, and he got a bit more possessive. you can see the video in the post below.

we also kicked off the first annual secret bunny basket trade, where we all made simple baskets filled with less than $10 worth of treats, crafts, gifts, etc. it turned out to be a big hit. aaron's brother colin says we should do this sort of exchange for every major holiday, and by major he means president's day, canada day, columbus day, etc. we'll see! (the basket i made was really a bag with a "faerie tree" freezer-paper stenciled on the front. you can see it slightly in the picture.)

i also had a lot of fun putting together noah's basket. i ended up choosing the book "the story of easter" by aileen fischer, and he likes to look at the pictures. he identifies jesus on each page, but seems more intrigued by the easter egg trees and the spring solstice dancers. maybe next year we'll make an egg tree. and the little wooden eggs are fun--i thought maybe next year we could paint those. the harmonica replaces the one that we left with grandpa wedell last fall. noah is pretty good at playing it already. he likes the little wooden elephant too, and the train switch track really opens up new worlds of track laying. i also made him a little icon from a picture i found online, of mary and a resurrected jesus surrounded by angels.

the easter vigil at our church was beautiful, but not nearly the pomp and circumstance i'm used to from easters of yore. maryka and i rang our bells with gusto, though we were in the minority. oh well! and noah stayed home and snoozed with grandma, which worked out just fine.

on sunday we went north to ladner, where we feasted again on an amazing million-course brunch at aaron's parents' house. kate was a bit under the weather, but that didn't stop her and noah from feeding the ducks, hassling the bunnies and enjoying a raucous bath together. (see the video in the post below.) and they shared their cousin-ly love.

more pictures from the weekend here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

easter egg hunt (a movie)

noah and kate search for easter eggs this weekend in our front yard

bath splashing (a movie)

kate and noah go crazy in grandma's tub

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

tradition, tradition!

as easter approaches, i've been thinking a lot about how to celebrate it (and other holidays) with noah. for me, easter is the most special holiday of the year, and it's the biggest feast day in the church year. but easter is preceded by lent and holy week, which are neither very celebratory or very easy to explain to a child. but i don't want to skip over these hard parts with noah, and go right to the feasting. he's really still too young, but at some point i'd love for him to think about his own lenten discipline, and to ponder jesus's story, and to understand the sadness in the story that comes before the joy.

i've been looking for good children's easter books to help tell the story, and my favorite is jan pienkowski's easter. it's basically just the biblical story in the king james version, but the illustrations (beautiful silhouette characters and textured gold leaf detail) are what make it remarkable. one reviewer said she appreciated how the silhouettes make the story a bit less scary for children, and let them fill in their own ideas about what the characters are feeling. unfortunately it's out of print, but our library has it.

for this year, though, i was looking for something a little bit younger, and i finally settled on the story of easter by aileen fischer. it begins with a telling of jesus's final days, but then she goes on to tell a brief history of easter traditions, beginning with solstice celebrations and moving forward through easter european egg-decorating to modern-day easter egg hunts and fancy hats. the illustrations are also really classy.

a few other fun books i found:

rechenka's eggs by patricia polacco tells the story of a ukrainian woman decorating eggs for a festival, and how the goose she saves from death turns magical.

the birds' gift by eric kimmel, tells the story of a town graciously sheltering its wild birds during a harsh winter and how the birds repay the townsfolk in the spring.

and margaret wise brown's the golden egg book is a silly story of a bunny and a chick becoming good friends.

i'm excited also to share the joy of easter with noah. primarily this means (or will mean, once he can understand) the joy of christ's resurrection, which hopefully will be made real through our lenten and holy week observances, reading and storytelling, the symbolism of darkness turning to light and quiet solemnity into raucous bell-ringing... but i also want to make a space for the light-hearted joy of a springtime celebration with family and friends. i'm not sure exactly what shape that celebration will take over the years, but i imagine it will involve good food, easter egg dyeing and hunting, and the trading of special gifts. i'm still working on an easter basket for noah, which i hope will contain items that both point toward christ's resurrection but are also plain fun for him.

i especially love christina and sarah's lenten and easter gardens for how they help children see a tangible difference in the seasons. you can see sarah's lenten garden here. and here is a picture from christmas of the star path christina made for mary to progress on toward christmas. it was lovely. they have both used the book all year round by ann druitt to help them establish beautiful and concrete ways to help their children incarnate the changes of the seasons, the church year and holidays and festivals. i think i should get a copy of my own soon.

i would love to hear more ideas on meaningful and fun family traditions for easter and other important holidays!

retching and quickening

this weekend was crazy. the craziness started friday afternoon when i got noah up from his nap and found that he had thrown up all over his crib. he was so confused, sad-looking and pale. the poor little guy threw up quite a few more times that night, and probably had four baths. and it was so weird to see him so wan and lifeless. even a visit from grandpa that night didn't seem to liven his spirits. (when normally he talks about grandpa all day long!)

but i have to admit that while it's terrible to see your child suffering, it's also a great opportunity to cuddle with them a ton. i felt really sorry for noah being sick, but i also loved having him snuggle with me on the couch and in bed. it is so hard for me to think that as he continues to grow, his desire to snuggle with his mama will continue to lessen. what a hard thing! and a great reason to have more babies, i suppose...

which leads me to the quickening part of this post: on saturday i felt this tiny one move inside me for the first time! it was shortly after i myself had gotten sick, so maybe the little one was protesting to the violent contractions. but i am certain it was him/her and not sickness that i felt. and since then i've felt it more and more. it's really exciting, and helps bring a sense of reality to something i still haven't quite grasped. i'm really looking forward to stronger movements that noah will be able to feel. i'm betting that will help him bond with this little one too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

monday night music

at our monday night dinners we're often treated to some lovely live music from lily (with kevin and maryka as back-up). noah has been really into lily, the music and her banjo (in that order), which was a bit of a shocker to us non-musical parents. but it's exciting to think that he might be into something that neither of us knows anything about. anyway, lily told aaron about the possibility of making a banjo for noah out of an old cookie tin, and of course aaron got psyched about that project right away. he did some research and came up with this beautiful little banjo. (the cool tin is from barbara.) noah likes it but probably won't be auditioning for old crow medicine show anytime soon. we're working on figuring out how to play "itsy bitsy spider," his current favorite song.

and here's a video from last week of lily (on banjo) and her friend patrick (on fiddle) playing "pig in a pen." noah is dancing and shaking his maraca.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

irene crossing the finish line!

today we went up to vancouver to watch irene participate in the UBC triathalon. she swam, then biked, then ran. she did awesome!! we were all totally wowed by her sheer athleticism (not that it was a secret). i felt really tired at the end of the day, probably from vicarious exhaustion.

noah liked watching the swimming portion the best. he kept pointing out that the swimmers were wearing hats. maybe aunt irene will take him under her wing and start teaching him how to be hardcore. he did wow us by walking home about 8 blocks the other night after a friend's barbeque. he has WAY more energy than i do lately. if only he could do the dishes!

more pictures from the day here.

irene swimming at the UBC triathalon

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

it's a baby!

a teeny tiny one--about six inches or so now at 16 weeks. crazy how it can be so tiny and look so baby-like already!

today we had our first ultrasound, mainly with the purpose of determining a due date. which is a bit silly to me, since i am 100% sure of the conception date, but my word doesn't count as empirical evidence. (although the technician confirmed my claim.) but that's okay. it was fun to see this little one inside me, wiggling all around, waving its arms and kicking its legs. and reassuring to know it's really a baby and not a little bunny or something...

i had this lovely vision of noah seeing the image of his new sibling on the screen and really bonding with it, understanding that this little baby is in his mama's belly and will someday come out and play with him. that vision lasted about two seconds, and was soon replaced with real visions of noah playing peek-a-boo with aaron behind the privacy curtain, climbing up onto the bed with me and trying to steal the wand away from the ultrasound technician. this doesn't have any bearing on his future relationship with this little one, does it?

whistler weekend 2008

through some amazing work connection, aaron's dad has been able to organize a relatively free family weekend in whistler for the past three years. it is one of my favorite weekends of the year. think cozy condo, fireplace, hot tub, games, junk food, watching "the office," seinfeld and saturday night live, lots of people giving noah attention, awesome cross-country skiing, sledding, gawking at prices in the whistler village shops, more junk food, more games, and best of all (according to noah), zillions of construction vehicles hard at work all along the sea-to-sky highway!

sunday afternoon aaron, irene, grandpa, noah and i spent a few hours cross-country skiing-- definitely for me the highlight of the trip. we did some really fun trails with ups and downs, and the sun was out and it was warm and lovely. noah chilled in his little sled, with a snowball throwing break mid-trip and a snooze at the end.

we also got to take a free ride up the blackcomb ski gondola, quite high up the mountain. it was snowy and overcast, so we couldn't see the lay of the land, but the ride itself was quite the thrill, especially for noah.

and on the way home, we stopped to visit bandstra transport, and noah got to "drive" a forklift and ride around the yard in a big bandstra truck. he was in vehicle heaven. grandpa definitely has the keys to this little boy's heart!

more pictures from the weekend here.

sledding with daddy (a movie)


sledding with grandpa (a movie)

noah sleds down a hill with grandpa behind our condo in whistler

bandstra truck ride (a movie)

grandpa takes noah for a ride around the yard in a bandstra truck.

skiing with aunt irene (a movie)

sherpa irene takes a turn pulling noah in his cozy sled