Grateful for Family Dinner

Our son has flown into the city for a few days to work and was able to spend some time with us on Saturday. The four of us were excited to see him and could not wait to catch up. We decided to meet him for dinner and take him out to a new Chinese restaurant in our neighbourhood. We all enjoy eating Dim Sum because of the variety of choice and, of course, the chance to eat family style.

Family Style Dinner © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

We spent the evening catching up on one another’s stories, chatting about the future, and reminiscing on the past. If we could have, we would have extended the moment but alas, we had to sleep!

What are you grateful for this week? And what has made you smile?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection and is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge.)

A Family Smile

There were so many things that made me smile this week. Besides being Christmas – a holiday during which I spend time with my family – it is also my birthday. The reason for my long-lasting smile this week is my family. Not only did my husband and children spend time with me over Christmas, but they also spent the day with me on my birthday.

Christmas began as it always does: with me spending some time on the sofa reading before my family awakes. I always enjoy this time in front of the Christmas tree. After sending Christmas messages to my family in South Africa, I relaxed a little with my current read. This year I decided to get brunch ready before waking up my husband and children. The kids are older now so they are not impatient to open the gifts. We spent a lovely time at the table chatting and catching up with our son who is visiting for a couple of weeks.

After brunch, we got ready for opening the gifts. We normally spend quite a bit of time doing this as we open the gifts one at a time and discuss what has been given. We always have a number of laughs – and this year was no different. This year I got everyone a couple of Christmas socks. Of course these were pulled on quickly to show a little Christmas spirit. I am sure the socks will be worn during the year and I will be seeing them in the wash. If not, I am sure they will be brought out again in December in the lead-up to Christmas. After gift opening, we relaxed a little and read. No-one was up to playing board games and we decided we would watch a movie after supper. We did so, and it was the end to a perfect day.

My smile continued two days later with my birthday. When I woke up, I read the messages that friends and family had sent me from all over the world. Then, of course, I spend a little time reading. Then it was time to get ready for lunch. As is tradition, my family and I went out to a buffet lunch to celebrate me being a year older. Upon entering, we were impressed with the effort the restaurant had made this year with the decorations.

The food was also delicious this year. Last year we were disappointed as some of the dishes were dry. This year, overcooked meat was not an issue. Eating out with my family and chatting with them was the best gift they could have given me. I really appreciate that they spent the time with me, especially now that they are older.

After lunch, we went to the cinema to watch Mary Poppins Returns. We had to see this show en famille as all three children had watched the movie with Julie Andrews repeatedly when they were young. They knew the songs – and even some lines! The 4pm show was popular and many families were waiting in line to enter the cinema. There were even some older people waiting in line – curious, I am sure, to see what Disney had done in this sequel of a well-loved film.

My day ended perfectly with a gift from my children – a gift w hich shows that they listen to me and know so well what I would enjoy. We watched Crazy Rich Asians togetheron Christmas Eve and I had said I needed to read the stories because I loved the film so much. Et viola! My first reads for 2019 are now waiting for me next to my bed. Today I hope to complete my current read so that I can begin this trilogy soon – though some more family time and smiles are prepared for the next couple of days.

I hope you enjoyed your Holidays as much as I did. It was definitely something to smile about!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

This year’s Christmas tree.

While waiting for my family to awake, I am sitting on the sofa reading and enjoying some quiet time in front of the tree. As I look at what is in front of me, I look forward to the opening of gifts. Not because I want to receive things, but because I enjoy the family camaraderie and the look on my family’s faces when they open a gift that they will enjoy. We have experienced some wonderful laughter in these moments, as well as some tears. I love Christmas for the family time that we spend together – a time that begins with brunch and then the opening of gifts.

Reading while waiting.

So I wait until all my family are ready. And while I wait I immerse myself in my current read. I look forward to to a relaxing day, even though I will be making Christmas dinner. As it is just the five of us, it is not stressful at all.

Enjoy your day with family and friends.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Reunion

The sun gently warmed the garden furniture as I readied the garden for our influx of guests. I enjoy this time of year: the beginning of spring always brings with it hope and a sense of joy. Today my joy was overflowing – I would see all my siblings and their entourage. Already I could hear the women’s murmurings, the men’s political debates, and the children’s noise at play. Food will be abundant and chatter will flow. Memories will be revisited and hopes whispered. Laughter will thread through the day. And, for a moment, we will pause and remember our matriarch.

Do you have positive memories of family gatherings? I do, and it is one of the things I miss living so far away from my siblings. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)

Grateful for Family Time

The last 2 weeks have been filled with Family Moments. We have eaten dinners and lunch together; celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Day as a family. We have watched DVDs sitting together on the sofa, and sat at the dining table to play board games. We laughed, we shared stories, and we spent plenty of time together.

Our family time was extended as we went shopping together on 26 December. It was extremely cold outside but that did not deter us from going out together and getting the few things we wanted on the Boxing Day sales. My birthday the next day was another opportunity for us to exclude others from our circle.

This week I am grateful for the time that I had over the Holiday period to spend with my family. Each year I savour these moments as we are not bothered by deadlines and working schedules.

Processed with Rookie

What have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Artistic Daughter

Last week I could not help but smile as I passed my daughter lying on the floor in the living room. She was stretched out on the ground with her sketch book in front of her and planning her next assignment.

Artistic Daughter © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

It is always a pleasure to see her enjoying the process of her work.

What has made you smile this week?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Winter Nostalgia

Winter in Toronto makes me homesick. The icy winds, the trudges in the slush and the treacherous ice remind me of the place I grew up in where daytime temperatures are above zero. On the days that I don’t feel warm outside no matter how many layers I put on, I long for the winter sun of my birthplace.

Winter also makes me nostalgic for family.

The short, cold winter days encourage me to think of the loved ones I left behind in South Africa. I remember the visits to family and friends: the conversations and meals we had together outside – winter or summer. I remember fondly the braais (barbecues), the games, and the conversations long into the night.

Winter is difficult on so many levels: the temperatures, the grey days, and the lack of family. The advent of spring brings not only warmer weather, but also the desire to go out and visit places – a desire that helps to fill the void left by the lack of close family nearby.

Five-Minute-Friday-badgeWhat nostalgia do you experience during winter?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. The prompt is: visit)

Grateful for Family

I am always grateful for my family. I enjoy the good morning kisses and hugs. I love the welcome I receive when we all meet again at home at the end of the day. I savour the conversations and laughs we share at the dining table each day. I enjoy the moments we all sit together on the sofa and watch a family movie together. I appreciate that we do many things together and yet give one another the space to do things as individuals. I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to experience having my own family; and that the family that I do have is loving and supportive.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

Thank you for last week’s contributions. I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. Please remember to send me a pingback so that I know you have participated. 

What is she photographing? In this grateful post, Scrapy refers to the international student she currently has staying with her.

A Garden of Love

I am among those who admire well-kept gardens: the manicured lawns, the flowerbeds, the shady trees. On spring days I enjoy the beauty of flowers; on summer days I enjoy the whisper of trees and the buzz of insects. As I take pleasure in both private and public gardens, I do not think about  the labour of many hands as they turn the soil, mow the lawns, water the beds.

Tulips in a park. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Tulips in a park. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I think of love as a well-kept garden: it requires care and time to flourish. Like a garden, love thrives when showered with time and attention. If ignored, it withers and dies leaving behind bitterness and sometimes hate. Today is Valentine’s day and many will go out and buy chocolates, flowers and cards for the one person they love best. It is a day when boyfriends, and even girlfriends, are expected to show their feelings for one another though the gifts that they buy. Husbands and wives,too, are expected to buy that special something to show that they still love one another.

On this day that is commercially driven, the consumer forgets that love is not shown through candy and flowers.  Instead it is shown through daily love and care to the people closest to you: lover, friend, spouse, parents, children. Love is shown through the tender words that are spoken during the day. The hugs, the smiles. The making of sandwiches for lunch, the buying of a small trinket during the year. Love is worked on each and every day like a garden that is tended to over many days and months. Love flourishes and blossoms with small attentions; and not from gifts of chocolate and red roses.

I am lucky enough to live with people who love me as much as I love them. Our relationship is watered each day. On this Valentine’s day I will show them my daily love without giving into the commercialism of the day. I shall take the time to bake a chocolate cake filled with chocolate chips and topped with cream. I shall prepare a favourite dinner and bring home a bottle of wine to share. On this day I shall continue to care for the garden of love that I have. On this day I shall rejoice in its blessing.

What are you doing with your loved ones this Valentine’s day?

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: Garden)

Ending a Disagreement

This week’s Free Write Friday prompt by Kellie Elmore is the following image:

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

“This is mine! I am the one who drew it, and coloured it in.”

“Never! The idea is mine and I hereby patent it. You have plagiarised my idea, stolen it! You are a criminal and deserve to go to goal!”

“Mommy! Lisa is being mean to me.”

“Stop your whining Brandon. You are such a baby.”

I look at my children in the back seat. Lisa, thirteen, going on eighteen. An academic who has decided she wants to be the country’s most sought-after lawyer. Brandon, my baby at eight years old. Normally so happy with a smile on his face. This trip, however, was taking its toll on him. Cooped up in the car for the second day in a row next to his sister who had developed teenage mutant cells, he had lost his joie de vivre for a while. I glanced at my husband. He shook his head.

“Over to you, ma belle. I concentrate on the driving, you on the kids.”

I sighed. We would arrive at our destination in 2 hours but I could not take the bickering any longer.

“Give it to me! The drawing. Give it to me!”

I hold out my hand.

“But mommy ….”

“You will see. He would never have come up with this. He always has such lame ideas and this one is perfect!”

“Lisa! Enough! Not another word.”

I look at the drawing in my hand. It is quite good and I can see improvement in the way Brandon has shaded the unicorn. It is such a pity to do this. But he will draw many more.

“We are tired of your bickering. I will now get rid of the cause of your dissension. And afterwards we can have some quiet time until we get to grand-dad’s place.”

I roll down the car window, feeling the breeze on my face blow away the cobwebs that have settled in my brain. I hold the drawing out, seeing it flap in the wind. I let go, and it is gone.

“Open your windows guys. Feel the air on your faces! Let the wind blow your anger away!”

I hear Brandon begin to giggle. Looking back I see him with his face to the wind, hair whipping across his eyes. I glance at Lisa. She is silent, and yet has a glimmer of a smile on her lips. I look across at my husband. He smiles and says, “Nice save.”

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013