Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011

After a week of late nights and disrupted sleep schedules from Christmas (Katie didn't seem to want to go to bed anymore), we decided that our New Year's celebration was going to coincide with the festivities in Nuuk, Greenland.

The kids watched Wall-E and ate popcorn until 8pm

We gathered them around the computer to watch YouTube footage of last year's ball dropping in Times Square, since most countdowns look the same.

We broke out some sparkling grape juice

A toast to the New Year!

Books I Have Read in 2011

CFA Level 3 Curriculum Volumes 1-7
(Quite a thrilling series. I am glad to be finished with that.)

The Invasion of Canada: 1812-1813; Pierre Berton
(I picked this up on a whim. Who knew the war of 1812 was so interesting? Given that 2012 is a bicentennial year, you should do yourself a favour and read this book.)

Flames Across the Border: 1813-1814; Pierre Berton
(Part II of my war of 1812 experience. We have come a long way in 200 years. Gruesome naval battles, a lot of tomahawking, and an amusing chapter about the attack on Washington DC)

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine; Michael Lewis
(A fun and shocking read)

A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers; Lawrence G. McDonald
(I got 2/3 of the way through and got tired of all the ranting and raving from someone who didn't have much of an inside view.)

Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America; Greg Farrell
(I have heard there are even better books about the financial crisis, but it's hard to imagine one better researched than this one. The Lehman book I was reading seems pretty silly compared to this one.)

Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down...And Why They'll Take Us to the Brink Again; Suzanne McGee
(My library loan period ran out before I finished and I didn't really mind. It was just OK.)

Liar's Poker - Rising Through the Wreckage of Wall Street; Michael Lewis
(This book is a classic for good reason. What a bizarre world.)

This Time It's Different - Eight Centuries of Financial Folly; Carmen M. Reinhart
(My library loan period ran out before I got to the best part, but I still loved it. Those Europeans have been defaulting for centuries!)

A Thousand Barrels per Second - The Coming Oil Break Point and the Challenges Facing an Energy Dependent World ; Peter Tertzakian
(A few years old but still a great discourse on the history of energy and how it changes.)

The Courage of the Early Morning - A Biography of the Great Ace of World War I; William Arthur Bishop
(World War I fighter pilots were insane, and Billy Bishop was their king. Dogfights in the days before ejection seats and parachutes!)

Boomerang - Travels in the New Third World; Michael Lewis
(The chapter with the Greek monastery rags-to-riches story was hilarious.)

The Hunger Games; Suzanne Collins
(I am a big fan of the dystopian genre, so I liked this one. It has a very engrossing plot, but is more emotional and less political than most -- which is fine. It essentially takes Shirley Jackson to the next level.)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day Sunday Best


The Kids





Uncle Brad and Adalia


Adalia Learning to Walk

Christmas Dinner


Christmas Morning Gifts

Santa Has Been Here


The Morning Melee

The Hot Wheels Track

Tearing it open

The Tiara

The Dress

The Princess & Her Baby

Iron Man

Boys & Toys

H's Candy Cane

(If it isn't obvious already, I got a new camera for Christmas. These photos are only the tip of the iceberg.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Bedtime

New Jammies

After a few weeks of just looking at gifts under the tree, Katie was absolutely thrilled to open a present and find new jammies inside. Scott really took to the idea of giving presents to everyone he knows, so he sat down one afternoon and made presents for three of his cousins out of his favourite craft materials: egg cartons and paper towel tubes. He made a gun, a "flying sailboat" and a "flying man".

Homemade Presents

Katie couldn't resist all the big-kid beds that were laid out in the basement, and tried them all out. She was pretty devasted when R finally scooped her up and took her to the office to sleep in a playpen.

Stealing A Big-Kid Bed


Grandma M helped settle everyone down by reading the Grinch with the older kids, and then everyone snuggled into their beds for the night.

Christmas Eve Handbells & Hugs


Katie had the orange bell, and I helped her ring it at the right time. Eventually, she got tired of my meddling and just rang it when she wanted -- a handbell jam session of sorts.

12 Days of Christmas

Last year R made a Christmas CD to play in the car and the kids just love it. Scott's favourite song is The 12 Days of Christmas, and he likes to hold up his fingers to show the number as he sings. He's a fan of Rudolph as well, but don't try to sing it any differently than the CD or you will get a scolding.

Nativity Story

Auntie N led the kids in a flannel-board retelling of the nativity story. When she told the kids that the wisemen brought gifts to baby Jesus, Scott piped up, "And so did the drummer boy". Scott knows his Christmas carols, so don't try to trick him.


Christmas Eve Crafts

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sledding at Sundown

Scott was freaked out by his first run down the hill, but he eventually warmed up to it and had a great time.

Katie took a few runs down the hill with me and then said she'd had enough. She mostly liked to watch.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nativity at Heritage Park 2011

Uncle Brad rode in our car to Heritage Park and Scott talked non-stop to him, giving him a thorough commentary on the Christmas CD that we've been listening to all month. Katie was still very wary of Brad and didn't make a peep. At the actual pageant Scott suddenly disappeared. He was right on the edge of the bench and tried to lean on the tarp next to him and suddenly he was gone.

On the way home, Scott wanted to know the names of the angels. He thought that we should learn all their names. He might be confusing the historical angels with the people playing the parts. Many of R's cousins were playing roles in the pageant this year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Zoo Lights 2011

Our trip to see the lights at the Calgary Zoo was nearly perfect -- the weather was much warmer than previous years (it actually drizzled rain a bit while we were there). Katie loved strolling along with Grandpa and Scott mostly wanted to wrestle with his cousins every second. This was her first time being fully decked out in her snowpants, and she was loving it. She kept pointing her pants out to everyone she saw. The only real disappointments for Scott were that we couldn't stay and watch the ice sculptor carving with a chainsaw all evening, and that we didn't let him stay and dance to the music for the music & lights display. Right next to us at the diplay we spotted Canadian speed skating star / TV sports commentator Catriona Lemay Doan with her kids.

Katie and the Dinosaur

Grandpa & the kiddies

Gold, Silver and Bronze

Video - Katie's Snowball Fight