January 9, 2016
The snow was more or less packing so the kids demanded a scarf and hat and things to build a snowman. They proudly made him all by themselves. The result looked rather like Mr Snowman had already started to melt but the kids declared him perfect.
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January 8, 2016

Since Grandma H was here, I decided to pull Elizabeth out of school early (she went for a short time in order to avoid getting marked absent and also because she wanted to!)

I've long wanted to go feed the chickadees but when Auntie Karen told me how short the trail was I knew we had to go. Just ten minutes drive from our house, I was really surprised when the birds mobbed us just outside of the parking lot! I've heard they aren't always as obliging if there have been many people feeding them but since it was a weekday no one else was around.

I had a mixed wildbird seed I got from bulkbarn a little while ago, but if I were to do it again I'd just get sunflower seeds as that was what the birds really wanted. The kids were a little nervous about the birds at first and insisted I put seed in the sled. The birds weren't too happy about coming in that low. The few that tried it zoomed in and tried to land on the sled but it was super slippery and so they shot away again with ruffled tempers and feeling rather startled, I believe.

After a bit the kids loosened up. Matthew's darker mittens attracted fewer birds but he did NOT like the tickly sensation of the birds landing on his hands so he ended up borrowing my mittens. I noticed that the kids had fewer birds land on them when a (taller) adult was feeding them too.

Everyone enjoyed feeding the birds a lot, although miss Amelia enjoyed herself more after a retreat to the car to warm up and nurse! After feeding the birds we all went to hang out with Karen and the kids until it was time to take Grandma to the airport.

Janice, Lorianne and I went to Costco the day before (dangerous place!) and after Janice ate the pasta she bought she had another serious allergic reaction (number four since Christmas, for those of you counting). Lorianne was joking we should have gotten epi-pens instead of pasta at Bulk Barn. And yes, we ARE using humour to cope with the craziness of Janice's "new part-time job" of hanging out in various ERs around the city.

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January 7, 2016
A visit from Grandma

My mom popped into town overnight. It was great to see her "in the flesh" as she had been quite ill back home in Angola first with malaria, then typhoid, then an allergic reaction to the meds that were supposed to be making her better. I made roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, rice, roasted vegetables and broccoli for supper. We had lemon meringue pie, which Elizabeth has decided she doesn't appreciate (even though she likes lemon - I don't get it, but I'm happy to eat her portion...) In any case, she begged to be allowed to have banana with milk and a little sugar instead. I agreed. "Oh thank you Mommy! You are a BIG softie!" she exclaimed while the adults all cracked up. Why yes dear child but I'm guessing most parents would allow you to eat fruit instead of lemon meringue pie...

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January 6, 2016

I made gluten-free galette des rois as per tradition. Also per tradition: the annual complaining that Mommy didn't get any frankincense, and that the myrrh is smelly. There was no complaining about the chocolate coins. 

We tried a litany of "chalking the door" this year. The kids told me that it was "not cool" and they thought we were going to do something "fun". We sang "We three kings" on the way to bed to the tune of wailing children. But then the kids totally demanded We three kings for the next three nights, so I guess they enjoyed it even though they pretended not? In any case I'm probably going to inflict it on them again next year.

After bedtime I came downstairs and had to call 911 because Janice had her third serious allergic reaction since Christmas. On the plus side we now have a "how to deal with serious allergic reactions" protocol in our house, including a section on when to chase people around the house with an epi pen and where the afflicted should sit so that the paramedics don't destroy the hardwood floors when they come in with their snowy salt covered boots (by the door with the lights on).

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January 5, 2016

Auntie Janice had a birthday so we made her a brownie raspberry cake.

Elizabeth is really excited that Janice is almost thirty - she's announcing it to all and sundry with great glee and anticipation. Meanwhile I've somehow gotten confused and started telling Elizabeth I was 39. This greatly freaked out my husband (he's apparently not ready to be 40 yet, whereas I apparently can't wait lol).

Once the kids were in bed our household played the Game of Life (the version where you sell your kids, of course). Our house rules require you to come up with names and story for your life. We thought it was hilarious...

Janice: "I became a doctor. I had a great salary, but there was a rocky start when I was in a tornado and set back. I then married Vincent, a professional photographer. Then my aunt Lorianne left me 50 cats, which I had to place in foster homes. It was expensive. After the trouble with the tornado, I decided to build my own medical building, and I expanded the business. Vincent and I climbed Mount Everest together, and then while we travelled we decided to adopt two kids - Enrique and Georgia. They were well behaved kids, which was good because my uncle left me a skunk farm to deal with and I'm not sure I could have dealt with any extra family drama. It cost a lot to humanely dispose of the skunks, but then my uncle decided to release one into the police station and I had to bail him out and rescue the trapped police officers. After that my business acquired a helicopter from my aunt Lorianne for an air ambulance service. Flush with success after finally paying off my many promissory notes, I decided to buy a yacht and help yet another orphanage, after all we wanted to travel as a family and give back to the orphanages where Enrique and Georgia were first raised. We discovered along the way that Brendan's life insurance fraud had negatively impacted my business, and I successfully sued. After travelling quite a bit, one of the stock companies we bought hit oil! We may not have ended up the richest family in the world, but I ended up a millionaire and we enjoyed our retirement in style. "

Lorianne married Gilbert and had two kids William and Kate. A general BA, life was looking good - she was way ahead. She inherited 50 cats from an aunt but bequeathed them to her overly acquiescent niece. They went zip lining with their teenagers on a cruise of a lifetime to South America. (Gilbert was a doctor). She was in  the helicopter business and did pretty well, even sold one to her niece. She liked to play the stock market and Gilbert was understanding. Unfortunately her golden years weren't so kind. Her teeth fell out and then she went fishing instead of looking after her business and was surpassed by competitors. They lost track of time - Gilbert was reading her poetry. Her son got into expensive coin collecting which was a huge drain on her resources. She ended up living happy but destitute in a field. 

Brendan married Mary (of course). A crooked quantum physicist, he felt he had to take every advantage after suffering through a devastating tornado. He committed insurance fraud against Janice's company, which was ultimately unprofitable as she successfully sued for redress. He wrote a bestseller about using quantum mechanics to conduct insurance fraud. This inspired a criminal mastermind to defraud Lorianne's helicopter business. She sued, successfully. He retired rich after selling his own children (Matthew and Elizabeth) to the highest bidder. But not rich enough...

Mary married Brendan (obviously) but sadly remained childless. She played the stock market at every opportunity, winning more often than not. She became a physicist and lost an eye early on in an unfortunate experiment. By virtue of rushing through life she amassed great wealth, mostly at the expense of the others. 
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