Ah, the year in review, always required at this time of year.
It has been an eventful year, as usual.
Christmas eve, the second hamster bit the dust (and is now residing in three plastic bags inside the barbecue, quite thoroughly frozen – don’t tell the dinner guests – it is right beside the lovely Christmas baking I was planning to serve). Last week, Jack’s name came up in a draw to skate with our local professional hockey team right before a home game. He got to do a few laps of the ice with the boys and stand at the blue line during O Canada. He was justifiably nervous, making two trips to the bathroom within five minutes of arriving at the arena. This picture was taken during O Canada – shortly after the big guy just to the right of Jack patted him on the helmet. They were very nice, and quite professional. It might have been the next day that Jack scored a spectacular top shelf goal in his own hockey game – he’s still talking about both events – major watersheds for a boy who’s almost 8.
It’s really exciting to watch my children go from generic little kids to people with opinions and tastes and style. The both got iPods for Christmas. Aimee’s is full of High School Musical and Hilary Duff, Jack’s has Bon Jovi and Van Halen and Twisted Sister. Each kid has a preferred style of clothing, borrowed heavily from their friends, but nonetheless not mine. It’s a bit of a relief, actually, – now I can refuse to buy them anything unless they are along to approve. Thankfully, brand names have not entered the vocabulary yet – but I’m sure that’s not far off. We still struggle with Jack’s rage issues, but those seem to be slowly eclipsed by Aimee’s pre-teen angst (every once in a while we get the “nobody loves me” song – yes, she has made up a song about how nobody loves her, which is sung when she is particularly desperate for attention). Overall, though, they seem to be on the right track, since the teachers and friends’ parents swear they are impeccably behaved when out of parents’ earshot. I guess it’s the parents, then. Our family activities are getting much more varied and interesting, too. Earlier this month I took them to see Bon Jovi in concert – a big, splashy arena show necessitating earplugs – we saw their teachers in the beer line on the way to our seats. Jack loves the old Bon Jovi hits from his hockey tunes – Aimee and I learned to love them – and we sang and danced and generally got into it – until both kids fell asleep – in the middle of the concert. It was a school night, so I didn’t protest too loudly the relative waste of $100 sold-out-show tickets – even still it took days for them to recover.
Aimee is turning into a very interesting pre-teen. She continues to be strong-willed about some things (the desire never to watch a non-animated movie unless it comes highly recommended by her friends, for example, or the despicability of any food with “sauce”), but the kid who refused to let go of my leg at ballet a few short years ago is now quite independent in her Musical Theatre class, and performs scenes without giggling. Quite a remarkable shift for the kid who refused to poop for two years. She and I did the Run for the Cure this year, and she trucked along like a trooper the whole 5 km. Today we went cross country skiing with some relatives, and we all struggled to keep up with her. Despite the angst and the music and the wardrobe, she still enjoys her stuffed animals, and recently named her butt cheeks (Tom and Ted), so I know she’s not quite ready to find her own apartment yet.
Jack’s interests run to hockey and Star Wars and Lego – and if he can combine any of the above, it’s even better (best of all is making Star Wars Lego guys play hockey with their lightsabers). He is becoming quite a good reader if the subject matter is hockey or Star Wars or Lego, or bodily functions, if the truth be told. He has trouble keeping track of mittens and library books, but knows where his own lightsaber is at all times (I think he sleeps with it). He’s trying to grow his hair, which means that threatening to shave it off in the middle of the night is an excellent way of getting him to take out the recycling each week.
It has been an eventful year. We did actually replace the hamster with a second dog- Tucker is a very pretty brindle Boxer cross. I think he might have been off chewing on a stick when they gave out brains, but it could be his young age, or his rough beginning. Stinkin’ cute, though, as my sister says. The perfect number of dogs is zero or two, as Trevor says, and I must admit Jinx is much happier to have a brother – not that she respects any kind of family taboos when asserting her dominance, if you know what I mean. In any case, the dogs have been good for the kids – they are really developing some empathy and sense of something outside of themselves. They are responsible for walking them daily (which has fallen by the wayside of late with the friggin’ cold), and it actually happens more often than not. I am reduced to offering a dollar per bag of dog poo removed from the back yard, though, which seems to be good motivation, especially for the boy who owes me for losing a pair of my good ski mitts. It works for me.
Earlier this year, I started a new job – same organization, but more of an administrative/management level. Very interesting. I carry a pager, which has never gone off, but I get summer vacation, so that should be a pleasant change. I think the work I am doing might actually make a difference, at a higher, broader level, so it is rewarding in its way – less instantly gratifying than looking after patients directly, but worthy nonetheless. We’ll see what happens next… jobs seem to find me, not the other way around. Other remarkable accomplishments this year – riding an inner tube pulled behind a motor boat on a freezing lake, tackling mid-sized water slides, completing a half marathon in record (but not my goal) time, two graduate-level courses, a new car, a girls’ trip to Calgary, presenting a poster at a national cancer nursing conference in Vancouver… it feels like I just did the 2006 synopsis blog just the other day so I know there must be more worth mentioning, not that I can think of it on demand like this.
I realize these posts are boring as anything, but they serve as much as a journal entry to help me not forget the little things as they are entertainment for my friends and family, but maybe I’ll try harder this year to come up with more frequent posts, to avoid the big brag at the end of December. I guess if I have any resolutions for 2008, that’s one – to write more. I really do love it. It serves so many purposes. Not sure where I will fit it in – I keep carving back the amount of sleep I get to accomodate my lifestyle habits (I run at 5:30 am three mornings a week because I can’t find any other time to exercise, and it seems exercise is less negotiable than sleep). Currently, we have one kid in hockey three practices and at least one game a week, the other in theatre, swimming and soccer, two parents working full time, one of whom is taking university courses, and somehow there needs also to be grocery shopping, commuting and family downtime… but I’ll try. Just like I’m going to try to eat a greater variety of healthy foods and drink less (coffee) and make better use of the Y membership and spend more positive quality time with my children – sounds like I need to take a page from Jack’s book and find a way to combine all my favourite activities to make good use of my time. Good thing I rarely get sick – no time. Watch the blog for my success – you will be able to judge it by the number of posts. I’ll try – I really will. I’ll chronicle my efforts. For a few hours at least.
So happy new year to all – I always wonder what the next year will bring – it is my fervent hope that 2008 will be as happy and healthy for you as 2007 has been for us – we are truly a blessed family. Best wishes.