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December 26, 2018

We went sledding at Bruce Pit with Dianne and her kids Boxing Day. It was our first up close and personal look at the damage from the tornado. Softened slightly by the newly fallen snow perhaps, but it was pretty unbelievable. Matthew held my hand tight much of the walk there. “The forest makes me feel sad” The previously dense forest has so many new (unnatural) clearings.

 

Elizabeth was a bit tense walking through the dog park but everyone enjoyed the sledding. Amelia preferred being pulled to/from the hill to actually going down the hill. Technically it was closed due to ice and for a minute I had flashbacks to that time we went down Landsdowne and Elizabeth declared she’d never sled without a helmet again. We actually left our helmets in the car not wanting to carry them but since that was partly Elizabeth’s decision she didn’t complain. She did pointedly check that this was ACTUALLY safe this time. Amelia went down two or three times with her siblings and was going to go with me but then decided it was making her tummy sore and decided to stop. I didn’t mind.

 

We were invited back to Aidan, Caitlin and Evelyn’s house for lunch. Caitlin’s friend came over too and the kids played together with new toys, especially Aidan’s new home Escape room game which was declared great fun, though maybe not quite as fun as a real escape room. They would have liked to stay longer but Daddy and Michael were missing us so with promises to get together soon we headed home again.

   

December 25, 2018

We tried going to church on Christmas morning for the first time in a while (ever?) to mixed reviews.  The kids were upset that they didn't get to "sleep in", which was kind of hilarious since they came upstairs and woke us up in the morning.  We had a simple breakfast and then off to church and back for "brunch" with Grandma and Janice, before opening presents.  As usual there was much excitement over new possessions.  Matthew in particular was most excited to receive a toolbox and has carried it everywhere (including to bed).  In the evening the cousins came over and there was much energy as they all ran around burning off the morning's candy intake before supper and the cousin gift exchange.

   

December 24, 2018

This year's spontaneous pageant featured a couple of speaking roles and this was so enthusiastically embraced by the kids involved that we might ask them to do it again with more than a day's notice!

 

Elizabeth agreed to play Mary even though her idea that Michael could play baby Jesus was denied. She did request veto power over Joseph. Amelia and Matthew really wanted to be angels and we tried to get Michael to be a sheep.

 

I was a bit stressed when all the kids charged down the aisle to the adult at the crèche waiting to put the characters... without the characters. So I had a box of porcelain and no one to carry them.  Meanwhile Michael is frantically pawing at my shirt and Amelia is wailing because she was told to stop running "I can't fly" she sobbed to Rachel, who was wondering what the problem was.

 

Somehow it all came together, but Michael was not ready to be a sheep at the appointed time as he had not yet had his fill. He DID wish to be a sheep later in the service when it was not really appropriate for him to be crawling around in the aisles.

 

Once the play was over my angelic daughter decided that she was going to fly whether it was allowed or not. Turns out flying was running up and down from front of the church to the back, during prayers. Not very quietly. It was joyful but disruptive so I went to grab her and it was clear that I was not going to be able to get her without being really disruptive (she's getting fast!) so luckily my friend Jessie was able to help out. Kid did not reckon on me sending a proxy to catch her and she decided not to have a great big noisy fuss.

 

After church we headed home for fondue in front of the fire, and matching Christmas pjs.

   

December 23, 2018

Annual raclette was exciting this year because Auntie Janice acquired her own machine for Janice safe cheese. She had her own table setup on the desk at Margaret's, though somehow we neglected to take photos of that. We also neglected to take any photos of melting cheese, though there were copious quantities of Swiss raclette to go with our pickles, meat, potatoes (and purple sweet potatoes), orange and cookies.

 

Also exciting was welcoming Chris and Yukiko back after three years away! Hooray!

 

My kids are starting to complain less about the cheese. Matthew still doesn't particularly like it, but he doesn't actually like any cheese most of the time. This was the first year that Elizabeth decided she actually likes raclette. Hooray again!

   

December 22, 2018

The 23rd edition of gingerbread featured 56 people, 10 lbs of icing sugar (and thank goodness for neighbours with extra icing sugar because I actually ran out!), three dozen egg whites and four batches of dough. There was lots of candy. So much candy. Our teenaged babysitters Emma and Alida successfully managed to prevent our house from getting demolished by sugar crazed children, and helped my kids make their own stuff with no help from me or Brendan!

 

Shout out to Auntie Janice who did this year's pre-baking and watched all the cookies to prevent burning! Dianne also made SO MANY batches of icing - thanks are due to the many helpers without whom this crazy event would descend into pandemonium pretty quickly. Fun times!

 

Amelia made a rainbow, Matthew made a Christmas helicopter with an epic backstory and Elizabeth made a water slide. Michael had a great time smashing up some cookies left behind. It was the first year that the kids had IDEAS about what they wanted to make and I was very pleased with their creativity.

 

Uncle Dave and crew had structural failure, and declared their house to have been hit by a tornado.

 

We had a manger, an airplane, a wand, a castle, Santa's sleigh, houses and lots of beautifully decorated cookies. David's rocket and Catherine's Christmas tree were probably my two favourite creations.

 

I forgot to buy sharks for the first time in about fifteen years. I promise there will be sharks next year. Can't wait to see what people will build and thank you all for coming!

   

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