Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Wrap-Up

The old adage of "time flies when you're having fun" certainly held true for 2013. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write our last new year's eve post - and it's hard to believe it's been 365 days since!

If last year was a year of self-discovery and growing as individuals, 2013 has definitely been the year of growing as a family. We began the year by welcoming Pepper into our lives and I honestly don't remember life without him; he has become such an integral part of our beings that it is as though he has always been here.

However, I'm not just talking about growing our family with Pepper. We have cultivated such wonderful friendships over the past year, and have gotten to know so many lovely people in town it feels as though our "external" family has grown exponentially. It is wonderful to walk into the store or an event that is being held in town and recognize/be recognized by community members and fellow Baker Lakers. It is nice to feel as though we are a part of the community we live in - something you don't necessarily get when living in the south and get lost in the crowd.

It has also meant that we have had another year of strengthening our love for our family and friends back home. Not once has our support circle wavered. Not once have we felt forgotten or neglected for being so far away. If anything, we feel more loved, more supported and more included in the lives of those we love most. Being physically far from "home" is difficult, yes, but it has afforded us the opportunity to work on our relationships and make an effort to be all-around better to the important people in our lives. We treasure and value everyone in our lives, and we try to express that as often as we can.

All in all, 2013 has been very kind to us. We have been blessed with wonderful memories we will be able to look back upon with fondness. We hope you had a wonderful 2013 as well and look forward to sharing the upcoming new year with you.

All our love,
Lily, Jeff and Pepper

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours - warmest wishes for the merriest of Christmases! 
We hope Santa is good to you - we put in a good word on your behalf! :)

Love, Lily, Jeff & Pepper

Friday, December 20, 2013

Winding Down

As a good portion of my office has left for the holidays already, everything seems so quiet at work these days. I typically work through the season and like taking my vacation days at other times in the year since I can usually get so much accomplished when the phone isn't ringing as much, etc. this year however, it seems extra quiet and the office feels lonely. :(

It is hard to believe Christmas is merely a week away. We are pretty much set in terms of being ready, and yet I'd think it was still November if I didn't know better! Where did 2013 go??

Our posting will not be as rigorous for the remainder of the year as we take time to celebrate the holidays. We will post when we can, but not on-schedule until after the new year. We hope you understand! :)


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our First House!

I have a confession. I am in my 30s and before this past weekend, I had never made a gingerbread house. I've made gingerbread things, yes, but never a house. So you can imagine my delight when our neighbours threw a gingerbread decorating party for the children, and they thoughtfully provided a kit for us as well!! (Since it was my first house, our 5-year old neighbour took me under his wing and showed me all the expert ways of decorating since he made one last year and knew what to do....no wonder I make the best of friends with kids; they think I'm one of them!)

It was a team effort, and Jeff was in charge of icing and Santa. I'd say it turned out pretty darn awesome for our first time! These pre-made kits are amazing with the tray, all the ingredients and icing all set to go. You really can't mess it up! I particularly like my snow-covered chimney top and my cobblestone driveway...Jeff particularly liked eating all the candy supplies. :)

Now our house is sitting proudly on display in our kitchen. Jeff says you're supposed to eat the house, but how can you eat ART?? We are currently in negotiations as to what to do with it. I'm on Team Don't-Touch-It and he's on Team Gingerbread-is-for-Eating. I'll let you know what happens to the house after we're through!


Monday, December 16, 2013


Santa came to Baker again on Saturday and this time he was at the Northern for pictures on Kids' Day. For $5 you could take a picture with Santa, and the store donated half to the RCMP Christmas fundraiser and half to the Canadian Diabetes Association. I understand they raised over $1,000 in a few short hours! Must be because Santa was so Santa-y.

Hrmm...he does look awfully familiar though. Can't put my finger on it.... ;)

Jolly Old Saint...Jeff!
Oops, I mean St. Nick! :)

My husband is the sweetest, isn't he?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Concerts

It was a week of Christmas concerts here in Baker - the elementary school had theirs on Wednesday and the high school's was last night. Both happened to fall on ridiculously cold/windy evenings (-52, whaaaat??) but the community still came out and showed their support by filling up the gymnasium!

Tell me, is there anything better at getting you into the holiday spirit than watching adorable children sing/dance to Christmas songs? I thought not!

The beautiful stage with lit up trees, hand painted murals and gorgeous snowflakes!

One of the adorable kindergarten classes

Grade 8s want a hippopotamus for Christmas
The high school teachers wish you a merry Christmas/Feliz Navidad!

It was fun to get out this week and see the kids singing and dancing their hearts out. Worth braving the cold to see how much fun everyone had!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Judith's Triumphant Return

I know I said a couple posts ago that I was feeling Grinch-y, and to be honest, I really wasn't feeling like putting up the Christmas tree at all this year. I even went so far as suggesting we clear off the coffee table and putting a tree-shaped candle holder on top and we could call it a day, but Jeff wasn't really keen on that idea. (In my defense - it was a great idea. Our coffee table is big and is on wheels, so if we cleared off the bottom, the presents could go under the table and we could wheel it wherever we wanted. No fuss, no mess, no rearranging of furniture...fool-proof!!)

When we returned from breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Jeff turned on the Christmas music and pulled our decorations out of the closet (again). He reminded me that Judith cheered me up last year, and that maybe she could do the same this year. I was skeptical at first, but then I was reminded that it was Pepper's first Christmas with us and he was having such fun running under the tree as we were decorating it (he eventually fell asleep on the tree skirt), and it turned into a really fun afternoon with my boys.

Our house is now Christmas-y...and I admit it, so am I. We even sat and wrote all of our Christmas cards when we were finished, go us!

Judith likes to survey the action from the middle of the room
Pepper's stocking is the biggest, Jeff's is the fullest and mine is the...prettiest?

Looks like this Grinch grew a heart after all.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Breakfast with Santa

This past weekend, Santa came to town and stopped in at the high school for breakfast. For a nominal price (cheapest breakfast in town by far!) we feasted on pancakes, sausages and eggs with the jolly man in red. Run by volunteer teachers and students, the money went towards the school, and a good time was had by all. Not only was Santa there, but Blizzy the school mascot (for the Baker Lake Blizzard) was there to join the fun as well.

Side note: Blizzy was far more popular than Santa...seems a man in a red suit is much more terrifying to some kids than a blue furry "blizzard" that likes to give high-5s. Go figure!

Here are some photos of the day - we said we were tagging along to keep the neighbours' kids company, but really, we just wanted to tell Santa what we wanted for Christmas. :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Where are you, Christmas?

"Where are you Christmas?
Why can't I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me?
Why can't I hear music play?"

-Faith Hill, Where are You, Christmas?

Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. I love the hustle and bustle of the season, the countless gatherings with family and friends, the twinge of excitement that hangs in the air. It's a season of happiness, love and good cheer (unless you count the years I worked in retail, at which point, everyone was a grumpy mess.) My mother says it all the time - Christmas is the time of year that makes Lily happiest.

Not so this year, unfortunately. I am decidedly UN-Christmas-y as we wind down 2013. Last year our house was decorated by the middle of November and we were in full holiday spirits by December. This year, I have had no inclination to pull out the Christmas decorations. Our cards are sitting unwritten in a pile, waiting for our well wishes to family and friends. The only Christmas thing we have out are dish towels - and only because I did laundry and needed clean towels and they were on the top of the pile. My poor husband has been trying to get me into the holiday spirit by suggesting we put up the tree, but I'm just not feeling it.

Perhaps it's because there isn't as much snow as last year (it's white on the ground, but there's really not much.) Or maybe I'm just feeling a little extra homesick because our vacation and time spent with our families is still fresh in my mind. Just goes to show that although it does get easier over time to be far away from home, it still hits you once in a while.

The weekend perhaps...over the weekend we will put the tree up and bake cookies and all will be well. For now, just call me the Grinch.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013


It has been a very, very cold November. We have had temperatures in the -20s but with wind chill it has been in the -40s for the past couple weeks. It will get much colder still, but the buzz around town is that this is abnormally cold for this time of year. Last year, it wasn't this cold until after Christmas. :(

The extra cold weather has meant that it has been too cold to snow. We had a bit of snow before Halloween and I don't think I can recall snow falling since then. Which also means that there have been no blizzards or storms, because there is nothing on the ground to blow around. It has been a very strange start to winter indeed.

After an abnormally (there's that word again) short summer, I feel like we are in for a rough winter in terms of temperature. I don't imagine it would warm up again soon so we may not get more snow until the spring...at which point there may be some storms in store for us. That will make me grumpy. When everyone at home starts talking about spring gardening, etc., we will still be in prime blizzard season. I hope Mother Nature isn't saving up the blizzards we would normally get in November/December for the warmer months...that would make for non-spring-like weather!

There is an upside to the cold, however! The Northern Lights have been beautiful the past week and have been dancing for us almost nightly in the clear sky littered with stars. If I had a better camera, I would show you pictures...alas. You can look at these from the beginning of the year to get an idea!

Cold or not, I happily stand outside watching for as long as I can every time I notice them. It is awe-inspiring to witness, and I've seen more Northern Lights so far this year than I did all of last year in total.

See? Always a silver lining! :)


Monday, December 2, 2013

Sun Calculations

My co-worker shared a really neat site with me recently called SunCalc, where it shows you the sun position, phases, time of sunrise/set, etc. based on your Google Map location. It's really fun!

You can see that for today, the sun rises just before 10am and sets a little after 2:30pm. The days are certainly short in December. When the sun comes up the horizon, it doesn't go very high in the sky - just hovering a bit over the land and then starting its descent again. When I leave the house after lunch, I have to remember to turn on the porch light because it's so dark when we come home at 5. Actually, we have taken to leaving a couple of lights on all day inside the house for Pepper - one near his potty area and one near his food/water bowl. It gets pretty dark and I always worry that he can't see where he's going. Jeff thinks I'm being overly cautious, but I think it makes sense!

I like to check up on home to see the sun differences between Nunavut and Ontario - it also makes me realize that our days really are short. Time to up the vitamin D! Try it out for where you live and see how accurate it is. I've found it is pretty dead on so far!