Tag Archives: family Christmas card

Consider this our family Christmas card 2

Last year I wrote a holiday blog greeting and it was so well received I’m doing the same thing again this year.

The Kadane-Ford family Christmas card: 2013… We survived a flood and a PUPPY!

One of only two family photos taken this year, in Sedona, Ariz.

One of only two family photos taken this year, in Sedona, Ariz.

It’s been a big year for the Kadane-Ford household. After almost losing our house in the June flood, we have permanent water restored, a basement that is almost completely renovated and a new if somewhat alarming view of the Bow River. Still no front street though. Santa, can you help with this?

A "hardened" river bank but still no street access.

A “hardened” river bank but still no street access.

We travelled a lot in 2013, including a family trip to Arizona, many ski weekends, a visit to Arkansas at Easter, a summer road trip through B.C. and most recently a visit to the Pukiest Place on Earth (a.k.a. Disneyland). We have shown growth as a family and are better horseback riders, skiers, baby alligator holders, bologna slider eaters and salmon fisherfolk than a year ago. We can also ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds as a family of four and there’s only one word for that: lunacy progress. Here’s the highlight reel for each family member:

Blake really upped his volunteer game in 2013. Not only did he volunteer as a chip runner at two casinos that raised money for our kids’ schools and donate his slot machine winnings from those nights to our travel fund, he raised money for MS research by mountain biking 75 kilometres in Canmore in August. He also raised money for and awareness about men’s health by growing a moustache during the annual Movember campaign. While this wasn’t a great move for his personal sexual health, it provided a boost to his mental health and self-confidence while in Disneyland, where he was photographed with many Disney princesses.

Frozen Elsa and Anna are hot for my hubby, natch.

Blake Ford, ageless. Repelled by, or attracted to, the mo? You decide.

Another highlight for Blake was the acquisition of a “man chair” for the living room. Since I forbade an ugly La-Z-Boy, we now have a stylish-yet-understated Arts & Crafts swivel recliner that Blake sits on, coffee (or scotch, or scotch-laced coffee) in one hand, potato gun in the other, to lob spuds at approaching children. Of course, Bennett delights in sitting in it and rocking maniacally in a chair-breaking manner as soon as Daddy leaves the house.

Avery continues to amaze us with her sense of humour — like how just yesterday she asked us for a pet eel! Haha, funny girl —  kindness and intelligence. She’s burning through books that I read in Grade 10 5, including The Incredible Journey and Where the Red Fern Grows. She enjoys playing with her Playmobil and Lego Friends, which have taken up such a permanent residence on her carpet that her messy room provided the impetus for one of my Today’s Parent stories.

Avery Ford, age 8, Grade 3.

Avery Ford, age 8, Grade 3.

She is also maturing at an alarming rate: she asked Santa for an iPod touch for Christmas. And her questions about biology and specifically, reproduction, had grown in complexity to the point where, earlier this fall, I had to talk to her about the “birds and the bees.” She initially asked a boy in her class but he refused to tell her stating, “It’s really gross.” So, after I sat her down and explained about the ‘sperm delivery method’ she said, “He’s right. That is gross.” Yes it is, Avery. NEVER DO IT.

Bennett found out last spring he was accepted into Renfrew’s Grade 1 program and he is having a good year so far. He has certainly had some challenges to overcome in 2013, including a weird stint of stuttering, the zoo being closed all summer and a gastrointestinal bug during our trip to Disneyland. His latest obsession is Super Why, and Blake and I have had to suffer through the Jack and the Beanstalk episode 5-million 84 times since the babysitter introduced him to Netflix in early November (thanks a lot, babysitter… though to be fair it was payback for Bennett yelling at her to “Go away!” like, 10 times, before I slunk out the door. Yeah, we don’t use her anymore).

Bennett boards his bus all smiles on the first day of school.

Bennett Ford, age 6, Grade 1.

We continue to love Bennett’s teasing ways, which he comes by honestly (ahem, Danny, Greg, Blake), like how he pulls off Avery’s Santa hat in a stealth manoevre then sprints away laughing hysterically. We are sure he’ll keep us on our toes in 2014 and continue to charm his grandparents, who will be looking after him while Blake and I compete on The Amazing Race Canada to win $2,500, a snowmobile and two one-way tickets to Costa Rica courtesy of Air Canada.

Our family is now officially complete since Piper, our Brittany spaniel puppy, flew WestJet cargo from Saskatoon to Calgary to join our crazy household in April. Everyone told me puppies were freakin’ nuts but did I listen? No. Which is why we are now down a pair of shoes, a couple of stuffed animals and a plastic toy (Piper recently chewed the foot off of Avery’s new Playmobil horseback riding girl). Piper has also started eating her own poop (I caught her with a snow-covered morsel just last week), which is not only disgusting but kind of insulting. What, aren’t the heaping dog food bowls and endless liver bribery treats enough for you, you piggy little thing?

Tom Campbell Hill, Calgary

Piper at the dog park with Avery.

On top of that Piper is hyper and the only way I can cope with her energy demands is to take her for 2 10 walks a day. Which is why I never get any work done. My only consolation is she hasn’t chewed up our furniture or drywall, or mauled Bennett, who constantly bugs her. She’s also really sweet and cute and I have to say my heart swells with pride at the dog park when she bounds confidently through the snow while other owners have to carry their finicky little kick-dogs, who are wearing sweaters and booties.

Lisa (that’s me) has had a fun and challenging year. I volunteered on the committee to build a new playground at Avery’s school and our awesome mommy team wrapped up that hellacious project after two years. I wrote a lot this year, including a personal essay for Swerve about Bennett’s genetic condition. But it wasn’t all work. I managed to squeeze in a press trip to Paris, where I drank my face off learned about champagne and Cointreau while eating lobster, caviar and truffles.


Champagne in Champagne!

I continue to binge on netflix read classics like Anna Karenina, blog sporadically (sorry), and mix Blake 5 o’clocktails in my spare time. And I’m always dreaming of, and planning, our next vacation. Coming up in 2014: San Diego.

In the meantime, we’re looking forward to a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s  celebration with family and friends and we sure hope Santa delivers a new road next spring. Happy holidays!

Bennett and Avery after trimming the tree.

Bennett and Avery after trimming the tree.

Consider this our family Christmas card

It’s that time of year when Christmas cards arrive in the mail from loved ones and companies you may have done business with in the past. Sometimes the cards contain a cute write-up, with pictures, detailing what said family has been up to for the past year: the triumphs, the trips and the tedious parts in between (please edit those out of future letters).

Blake and I have never sent Christmas cards (this explains why the number we receive seems to dwindle annually), but I like receiving them, with a caveat: if you’re taking the time to mail me a letter, would it kill you to write a personal note atop the picture of your cute kids? Just sayin’. (But please not too much information, unless you’re going to write the inappropriate bits.)

And now, not only am I going to show you cute photos of my kids, I’m going to write stuff too.

The Kadane-Ford family Christmas card

Lisa, Avery (age seven), Santa (ageless), Blake and Bennett (age five).

Avery (age seven), Lisa, Santa (ageless), Blake and Bennett (age five).

Dear family, friends and followers,

2012 was an interesting and exciting year for our family. We started off on the right note with a ski weekend in Fernie, B.C. that enabled us to dump the children in ski lessons/childcare and carve freshies grow closer as a family while enjoying powder snow and the great outdoors.

The only bandito we saw: don't mess with Hello Kitty!

The only bandito we saw: don’t mess with Hello Kitty!

A trip to Ixtapa, Mexico soon followed, despite warnings from friends and family that there were, possibly, banditos laying in wait to kidnap/execute us upon arrival. Fortunately, the only dangers we encountered were roaming crocodiles, stinging jellyfish, beach salesmen hawking hideous Aztec-patterned area rugs, a  wicked hangover after too many margaritas at the swim-up bar while the children were at Kids Camp, and a rogue wave that almost carried Bennett off to sea.

Hearing my little girl sing her first solo brought a tear to my eye. So proud!

Hearing my little girl sing her first solo brought a tear to my eye. So proud!

Avery, age seven, performed her first choir solo in May, singing a verse from Puff the Magic Dragon. She also enjoyed several summer camps with friends including an art camp at the Calgary Zoo where she learned about tortoises and made, like, 10 paintings of them, which I have since recycled.

It was a year of firsts for Bennett, age five. He achieved potty training success a mere week before he lost his first tooth in June. He also enjoyed his first trip to Texas to attend the Chromosome 18 Registry & Research Society’s annual conference. The highlight? “Eating guacamole.” Finally, Bennett also learned how to ski at Canada Olympic Park. He’s still working on his “pizza” stance and I worry he may plow into small toddlers on the bunny hill at New Years and we’re excited to ski together as a family.

Stopping is over-rated, right?

Stopping is over-rated, right?

We made it!

We made it!

Blake and Lisa spent the summer hiking in preparation for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in September to raise money for Bennett’s special needs school, Renfrew Educational Services. The climb and following safari was a life-highlight and we are currently scheming ways to escape the children in 2013 we look forward to another African adventure sometime in the future.

Finally, it was been a year of growth for all of us. Avery is reading chapter books and doing math problems, Bennett is singing Christmas carols and sounding out letters, and Blake and I have become more patient parents — it must be all those cocktails Lisa keeps mixing up for her columns!. We love our kids dearly, but are going stir-crazy trapped indoors with them so far this holiday and love being around them this time of year when they are so excited about Christmas. If we could ask Santa for anything this year it would be continued good health, lots of travel, another record snow year in Fernie and a new Christmas tree box for the kids to play in — the old one is busted. Merry Christmas and all the best in 2013!

Boxes still make the best toys.

Boxes still make the best toys.