Princess Prim, Queen of the Trolls, Turns Two

Our sweet girl turned two this week and to celebrate we had a little party, Troll style - all tulle and rainbows. Primrose woke from her afternoon nap to find some of her favourite little buddies and her most admiring adults all in wait for the birthday girl. In true nature she was just thrilled to have them all there and keen to get into the fun. She had her dress on that I made for the occasion and eagerly put her troll headband on. She is such a happy girl. Seeing her face when her little cake come out was incredible, she was genuinely amazed by the whole process and loving every second of it. She loved the cake, a sugar tooth on this one for sure and then was straight into the presents. We gave her a doll and pram and one of those disappearing milk bottles which she loved but the immediate favourite was a light up wand from her pal Easton. She played the rest of the afternoon away, with breaks for snacks in between, and could be heard to say 'Happy Day', in lieu of 'Happy Birthday' all the day long. 

My heart swells to think of how to describe my girl. She is an absolute joy to be around, she quite literally brings happiness with her every where she goes. She is affectionate, loving and most of all caring. She knows when you are sad and pats and cuddles you in her efforts to make all well again. This is best seen in her interactions with Finley. She loves him so so much. She is his little shadow and his truest friend, only rarely does she enforce her will over his (we did see it with her pram - she knew that was hers!) but instead lets him lead with all the admiration of a little sister.

Primrose is independent and adventurous to the core. She is happy to roam about and meet new people. She is just starting to get a really good grip on language. She is mimicking everything we say and my favourite part is the Australian inflections! She can sing the alphabet, skipping over some of the more difficult letters and loves to say 'Mummy?' or 'Daddy?' with a question inflection, wait for us to respond 'yes, Primrose?' and then carry on in gibberish with her own response. 

She also loves to read and find her weekly favourite. This week is the book 'Baby Animals' which she particularly likes because she can say it by name. She is a wonderful sleeper and will happily stay in her bed singing away even after waking up. She is a great eater if it's the food she likes - cream cheese bagel, fruit, animal crackers, yogurt, and her favourite games are anything involving running, swinging, jumping and Finley. Dolly remains her constant companion and my third child. We have a backup dolly to avoid any lost dolly catastrophes! Her love for Dolly is deep. 

I absolutely adore my girl. I love to be with her and she is a true light in our little family. I couldn't have dreamed up my sweet Primrose. We loved celebrating her and her 'Happy Day'. 

Note the attempt of the Siamese Trolls! 

Two Cheeky Bunnies

We have had an absolutely wonderful Easter weekend. I love Easter, next to Christmas it is my favourite holiday with all it's joy and symbolism in tribute to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. With Spring finally beginning in Nova Scotia the concept of new life and hope feels all the more real. Our little family's traditions have formed over the years and have culminating into lots of delicious food and fun for the entire weekend. Carrot cake, hot cross buns, lamb and salads were made and shared with our new friends the Spears family and we had lots of time to enjoy leftovers all weekend between play time with the kids. 

Levi put the outdoor furniture on the deck, perfect timing for some beautiful sunny days that we took advantage of soaking up. He also got out the trampoline which the kids love, particularly when Daddy comes on and thinks up games that leave everyone laughing, squealing and out of breath. 

There is always lots to do around the house so we got busy with the necessities of life but I also found time to make a little Easter dress for Primrose out of some bunny fabric I had been saving for the occasion. I love taking on a new pattern, I always learn alot and feel like I've gained so much from the experience. It's also beautiful to see my little girl in a dress I made with love just for her. She loved it! 

Easter morning was very exciting for both kids this year. The Easter bunny in our house is actually Peter Rabbit, this evolved naturally as they know him from his books so well that I guess they assumed it was him! This year he left paw prints which literally made Finley gasp and lots of eggs which have started to get trickier to find. I'm still putting popcorn and blueberries in the eggs but some chocolate has made it's way into the hunt, they are still too young to think they are being ripped off! Finley wanted to dress as Peter himself for church so both kids wore their special Easter outfits and bunny ears and brought big smiles to everyone's faces. 

We had a lovely day at church and it was nice to reflect on what it means to me to have the gospel in my life. To know with assurity that I have a Saviour, who gave his life for me that I may not only live to the fullest here on Earth but also live again. To know that death holds no bounds and that my family is eternal is the greatest of gifts. To think of Mary at the tomb that day, mourning her Saviour only to find him standing before her alive, it's something to hold fast to, that gives direction and purpose and I'm so grateful that I know, really know that the gift is real.  

Easter, what a magical, beautiful time. 

Count to Five

Finley is five! And five means big things. It means school is fast approaching, that Finley is starting to read and write, that he gets to have his room rearranged and that he now has a big boys bike. Finley has taken turning five very seriously. Of his own accord he is attempting to stop sucking his fingers when he goes to bed, to say to his own prayers each night, to not complain and to do his best at listening. And he is doing great! 

This year he really wanted to have a dress up party with his friends so we organised a Ninja Turtle party with 5 of his friends and their siblings. We played some old fashioned games like musical chairs and pass the parcel and the kids had a great time together eating mainly, blowing out the candles, each in turn as it was such a hit and opening Finley's presents. The party was a bit overwhelming at first for him but he loved it in the end, particularly for the presents which I think was his reason for wanting the party in the first place! Very clever. He was very lucky and was given a light saber, a transformer, lego and some other great things. We gave him a bike this year and some roller blades to practice for the hockey season coming up. 

He is a complete individual our Finley. He is adventurous and eager to get good at things and to win. He is active and loves gymnastics and to run, jump, ride, skate, blade and scoot. He is doing wonderfully at reading and most exciting to Levi and I is that he loves it, he wants so desperately to be able to do it on his own and find out what is inside all of these books! He is a good friend and well liked at school, many of the girls want to marry him, which concerns him, he doesn't want to take that on right now he says. He always tries his best at school and church to do what is right but naturally at home he likes to relax a bit! Though he is almost always kind to his sister Primrose and they are great friends and playmates as long as Prim doesn't interfere with his lego or colouring in of which he is most fond. Finley loves to sing, he loves cats and to dress up and just like his mum he loves sleep and to stand by the fire and get warm. He also loves Canada but misses Australia, mostly for his cousins and grandparents. His favourite books right now are the critter books - Just me and my ... etc. His favourite foods are pesto pasta, pineapple iceblocks, pancakes and smoothies. Finley is a thinker, a dreamer and a doer, he wants to take over cooking dinner permanently, have guests over all the time and he really wants another brother or sister!

We love you Finley, age Five. 

Snow = Fun

We had a big snowfall this past week. Levi was away for most of it so the shoveling and hard work was left to me, missionaries and our friend Josh who came and saved the day. Along with the hard work they made this little snow cave for the kids which they loved and went through over and over and over again. Once Levi was back we turned the front snow mound into a little toboggan hill and all had great fun going down and falling off. 

The snow really can be great fun if you aren't freezing and the sun in shining. Primrose has learnt that keeping her mittens on really is in her best interest and Finley is at one with the climate and can happily play out there for hours at a time. 

I wouldn't say that I love the snow but I don't mind shovelling and I sort of marvel at the experience of living, working and playing in it. I think Levi and I feel like we are quiet observers, visitors; watching, assimilating, participating but never really believing it is a fixed part of our reality, which it most likely isn't. For now, we get to experience it all and one day we we look back, smile and laugh at all our fun and fuss in the snow. 

Fa la la la laa, la la la laa

The kids and I arrived home from Australia just a few days before the start of December. It made it easier to leave the sunshine knowing that A. my husband was at the other end and B. that I could spent December in Christmas preparation. Last year we didn't have our house yet and were living in temporary accommodation so I missed doing some of the things I love. So prepare I did. I hit the stores and added a few things to my collection (which levi had limited to two boxes and is now three...opps). I decorated here, there and everywhere. I also baked lots this year. I did snowballs, clementine cake, chocolate covered pretzels, coconut mousse cups, gingerbread and I had a cupboard stockpiled with various christmassy treats. And we spent each weekend doing something Christmassy and Canadian. We picked our tree (a true highlight, yes we know it is HUGE), enjoyed the ward Christmas party (amazing food), had a little party with a few friends over to get into the holiday spirit, went to Sugar Moon Maple farm and enjoyed seeing the snow and eating pancakes in a log cabin, skated at Halifax's outdoor skating oval and watched the Stake outdoor live nativity pageant. It was all wonderful.

We were very happy to have Levi's sister Yolanda and her husband Luke with their two children Rooke ( 2 ) and newborn Harvey with us for 10 days over Christmas too. We talked and ate all the day long and the kids, particularly Rooke and Finley found great fun together. It was beautiful to meet our sweet nephews and for the kids to get to know their cousins. We had a great and memorable evening together waiting to have a Santa photo. Levi and Yolanda jumped in at the last moment and it made for a great picture of the Catton siblings and their children.
Gradually out little family carves out some fun traditions. One Levi and I enjoyed this year was watching the movie Love Actually and wrapping and preparing the gifts.  Levi spent the night constructing a play kitchen for the kids while I wrapped the other gifts. We try our best to not go over the top with gifts but... this year I don't think we were successful! The kitchen is an awesome addition and the kids loved it, Finley's much dreamed of and talked about Fire and Rescue Plane was delivered by Santa, and mum and dad gave him Ninja Turtle Pj's, a hatching dinosaur egg and the Peter Rabbit dvd's. Primrose got a unicorn backpack, a wand and crown and the kids gave each other some stuffy cats. They both loved it all had fun playing all the day long. 

Christmas fell on a Sunday this year and we enjoyed a beautiful sacrament meeting at church. I really like attending church on the day. The whole Christmas season I felt moved to tears every time I read, or watched or spoke of the birth of the Saviour. In all of the hustle and bustle of the season it resonated so strongly in my heart, I'm so grateful for the birth of my Saviour Jesus Christ and that we have this magical season to celebrate him. Along with laying our milk and cookies for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, we watched the Joy to the World and read the nativity story to the kids before bed. Finley really understood Christmas this year and as much as he looked forward to presents delivered by Santa he also loved hearing the real Christmas story and talking about Jesus' birthday.

For Christmas day I cooked and cook and cooked. I did a turkey (dressed by wonderful, no job too stomach turning Blanche), a tray of stuffing, cranberry sauce (also with Blanche's help), bread rolls, sweet potato pecan bake, risoni salad, peas and corn. It was all delicious and lasted for days which made it all the more worth it. It was a lovely day spent with family, eating, sleeping, reading - perfect.

And a silly Christmas Greeting from the Cattons