My neighbour Marit invited us to go crosscountry skiing with her Christmas Eve. I was going to leave Michael with Brendan but she had a ski stroller she said she could bring so I brought him along. I'm not sure how much Michael enjoyed this but Brendan certainly appreciated having the extra time!
I was a little skeptical that there would be any snow as it has been melting rapidly but she checked with the park and all trails were open!
Marit's friend came along too, so between us there were three adults and nine kids! Two of the kids were too small to ski and they rode in the ski stroller pulled by Marit's friend who was an incredible skier. At one point he was pulling the stroller, and five year old Emily (who was hanging onto the stroller) while cradling his four year old in his arms!!!
Marit had a neat harness that she leant me to pull Amelia, which was really great as it became evident almost immediately that Amelia wasn't going to get very far under her own power. We ended up skiing almost seven km in the end, which was very exciting for our first "real" ski expedition. I was very proud of Matthew and Elizabeth who immediately took off to the front of the pack and stayed there the entire time. I actually didn't see them at all except for when they stopped - they were so far ahead!
We participated in the spontaneous Christmas pageant again - and for the second year in a row Michael wanted to nurse during the pageant instead of being an angel. All the kids were angels. Elizabeth agreed to be one of the talking angels and did a great job. She also was a "crucifer" for her first time which she found nerve-wracking but did a stellar job. Michael finds it very interesting to see Elizabeth up at the front.
After church we had meat pies and opened this year's edition of matching pjs. Then Elizabeth and Matthew ate Santa's cookies and eggnog, a new tradition they thought would be fun to start (it was!)
Chris and Yukiko offered to host this year! Unfortunately Erika was not feeling well with a fever, but she did recover enough to come down for cheese and hung around with her cousins. Which in retrospect meant that it gave the germs the opportunity to get passed around...
It was the first day of holidays, but Michael still had french playgroup so I dragged Amelia along as well. I gave Matthew the choice of whether to come or not and at first he thought he'd be too old but in the end he decided to go. Elizabeth was happy to have the chance to a quiet house.
We were practically the only people there, so it was very quiet. Matthew built some very elaborate wooden castles which got knocked down by the babies. He was a bit put out but the staff all commented on how mature his response was ("shrug") so he decided to go with it instead of being cranky.
After we came back, we played in the snow with the neighbours for a while and then headed out to Cosmic Adventures!
The kids had playing on Cosmic Adventures on their fall bucket list but we figured better late than never!
Kicked the kids outside so they would stop tracking sugar from the parts of the house we didn’t clean yet into the parts we had...
This year's edition of gingerbread featured seventy-nine people! In our house, mostly all at once. Brendan was starting to wonder what the current building code says about occupancy capacities... So, yeah - not an introvert friendly event!
I didn't manage to prebake any cookies this year but luckily my friends didn't mind too much. This did mean that I spent pretty much the entire time in the kitchen and so didn't get to chat with those who didn't come hang in the kitchen but it was still pretty fun. My own kids even managed to figure out their own structures with some help, mostly from babysitters Alida and Emma. Our amazing neighbours also stepped in to help by brining over an extra oven rack and stand mixer.
It was so busy that apparently Janice took over a room upstairs and ran an impromptu painting session with all the cousins and I had no idea.
Michael thought gingerbread was marvelous. Every time we turned around he had another mouthful of candy and so. many. people. to play with him!
Amelia was ALSO very excited about sugar. I reminded her that she needed to go easy on the candy but I don't know how effective this was...
Matthew completely shut down and was curled up in a corner holding his ear and generally giving off "I'm very unwell" vibes. I was super concerned and then pretty much everyone left and he completely perked up and was fine and finished building his house. Apparently he couldn't cope with so many people.
Elizabeth loved everything but then was a bit annoyed because I didn't have dough ready on time for her friends to finish their building before having to leave early.
There were some neat creations this year including a Telsa cyber truck, an imperial star destroyer, a death star and a palm tree. Michael made cookies but didn't decorate them as he was too busy eating the candy. Amelia made a gummy bear playground (her own idea). Matthew made a pokeball and Elizabeth made a karate dojo.
In the end it was still loads of fun but we do need to think about practical limits for next year.
Elizabeth got nailed in the face at karate and suffered what's probably her first real karate injury - we made a big deal out of it teasing her and she was NOT amused. Apparently the kid she was fighting has a pair of broken gloves which was the source of the injury.