Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays Love the Ross Family!

Again, we have simply had too much on our plate to send out Christmas cards (I'll be honest, I never have, but Amy's definitely been too busy), so this will have to do. We think about our family, friends, and new friends that we've met since Gabrielle's been born, and wish you all the merriest Christmas.

Huge fireplace in loung at Harrison Hot Springs for our
1-night getaway (thanks Wayne & Jane for watching the kids).

Jimmy, Gabrielle, and Daddy for the super-big-for-real hockey game at Canuck Place.

Micky looking at the nativity scene while Papa gives is inaugural address
as the new Mayor of White Rock.

Jimmy learning how to skate all on his own.


Nurse Delta, Mommy, and Gabrielle at the start of a night shift.

The boys.

Gabrielle eating a Xmas chocolate ... life's too short, no?

The Ross kids, Christmas 2011, White Rock, BC.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Finding Light and Life in Dark Times

Thousands of years ago European pagans started the tradition of hanging evergreen boughs and branches inside their homes during winter solstice as a reminder that life remains and will last through the darkest days.

An outgrowth of that, I imagine, was the Christmas tree tradition which began in the same part of the world some 500 years ago, with life-representing decorations of bulbs (like from the ground), apples, and even candy.

Some historians believe that it was actually the Romans who started the tradition (like 2000 years ago), siting the practice of decorating trees with small pieces of metal during Saturnalia, their winter festival in honor of Saturnus (the god of agriculture), and that Christmas itself was a political attempt to satisfy the very old and popular pagan winter festival with the new Christian religion.

The point is that today, the northern hemisphere's Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year, is one to celebrate.

Today is our seasonal midnight. It's time (if we remember) to says thanks for all things we have, just like we might do before we go to bed.

Today is a reminder that tomorrow and the months ahead – no matter how dark and difficult things are right now – will always bring the promise of brighter and more bountiful days.

Today is the day with the least amount of light, and we should celebrate our ability to find light and warmth in even the darkest and coldest of days ...

But we have to consciously choose to do these things. That's where celebrations and traditions come into play, they help us remember.

The metaphor is beautiful, really.

And I think it's great to keep this perspective while we busy ourselves with the hub-bub of our modern-day traditions at this time of year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas - the gift of time.

I don't remember Christmas last year... I had to really, really rack my brain trying to remember what on earth we did to celebrate.  With the help of my husband, sister, and parents I slowly pieced together what we did to celebrate Christmas.  It is no surprise to me that I don't remember much of the fall last year, I hibernated in my house with my kids and tried to make sense of what was happening.

This Christmas is much different.  Life is different.  As I witness other I-cell families and Canuck Place families try to cope with the loss of their child at this time of year, I try to make as many memories as a family as I can.  I get so inspired by Gabrielle so many times during the day.  I hold her and realize that one day these will be but a memory so I make sure to hug and kiss her as many times as I can.  I don't know if she will physically be with us next Christmas, it could be her last here with us.

When you have a little girl like Gabrielle things like lots of presents and toys don't seem important.  I don't want to spend my time running around like crazy buying toys and presents for my kids when soon they just end up as clutter and junk in the landfills.  What I do want is to spend time with the people I love the most.  That is what Christmas is all about to me.  Making memories, laughing, loving and sharing time with those you love.

The gift of time. Giving.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Frozen In Time

A year ago, our sweet Gabrielle was only a couple of months old.  

She was our beautiful little newborn.

Today, she is still our little baby. Although she is no longer a newborn, she is babylike in every way. 

I am often reminded of how delicate she is but Gabrielle has the wisdom and strength of an old, old soul.  Sometimes, I feel like I am not with a little baby, but with a wise, beautiful grandma who is here to guide me, and not the other way around.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Great Rules for Exhausted (and Grieving) Parents

The following are rules Amy and I have tried to employ to help us through this year. We thought we would share them with you to add to your existing ones:

10. No talking about family matters after 8pm. That's when tired emotions (not real emotions) kick in and turn mole hills into mountains. (thanks Robyn for the insight on "tired emotions)

9. Sleep is king! A 15 minute nap is better than no nap at all.

8. Assume you will not get anything done when home with the kids. With this assumption, if you get anything done it's a bonus, and you won't rip their heads off when you don't.

7. Exercise makes us feel better about life and ourselves, and it also helps us not to sweat the small stuff.

6. Let people help you. They want to. And say thank you.

5. Behind every prolonged period of anger and/or frustration usually lies a hurt or a sadness. It's healthy to let these out.

4. Counselors are good for you. How could working on your psyche and your spirit be a bad thing?

3.  Focusing for 5–10 minutes on things you're grateful for – especially when you say them aloud to someone else – helps us get out of repetitive thoughts that lead to emotional funks.

2. Assume positive intent: it gives the other person the benefit of the doubt, and people approach you as if your arms were open instead of crossed, or fists clenched.

1. Embrace the journey as much as you can, look for the hidden gifts in your adversities, as well as the wonderful lessons in every mistake.