Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Our final Christmas dinner was at (my) Gramma's. After yet another awesome meal of turkey and all the trimmings, the kids got to open yet another present: puppets!

And the best part? I didn't need to make room in the toybox! They're for all of the cousins to share - at Nanny & Pappy's house!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

8:30 am
 December 25, 2010.

Santa had arrived!

Austin got "Gordon" complete with a whole Thomas table! I thought he'd have a huge reaction when he saw it, but he was pretty low-key. He just walked up to it and started playing, ignoring everything else. After a few minutes, he looked at me and said, very seriously, "See mom, I told you a train table would fit in Santa's sleigh!"

Bryanna got her "closet", complete with (more) dress-up clothes. Cameron was very happy to receive his "boy baby" and a ball popper.

After brunch with my parents (who had come over to see what Santa brought), and after Brian & I took turns taking short naps, we went to Nanny's for an awesome (as always) Christmas dinner, then back to my Mom & Dad's to exchange our gifts there. Again, lots of really thoughtful gifts. Michelle & Mike had recipe books printed, complete with pictures (of them and the kids), ratings and tips -  probably my favorite gift (next to my key chain of course!)

Payton was very content to sit in her box and watch the excitement.

   Unfortunately, Bryanna wasn't feeling well all day and a pretty nasty fever hit while we were opening gifts. We had to leave as soon as we were finished. But....other than that, Christmas was very nice and didn't feel rushed at all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Marathon

I've always considered Christmas Eve to be Christmas. It has always been a marathon of sorts, usually ending sometime around dawn. Every year, my family mom's gathers on Christmas Eve night to sing Christmas carols and exchange gifts - this in itself is a late night, ending well after midnight. As a kid, Santa would usually come while we were gone, and we'd be up for a while playing with our presents. We've continued this tradition as adults, going back to my parent's house for a second round of gift exchanges.

This year, we decided to wait until Christmas day to celebrate at my mom & dad's. Even though we knew it would be easier on everyone, we were a bit hesitant to change our ways. As it turned out, it was perfect.

We woke up Christmas (Eve) morning and opened all of the gifts under our Christmas tree. We had a ton of gifts from Brian's family out west, and we opened our gifts to each other as well. The day went by much faster than it would have if we had to wait all day until Nanny's party. Plus, without the distraction of Santa's gifts, the kids were very happy to open gifts of clothes and pj's.

Brian gave me the most thoughtful gift: The key to his heart! (A skeleton key, with a key chain he had engraved) What can I say - I love cheese!

Brian had to model all of his Edmonton Oiler presents:

Later, we went to Nanny's party for lots of food, family and  fun.  When it came time for carolling, Austin decided he should be at the piano - right between Uncle Dave (our dedicated pianist) and Nanny.

Around midnight, we began opening gifts. We're always amazed with how many gifts we take home - and how thoughtful they are. Bryanna & Cameron fell asleep towards the end, but got to open most of their gifts.  Jason & his girlfriend, Kristy even put together a gift for each of the kids - complete with a snowman ornament she made herself! Very impressive.

We got home around 2am (in bed by 6:30) - we were very glad we didn't go to mom & dad's too. We had such a great time. I hope this party will always be my kids' favorite part of Christmas too.

The best part of Christmas

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Picture of the day

Family Christmas Party (#1)

Sunday night, we went to our first family Christmas party of the season. Every year, my (very) extended family gathers together to sing carols. It's a special tradition for all of us - in fact, this year marked the 65th anniversary! (My Nanny and her brothers and sister have actually been doing it for much longer, but it's been 65 years for all of my mom's cousins.)

When I was young, we would get together on Christmas Eve - after church and before Nanny and Pappy's party. In recent years, our large crowd proved to be too large for anyone's house to accommodate, so we rent out a hall for another night instead.

While I was getting ready, Cameron tried to open the bathroom door and got really mad when it wouldn't budge. He threw himself on the floor, took a deep breath....

...and fell asleep! Poor kid looks like he was poisoned!

Austin reminded me so much of Brian with his dress shirt, tie, and hands in the pockets of his dress pants.  He got his hands on a song book and held it up proudly as he worked hard to appear to read it. He didn't put it down for the rest of the night.

As for Bryanna, well she was very happy to dance around everyone in her pretty dress.

Monday, December 20, 2010

There's a mouse in our house!

Yesterday, we had a wee little mouse running around our living room - in the middle of the afternoon! It was pretty small, and obviously either too young or too stupid to be afraid of us. Every few minutes, it would dart out from under our TV unit, look around, then disappear again.

After about a half hour of watching it, I told the kids that they could open a Christmas present - if they caught it!

I think it goes without saying that our tree is not missing any presents today. Oh well, it kept them busy for a while.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas tree

How Lovely

Are thy branches?

Notice the concentration of decorations? Yup, we had to "fix" it later...

We actually decorated three Christmas trees - I just don't have any pictures from Nanny's. This year, Austin & Bryanna are old enough to understand that the decorations stay on the tree - they're only for "asplay".

I wish I could say the same for Cameron, but I know I'm going to miss this someday, so I won't dwell on the fact that he has pulled off every ornament within reach at least a dozen times. Luckily none have broken beyond repair. We should hold stocks in superglue!

I had to include this picture - aren't our little red-clad blondies adorable? You'd have thought Jenn & I planned for them to match. I guess I understand why people ask if they're twins!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Gifts

There is a story behind this

Or, more specifically, this:

Every year, when I break out the nativity scene, I tell the Nativity Story. I explain that the wise men brought Baby Jesus presents, and that's why we give one another presents on Christmas.

Last year, after everything was set up, I shooed the kiddos away telling them it was only for looking at and not to touch.

A few minutes later, Princess B (who was barely two) climbed the bookshelf carrying a piece of another decoration. Just when I was about to make her get down, she placed the decoration (a wrapped present) at the foot of the manger.

She wanted to give Baby Jesus a gift too!

Bryanna's gift was put away with the nativity scene and will be taken out every year as a reminder. Austin added his own gift this year too. I guess next year, Cameron will have to have his own gift too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm dreaming....

Of a white Christmas...

With the snowfall we received yesterday, it looks like it may happen! We took advantage of the warmish temps and huge snowflakes and *tried* to take pictures for our Christmas cards.

Let's just say everyone was much more interested in (tasting) snow than smiling pretty for pictures.

Ahhhh....that's the perfect shot for a Christmas card.
 Don't you agree?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Smarty Pants!

WARNING: Motherly bragging ahead...

This month was an exciting one for Austin - our new reader! We've been going to the library regularly, and a few weeks ago, he borrowed his first reader! (Well, aside from the ones I've printed from here.)

He read 90% of it to Pappy on his first try! He got stuck on words like "that" because we hadn't learned th-ch-sh blends yet. But after a few reads, he's an old pro. He tries to read anything with words, and gets frustrated when he can't.

Brian loves to quiz him at the dinner table - especially with words with silent letters.
Brian:  "What does W-H-A-L-E spell?"

Austin: "W...h...whale!"

A few days ago, he was writing a card for Aunt Patti-Lynn. He started to write her name, and before I could tell him that "Aunt" has a silent U, he had already written it! I know he has probably seen the word before, and just remembered how it's spelled. He has an insanely good memory.

So now he reads anything and everything he can get his paws on. Maybe Santa will bring some new readers - until then we're quite content to visit the library.