Tag Archives: Virtual Advent Tour

The Gift

This is my contribution to the 2013 Virtual Advent tour. When Marg and Kelly gave me my date – Friday the 13th! – I wasn’t sure what I was going to write. And then, this week, I knew exactly what I would write.

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This is Hobbes. He joined our family four weeks ago, a much awaited little brother for Creeper, who’s getting so big now. Hobbes hasn’t been a part of our family for very long, but he’s wiggled his way easily into our hearts.

A week ago Friday, after he’d been with us just three short weeks, Hobbes got sick. He was throwing up and had very severe diarrhea. The vet gave him a subcutaneous injection of fluids to deal with the dehydration, and took some blood for sampling. We had a very worrying couple of days, as Hobbes grew more and more lethargic.

By Saturday night, I knew there was a chance we might lose him. He was only eighteen weeks old, and two days was a long time for a kitten so young to be so sick. Visions of all the things that could be wrong with him – an obstruction from something non-edible he might have eaten, genetic kidney problems, various fatal feline viruses – danced in my head.

I didn’t want to think about a Christmas without him.

I was supposed to go to a Christmas party that night, but I stayed home instead. I Googled around and found a recipe for homemade Pedialyte, or “oral dehydration salts”. I prepared a batch and syringe-fed it to Hobbes, as well as leaving it out in the cats’ water bowl. I also switched his diet to one of plain chicken pureed with more of the homemade Pedialyte.

And on Sunday morning, he woke me up – to feed him! He was feeling hungry again, and while he wasn’t anywhere near his usual perky kitten self, he was definitely much better than he’d been the night before. He had drunk the entire bowl of homemade Pedialyte some time during the night. And he hadn’t thrown up the chicken mixture.

Long story short, he’s now almost back to 100%. We’re pretty sure the culprit is an allergy to fish – we hadn’t realized until that weekend, but all the flavours of the brand of cat food we were feeding him contained fish of some kind. I’d noticed, too, that one of his eyes would get all weepy after I syringe-fed him a mixture of his cat food and water. The same hadn’t happened when I syringe-fed him the chicken mixture.

That Saturday was a terrible, terrible day, but Sunday brought me an extra early Christmas gift.  I hear him running like mad through the apartment, wrestling with Creeper, meowing plaintively at his food bowl when he’s hungry, and I smile. I am so very, very grateful.

I can think about Christmas again. Creeper and Hobbes’ first Christmas with us.

And Creeper’s pretty happy to have his little playful brother back again.

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Virtual Advent: Christmas in the City

Welcome to Day 7 of the Virtual Advent Tour, hosted by Kelly of The Written Word and and Marg of The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader. This is my first year participating, and I’ve been excitedly planning out this post ever since I signed up!

Silver Bells has always been one of my favourite Christmas carols; I grew up in Vancouver, and while we didn’t always get snow, the song always brings up such fond holiday memories for me.

Last November, we moved from the suburbs to Toronto. Now, Toronto’s quite a bit different from Vancouver; it’s bigger, for one thing, and there’s a lot less rain. But it’s still Christmastime in the city!

We didn’t join in on many of the festivities last year, though; moving from a 3000 square foot house into a 1180 square foot condo six weeks before Christmas took a lot out of us, and we didn’t really feel truly settled into our new home until after the holidays.

This year, though? This year will be completely different!

In the community we used to live in, there weren’t that many Christmas-y events, so we developed a lot of our own, stay-at-home type of traditions. Putting up the Christmas tree was usually the first of these traditions: we’d do up lots of appetizers, have hot chocolate with whipped cream, and make a night of it.

But this year, we’ve added a whole bunch of new traditions. And most of them are free!

One thing’s for sure: Christmas in the city makes for a very busy, event-filled month!

Cavalcade of Lights

This year we kicked off the festivities with Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights. It’s held at Toronto City Hall, and there were a variety of musical performances to entertain everyone while we waited for the official lighting of the giant Christmas tree.

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But the highlight of the evening (for us, anyway) was the magnificent fireworks display later in the evening. They even had someone zooming along on a zipline with fireworks on his back!

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It’s the first time we’ve attended the Cavalcade of Lights (thank you, spell check, because I nearly always spell cavalcade wrong!), and we had such a delightful time. It will definitely be one of our new traditions.

Santa Claus Parade

The Santa Claus Parade

We actually managed to catch the Santa Claus Parade last year; the parade route was just a few blocks from our place, so it was an easy thing to fit into our schedule. No struggling with parking :)

This year, however, we weren’t able to catch the Parade. Or at least, we didn’t think we would be able to. We had tickets to see the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and the ballet was on at the same time as the parade.

But, as luck would have it, the parade route passed right by the Four Seasons Centre, where the ballet was being performed. We came out for intermission and caught the last part of it – we ended up having a great view, as the lobby of the Four Seasons Centre fronts University Avenue, where the parade was passing by, and since the foyer was slightly elevated above street level, we were able to see everything beautifully!

We’re hoping we won’t have a schedule conflict next year. It’s even more fun sitting right on the curb, watching the parade from beginning to end.

The Christmas Windows at The Bay

Going to look at the Christmas windows at The Bay department store (whose roots go back to its days as a fur trading outpost before Canada’s Confederation) is another Christmas tradition we started last year as well. The department store devotes several of its windows on Queen Street to lovely Christmas vignettes:




And when we’re done? It’s off to the chip truck parked in front of City Hall for fries and gravy; it is so much fun eating piping hot fries with loads of gravy in the cold. The steam pours off the fries, and everything cools down just quickly enough, you don’t burn your tongue scarfing it all down!

The Nutcracker

Back when my two older children, Sean and Hayley, were younger, going to see the National Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker was one of our traditions; we made a day of it, driving into the city for the show and then going out for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory afterwards.  Unfortunately, ballet wasn’t really something either of them enjoyed that much (and it didn’t escape their notice that it was the same production every year – the complaints we heard about that!)  – although they did like the Old Spaghetti Factory!

We’re reviving this tradition this year for our youngest, Dylan. Dylan loves the ballet, so he’s really looking forward to going.

But we’re going to more than one Nutcracker performance! In addition to the traditional one performed by the National Ballet of Canada, we’re also going to see The Pia Bouman School’s Nutcracker. The Pia Bouman School is Dylan’s dance school. He didn’t audition for the show, but it will be great fun to go and see his fellow students in the production.

So these are some of the new traditions we’re embracing this year – taking full advantage of being in the city! We’re hoping to also go to at least one Christmas concert, too, although so far we’ve only got the Blind Boys of Alabama’s Christmas show lined up.

What about you? What holiday traditions do you and your family enjoy during this time of the year?

And make sure to check out the other stops on the Virtual Advent tour today: Bellezza, at Dolce Bellezza and Snowball at Come, Sit by the Hearth!