Grandma and Grandpa H gave our kids eggs for Christmas. The kids weren't too sure about whether it was safe to hatch them, but they found it really amusing once they were convinced that the resulting reptiles were not alive.
Boxing day - some of us felt better; others felt worse so it was an easy call to decide that we were not going to go away for Christmas after all. I mainly spent the day moaning in the basement while watching the kids play - a popular new game is "spying" on the adults using Elizabeth's brand new periscope.
Anyway I was feeling sorry for myself and looked up to see dead fish floating. Not sure whether they keeled over in sympathy or what but I was not amused to finish the new year with a sudden rash of bodies to deal with in between fighting extreme nausea.
Amelia was too sick Christmas day to even open gifts but was clearly feeling a bit better on boxing day, as we found out when she discovered a secret stash of chocolate in the office and scarfed the lot.
Anyway, we carried on the Christmas cheer to the best of our ability under the circumstances, but Christmas 2016 was not the best holiday we've ever had...
Turned out that the reason Amelia was fussy Christmas eve was that she had stomach flu, which we discovered in the wee hours Christmas morning.
She's at that stage where she thinks pushing away the bucket might make her stop throwing up. Not my favourite.
All thoughts of possibly attending Christmas Day service went out the window. Amelia was miserable and we didn't wish to gift anyone else with stomach flu. The older two kids very excitedly dug through stockings and insisted on helping Amelia. She half-heartedly investigated her loot but she was really too ill to be terribly interested and we soon fled upstairs to quarantine.
I of course checked with our soon-to-be arriving family as to whether they wished to avoid our house. But, you know... Christmas dinner... Plus we figured everyone had been exposed already.
Elizabeth and Matthew were playing happily outside with our neighbours, Amelia was throwing up and miserable and the rest of us were preparing dinner and hoping desperately no one else succumbed.
We called the kids in to take off their snowsuits. Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen and kids arrived. Things were looking up... Then we discovered Elizabeth, sitting by the front door in a puddle of her own vomit. Apparently she had suddenly felt extremely unwell. She was terribly upset to be told she couldn't sit down for Christmas dinner or play with her cousins. "But it's Christmas" she wailed. Even Curious George was not really consolation.
Turns out I needn't have bothered with the isolation protocols because before long Xander holed himself up in the bathroom feeling ill. I think we might have set a record for the number of kids puking in our house at the same time. I hope it is never ever broken. Eventually Dave and Karen made a run for it, but they prudently borrowed a bucket. It was needed.
I settled in for the night with my two puking girls, banishing Daddy down to Matthew's room for a sleepover.
Since the priority had shifted to looking after the sickies, we decided to postpone Christmas pudding. Presents were hastily exchanged. And that's the moment the base of our tree decided to fail and the whole thing fell over, antique ornaments and all.
Christmas eve the kids participated in our church's annual spontaneous pageant. I felt the kids were suitably adorable, though Amelia was abnormally fussy. I chalked this up to being tired.
I'd been told we weren't going to get the Candle song this year, so I was thrilled when Rachel sang it at communion. Best Christmas Gift Ever!!!
After church we walked over to the parliament buildings to admire the lights set to music. It was very nice, especially the interesting prism lights which we discovered could spin around and around and around. The children were delighted.
We came home for Chinese fondue with Grandma J, opened our matching pjs, sprinkled the two sets of "raindeer food" that somehow showed up this year all over our yard and hurried the kids into bed.
I was pretty impressed that Yukiko and Chris managed breakfast cheese in Japan. We were thrilled to be able to eat "together" despite being so far apart physically.
This was probably the most difficult holiday meal for Auntie Janice as she can't have pickles, cold cuts, cheese, salad, potatoes or cookies - in short all the main components of our traditional raclette meal. Next time we'll have to try having a more formal dining space for the kids; they were pretty excited and had a hard time remembering that they couldn't attack Janice with their cheesy, pickly hands.
The cheese this year was from Quebec and was extremely nice. The number of options we have to contemplate for cheeses has really increased in the last five years or so. Not that we are complaining!