Thursday, December 25, 2008

Time to Breathe... Time to Rest... Time to Gather and Time to Dream...

I can’t believe how fast the Fall slipped into Winter and into Christmas! There is a lull now after the presents are opened before the chaos of a family gathering and feast for me to slip down to the keyboard and write my first entry since November.

Almost every waking moment since Retreat has been filled with teaching, drawing, painting, volleyball tournaments, School District Championships (Erin’s team won!!), baking, Christmas pageant rehearsals and much more. I have taught or been a Visiting Illustrator through the Writers in the Schools Program every day that I have not booked myself off the system to paint, averaging 3 days a week or more! This went a long way to helping our family’s bottom line, especially in these uncertain economic times. My girls have learned how to get home and get settled into their homework for the first half an hour after school before I get home from supply teaching at the high school where Erin will head next fall. It has a school day that is an hour longer than theirs, but the bus ride home from school takes at least half an hour. They are growing up SO fast... It astounds me that they will be 14 and 10 next April!

After a fall of weekend travels to tournaments, the Provincial 15 and under Volleyball season wrapped up on the same weekend as a book signing and our church Christmas pageant. Life was a wee bit chaotic for 48 hours. Erin’s team finished in 5th place overall despite a good win/loss ratio because of the points scored against them. She enjoyed playing with the girls from last year’s team who moved up to the older division, but she is also thrilled that she can play another year in the 14 and under league that begins in January. The loss at the provincial level was more than offset by winning the School District championships as the captain of her team. This is the first time that her school has ever won a trophy and banner for girl’s Volleyball!

School wrapped up for the Christmas holidays after two FABULOUS report cards. We spent a week or so doing all the baking for the church baskets and teacher gifts. Can you see my dining room table at all under the cookies?? I do tend to go a bit overboard...

Last Saturday, Erin decided that she needed to spend some of her hard earned baby sitting money at the mall. She and two other friends roamed on their own for a few hours while Nick, Bethany and I searched for the last of the things on our lists, then her friends came home for a sleep over and gingerbread house decorating party. I think the house turned out better than last year’s with the extra creative input. It also helped to have extra bodies to nibble the candy leftovers!

Today will be a day of long distance phone calls to far-flung family and gathering with those who are near. Nick can’t wait to play his lego Batman on the Wii with the girls and I am looking forward to lots of long soaks in the tub with all the wonderful spa stuff that my family bought for me.

The holiday vacation is also a wonderful break for me because I can’t get any calls to supply teach! This lets me focus on spending time with my family and immersing myself in getting my portfolio ready for the SCBWI conference at the end of January in New York City. I have been rediscovering how much I like watercolours with a piece called “Raining Cats and Dogs”. I am just building up the shadows in the raincoats before adding the colour after masking all the areas off that I needed to keep white with frisket. It is SUCH fun to play with!! I am hoping to have 4 strong pieces ready that none of the Art Directors saw this summer in L.A. Anything more than that will be gravy.

So to those of you who have been checking this blog for updates and then e-mailing to see if I am OK... I am doing fine... more than FINE! I hope that all of you can find moments of peace and tranquility during the chaos of the Holiday Season... to reflect upon the year that was and dream about the year to come... then take the first steps out to make some of those dreams a reality!

To those who are traveling at this time of year, may your journeys be safe ones!


Fiona said...

Jennifer, I wish you, Nick and the girls blessings of the season; joy in your family, love in your art and success in the new year.

Round the Bend said...

Glad to hear that you've had such a wonderful November/December! Enjoy your break.

Merry Christmas to you and your whole family! Those cookies look amazing - how do you make them so neat and not covered in glops?

Jocelyne (in Toronto)

Dani - tkdchick said...

Hi Jennifer glad to hear you're well and just busy! Sounds like you had a lovely holiday season.

Lori-Ann said...

Merry Christmas my friend!!
Love the traveling photo, and the water color in the works... makes me giggle.

Claire said...

Glad to hear you've had a wonderfully busy fall. Here's hoping that the coming year keeps you wonderfully busy as well.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Rebecca (AKA - Rebel In Ontario) said...

I was so happy to log on today and see that you had posted (a while ago) and that all is well. Enjoy the last day of your Christmas break and I wish you all the best in 2009.

Kitty said...

So glad to hear everything is going so well for you, even if it is frantic at times. I hope the New Year continues to bring good things for you, and all the best with the conference. I can't wait to see the finished 'Raining cats and dogs', and that last photo is just stunning, I wish we still got snow like that over here, but the last time I recall it snowing heavily over here it was back in the mid-80's.