Christmas: A Chaotic Wrap-Up


With the ringing in of a New Year, I find myself (and my social media) immersed in positive mumbo-jumbo about resolutions, forward-thinking memes and quotes that inspire us to do better. And while some of them certainly give me goose-bumps, I\’m still reeling over the chaos that was Christmas.

And can I please get something off my chest?

I am tired of all this snow!

Although, it has made for the perfect opportunity for my hubby to create an industrial-size snow tunnel for the kids. . .

\"Hubby-&-tunnel\"  Turns out, the tunnel has become a fan-favorite of many a creature on our little ranch. . .


Did I mention I am now the owner of many cats? Call me Cat Lady. I don\’t care.

I don\’t like mice.

And besides, these guys are adorable. Nine lives of pure attitude and complete endearment when they finally succumb to being caught by a two-year-old child.


Yes, luckily, we can find ways to occupy ourselves in a Canadian winter.


Take our cowboy snowman for example…


I\’m pretty sure those are bebe holes in his torso, though no one will admit it yet.

And on the note of Bebe Guns… I\’d like to segue back to Christmas. My two-year-old son is now the owner of a firearm.

Thou, (the Gifter) shall remain anonymous , until such time as my son turns 10. Only then, will I reveal his 2013 Christmas \”Daisy\” from its locked cabinet and let my son know that he has, in fact, owned it all this time.

Aside from the Bebe Gun, there were also many other seasonal conundrums to be had in our household. If you don\’t believe me, just let me set the stage for you:

It\’s Christmas Eve. Tomorrow (Christmas Day) I have a dinner for 17 to host. There are 2 turkeys, 1 ham and numerous side dishes to cook.

And that\’s precisely when our oven decided to blow up.

Not even kidding.

There was a loud \”Bang.\” And a small flame in our oven at 8:00 pm Christmas Eve.

<Insert expletive here>

Luckily, this is when my Christmas miracles started kicking in. Our close neighbor and friend offered to take in a turkey. (Thank-you Caroline!!) My mother brought a counter-top oven over. And a crockpot did the ham honors. It all worked out. Our dinner was served only slightly later than I had hoped the next day, but it was a good time. The whole family was together. We shared many laughs. Plus, my hubby\’s 91-year-old Grandmother was able to join us.

I learned that she drinks Rye.


And did I mention that I had a friend stop by the day beforehand to help me clean my house??

Not even kidding! My dear friend Maddie had seen the state our house / mess the day before and showed up on my doorstep the next morning. Sponges in hand. It\’s nice to have friends!

The Christmas of 2013 was certainly one for the books. We made a lot of sweets (did you see our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies?) But I\’m starting to think these sweater cookies made by my little sis were the best. . .


Speaking of my little sis – she is getting married this year! We have utterly and completely submerged her adorable fiancé in our chaotic Christmas customs.

He\’s Jewish.

Our family blunders about his ethnicity should be followed around by a cartoon cloud. Luckily, he seems to accept us as we are. Another Christmas miracle <grin>

So we give him first dibs on the cookies.


When everyone was gone, it was just little family of four celebrating New Year\’s. We had a 2-year-old dance marathon and drank apple juice from plastic champagne flutes. Perfect!

However, it\’s been five days since the ball dropped and I am now struggling to get my twins to bed earlier than midnight. Apparently I didn\’t think that one through very well. . .


During all this time, another gift arrived recently in the mail – succinctly underscoring 2014 and the Year of the Horse, for me:


The thing is, I\’m not sure if I want to attend. We hauled to all those shows last year and I rode my guts out. But I\’m torn. And that\’s the honest truth.

Even with the calendar screaming \”The Year of the Horse!\” at me, I\’ve decided I want to make 2014 the year that I start living a little more. Sure, some might say a chance at a World Championship IS living! But hear me out.

I want to start living with my family a little more.

A trip to Texas in February costs the same as the airfare to fly all four of us to a tropical beach. Perhaps we could stop over in Toronto and see an old friend I\’ve been missing for years.

The time committed to driving to Texas could translate to numerous play dates at the indoor kiddie park. With many a detour for ice cream.

And the mental focus it will take on my part means attention that will surely have to be directed away from my kids temporarily. I\’m sure many of you mothers know how hard it is to ride in a show pen with a little one crying for you from the sidelines. It\’s hard. Which is why the whole concept also has me questioning, \”Can a trainer\’s wife and a mother, truly have it all?\”

Yes, 2014 is the perfect year for me to embrace life with glee and moxie.

Please remind me of that when I miss the entry deadline for Texas.


7 thoughts on “Christmas: A Chaotic Wrap-Up”

  1. Auntie Sherry

    So well written as always Jen – great, great article. Much love to you and your perfect family – Happy New Year!!

  2. Happy New Year Jen. As always, I love your blog and the photos of your darling kids. Well written. Always entertaining. Wishing you all the best in 2014!!!

  3. I always love your perspective. …And I hear the “living more” idea loud and clear. With 13-yr-old twins involved in other activities, a trip to Texas is not practical for me either. I want to look back and know I did the right things at the right time. And watching the kids achieving their goals, as time streaks by, feels good. Happy 2014!

  4. Annet Ribling

    I’m not big on mothering advice, so bear with me, but do what makes YOU happy. If you’d rather spend the year doing things with the kids, and maybe a bigger family trip (which you ALL deserve), then do that. If it’s riding, that’s ok too.
    I only have one, and all I know is, kids adjust. The most important thing to them, is that when you are there, you are really there. Whether it’s at the pool, in the park, at the barn, and later at dance or hockey, as long as the time devoted to them is all about them, they will understand that mom needs the same.
    It’s worked for me. I’m not mother of the year by any means, but I’ve always made my life work with my family’s life. If I had sacrificed, I would be an empty vessel. And we all know we have to look after ourselves before we can look after anyone else.
    So enjoy 2014, whatever that means to you!

  5. Kathy Watson

    Hello and Happy New Year. Speaking strictly for myself, I couldn’t believe how fast my time parenting my daughter flew by. I am 44 and expecting my first granddaughter in a month and I truly still have to check myself sometimes that my daughter is all grown up. Take this time with your family while they are young… 40 is the new 50 you have lots of time for Texas…. Cheers

  6. Andrea Williams

    Well said. Enjoy your family, the time truly does fly by and you might be sorry for the times you missed with your kids when they were little if you dont get to spend alot of time with them!

  7. Donna shapka

    Jennifer, you should do whatever gives you the most joy. Your children will not be little forever and time passes quickly. When our son Daniel graduated from high school and started university in lethbridge last fall, I found myself asking where did the time go? It seemed like only yesterday I was driving him to soccer and teaching him to ride a bike–and a horse:) I also had to make decisions last year about whether to attend major shows or events for Daniel. The choice was clear–Daniel came first. As someone told me, there will always be another horse show…

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