Monday, January 31, 2011

Past Our Front Doorstep.....

...I have decided that I would like to go here...

The Great Pyramids of Giza. I would love to stand at the base of Cheops and look up at these vast and puzzling architectural wonders of the world. To look in the eyes of the Sphynx and wonder if it is a man or a lion or both.

This is not news, I have always wanted to travel to Egypt. As a little girl I can remember Mum ordering books from the Scholastic Book orders about King Tut and his treasures and me poring over the chapters about mummification and the Afterlife belief structure of the Egyptian people. I can remember in Grade 7 at Naismith taking a field trip with the Enrichment Program to the Museum of Civilization when they had the Egyptian exhibit and being fascinated with the hieroglyphs, mummified cats, Isis, Osiris, Ramses, Hatshepsut....the list goes on :)

I don't expect to travel soon, nor am I even planning anything, but before I die I would love to walk along The Valley of the Kings and feel the hot Egyptian sun on my face. I would love to take Oliver! To show my son that there is so much more to the world, so much to learn, so much to see, so much more than our front porch. To experience the discovering of the world not only for the first time for me but also through the eyes of my child is an experience that I will cherish and look forward to. I will always remember what our Mum taught us, that Travel is one of the best forms of an education one can receive. It's so true!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Paper Memories

The continuation of my new scrapbooking addiction, and yes I would definately say it's an addiction (too often am I staying up until 1:30, 2am working on putting pages of our memories together!)
I know, I know, for some 1:30 in the morning is a typical bed time whether it be because of wee babes or hours of studying or just being "too cool" to go to bed before midnight ;) For me 1:30 is L.A.T.E!! Once Oliver started sleeping through the night I turned into a 9pm maybe 10pm bedtime person just to catch up on some Z's and to once again have the luxury of just hanging out in my PJ's in bed watching TV for a couple hours.
Again I must mention the reason for my status as a scrappy addict...first of all, my neighbour who convinced me when down in the States on a shopping trip to buy some papers and just try it out (5 for $1 !!! I Love shopping in the US!!).
(Michelle, you have created a monster!)
Secondly the webiste ScrapbookSteals who have provided me with endless inspiration, ideas, and friendship with the all the women who I have started staying in contact with on their site. Thank you infinitely :) The weekly "Mojo" pages have kept me very busy and here is the next 10 layouts that I've been able to complete. (The first 10 are a previous blog post from Sept/2010)

#11 - "Wonderful Thing"(meant to be 1 page, but I turned it into 2)

#12 - "My Sleepy Boys"

#13 - "What a Goose"

#14 - "On The Move"

#15 - "One Week Old, Family Visit"

#16 - "Trains & Tractors"

#17 - "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet"

#18 - "Happy Halloween"

#19(A) - "Carving Pumpkins"

#19(B) - "Family Fun" (I combined Mojo #19 with #21 to make a 2 page layout)

#20 - "Vally View Farm

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Year, New Look!

I know we're a few weeks into 2011, but with a New Year I've played around and found a new look for the blog :)
Enjoy XO

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Trying to find my Creative Niche...

For years I have tried to find creative outlets in my life, having never been a truly "artistic" person, I still inherited the "Norris Creativity" Gene and have spent some years trying to find a way to best use what I have. Like so many of my family members we do have some spark of artsy genius within us. For most of us on the Norris side, theatre has been a huge part of our lives. I have cousins, uncles and aunts who are all somehow involved in theatre, dance, costume design, etc or at least were at some point or another in their lives. I first was introduced to drama (the theatrical kind, not the gossping girlfriend kind! LOL) when I was 12 years old. A now dear friend, Jen, had drama classes in the small town I grew up in and my Mum signed me up to a Musical Theatre Class in the spring of 1998. After going through a few years of bullying at school Mum felt like this was an opportunity to break out of my shell and try something different. It was painful how shy I was and the idea of singing and dancing was enough to make my stomach turn, but a change was needed!
We never (Thank God!) performed in public, only amongst ourselves during class time in the hall at United Church. Once a week we would meet after school and Jen would put a song on and would choreograph small dance numbers for us and we would sing along. To this day nearly 14 years later I can still remember (albeit slightly embarrassing) the words and all the moves to the song "The Business of Love" by Domino. I still remained incredibly shy but I had Sooo much fun and there was stopping us!

Anyways, long story short that one class so many years ago became the catalyst of change. I became more self confident (although I will always until the day I die be shy!) I became more comfortable meeting new people and loooved being on stage! I was never brilliant at it, but for about 6 years once a week I would meet in the downstairs of the church with a fabulous group of people and Jen as our director we would write plays, rehearse, play improv games, tour schools with our plays and perform during the annual arts festival, ArtsFusion! We all felt alive and we could become anyone we wanted and it was awesome! To this day the friends I made while in Drama are still my closest and dearest friends.

Through Public School and High School I picked up piano and the flute and so music also became a part of my life. With the piano my sister and I took lessons and then would study like crazy to take our Royal Conservatory Exams every Summer. My sister is a musical genius (as well as with her drawing and sketches!!!) so she was so lucky in never having to really try, the piano came to her naturally and she can sit down and play any piece of music you put in front of her and even has the beautiful ability of composing her own pieces of music!! I on the other hand...hahaha...always had to really work at it. Although I have the photographic memory to memorize pieces of music with no problem, my hands and fingers would never drift over the keys quite as smoothly, but I still loved it! The flute I loved and spent 4 years on the high school orchestra band playing.

Of course once High School came to an end and we all drifted our separate ways it became harder and harder to find somewhere to be creative. In Kingston I was lucky and was able to start Swing Dancing. Once a week I would catch the city bus to Queen's University and a huge group of us would meet in one of the uni halls and we would be taught a dance lesson for an hour and then spend the time afterwards dancing what we had learned! Swing Dancing was again brilliantly fun! we learned the Lindy Hop, the Charleston, Balboa, 6 step, 8 fun fun!! Since having Oliver, him and I have spent many afternoons blasting Big Band music in the front room while I dance all the old moves I was taught and he giggles away in my arms :)

Now a days I have found it near impossible to let my creative juices flow. With working full time, keeping the house some what under control, and being a full time wife and mother (Lovingly) I have lost my way. I love the life that Dan, Oliver and I have created but I sometimes mourn the days of creative freedom that I once had. Maybe that is why I have this blog...although I expect no one to read it, for me it is a tool to write my thoughts and memories down which has made do for the most part. I miss the days of piano lessons, drama, theatre, dance, swing...they filled a gap in my life where I could be someone that I am not. I could be confident, free, fun, goofy, loud, eccentric and these days I am not as likely to be these things as often.
I tried teaching myself new things and for ahile I was crocheting. It filled the void to an extent I could crochet flowers, blankets, hats and it kept my hands busy when I felt like I needed to create something...but in all honesty I hate crocheted things!! HAHAHA it's a cruel joke that I am able to make all sorts out of coloured wool but when I see the final product I feel like I've just aged myself 50 years. But on the plus side, Oliver will always have snuggy warm hats to wear in the winter :)

Recently I have become involved in paper crafts and scrapbooking and I think I have finally found my Niche! It is not performing but it's creating something using ordinary paper and turning into an extraordinary piece. I'm still in the learning phase and figuring it all out but it's the first time in YEARS that my mind is alight again with ideas and I find myself sitting in the spare bedroom upstairs at my desk for hours into the night while Oliver and Dan sleep! Many a time I have to force myself to turn the lights out becuase it's 2am and I'm still sitting there with my knife and papers trying to put things togheher! Most of the time I draw my inspiration from projects I see around me, I still find it difficult to make something from scratch, but my mind is thirsty for more knowledge and I love the challenge and the learning!

I've been working on cards the last few days and enjoying going through my drawer of scrap pieces of paper and putting them together in different way to see what works. I've also been trying to scrapbook some Halloween photos. The scrapbooking part of my new found crafty hobby is great because not only am I using my "Norris Gene" in a way that works for me but i'm also creating memories in a pseudo photo album for Oliver when he's older.

With that said I encourage everyone to keep that spark of artsy eccentricity alive as long as they can!! Find something that ignites creativity and interest in your soul and you will feel better for it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holiday Hangover

First of all I want to start by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year! May 2011 treat you all with love, health, prosperity and well being.

Now that the holidays are over I am finding that the Holiday Hangover has set in. We all know it, after the elation of having family and friends nearby, the anticipation of Christmas morning and the overwhelming indulgence in delicious turkey dinners and baked goods, we have that sense of "holiday blahs" when life goes back to "normal" and we all return to work. The Christmas Tree is sticking out of the snow bank on the side of the road and with all the decorations put away, it feels as if it never happened and with the return back to the lab I am left sitting here thinking, "Where did Christmas go?! Clearly I blinked, and missed it!" LOL

With that said, I did have a fantastic Christmas holiday this year. This year it seemed that our holidays were even more jammed packed than usual, which was both hectic and wonderful!

The week before Christmas was the time for visiting with many friends! Dan wanted to plan a night out for him, Chris, Carley and I for the D.Gunville Contracting Inc Christmas "do", so we decided to try the Edoko Japanese Steakhouse on Queen St in Ottawa. If you have never been to a restaurant like this before, we can only say with much recommendation, GO! It is a small restaurant and often gets overlooked by its counterpart, Japanese Village, on the next street over. You sit right at the grill and the chef's both cook and entertain you while your dinner is prepared before you! Super cool to see, with juggling knives, flaming vegetables (as in watch you don't get singed yourself!) and the food was delicious!
Later that week I was able to meet up downtown Ottawa with some awesome long time friends from Almonte! It has been months and months since I've been able to touch base with them and in Meg's case 2 and half years!!! Yowza!! I've been really bad and keeping in touch with everyone from back home so it was incredibly special to me to be able to visit with them for the evening as well as celebrate the upcoming holidays! A scrummy dinner at Fat Tuesdays started us off and we topped the evening off with a much needed catch up at the Heart and Crown.

Our Christmas Eve was spent at my Mum and Dad's house where we annually get together with the Evans Family; a tradition that has been continuing for the last 22 or 3 years (will have to ask mum that one...) As long as I can remember really. Every year we sit, eat, drink and be merry and this year was no exception!! I don't know what it is, but we always end up spending most of the night laughing until someone pees their pants and we can never really put our fingers on what was funny in the first place. The one year that always stands out is the year we all laughed ourselves stupid over the saying "Gordon Bennet" and its i say it's never funny to anyone else or the next day, but the magic of Christmas Eve turns us into laughing baboons and its marvellous! This year seemed to focus on Alec's lack of a funny (or short) joke, and having his sails deflated when Dad guessed the so called punchline of his long winded joke about Howard the Duck being hit by a I say funny to us but to no one else! (That's what makes our family tradition with the Evans so special to us, and year after year I always truly look forward to it!) And Bless his heart, this is the night Alec decided to bring his new girlfriend, Angela, home to meet us all who was awesome and instead of running in the other direction joined in the fun! Kudos to you Girl!! Can't wait to see you again soon!
Christmas Eve was cut short for me as I was working the night shift in the lab. Thank goodness everyone was too busy waiting for Santa Claus to want to bring their sick children into the hospital so it was a very quiet night and I managed to put my head down on the bench at work and grab a couple hours sleep. In the morning I raced home on the deserted roads and arrived before Dan and Oliver were awake which was perfect!

Christmas morning was too funny! Oliver who slept through most of last Christmas was a hoot this year in comparison. Although at 14 months he still has no idea of the concept of Christmas and Santa Claus, he still had a blast with all his prezzies that morning. He actually had more fun playing with the cat toys then he did his own and after opening one present he sat content to only play with that one not noticing that he had plenty others to go! After a breakfast of traditional baked french toast (a breakfast treat reserved only for Christmas morning for the past 15+ years) I went to bed to catch some shut eye after working the night shift and Dan and Oliver went over to his Mum and Dad's. A quick snooze later I joined them and we spent the remainder of the day visiting with Grandma, Grandpa, MaTante Josee and MonOncle Dominic and feasting on yummy yummy roast Duck!

Boxing Day we were back out in Almonte to have Chrismtas Turkey Dinner with my folks and to celebrate our Christmas (we bumped it to boxing day this year so we could all be at home together) Oliver had so much fun playing with his music set from Nana and Grandad with his Uncle Alec! Rachel and Alex were also able to drive down their home in Petawawa to be there which was great! I haven't seen much of Rachel, Alex and Alec since the summer.

Jumping to the week leading up to New Year's Eve we had lots of friends come by the house for visits. Lasagna dinner one night with Chris and Carley which was awesome because it made me clean the house and get everything straight! With being away all over Christmas, our house looked like a disaster zone! New Year's Eve we had a big supper of Sheperd's Pie with our neighbours Chuck, Susan and 2 of their kids, Mikayla and Carson and then Michelle and Josh with their 2, Damien and Shelby. The kids had a ball playing together and the boys hunkered down to watch the World Juniors Hockey Game! It never ceases to amaze me how Oliver lights up when his friends come over to play, now that he has picked up speed with his walking (more like running!) he has much more fun now that he can keep up with the others and bit more ;) What is better still is that it wears him right out and come bed time he is ready for huuuge sleeps!!

It is now 4 days after I originally started this post and holy smokes it's alot longer than I had originally intended!
Hope everyone had a spectacular Chrismtas and New Year!

Here's to the start of 2011!