Christmas this year at our house ran right into January bustle... it's just now, mid-January, that I've had time to pause. Albeit late, I didn't want Christmas to go unmarked on here, so I thought I'd still recap anyway. Grab a tea, it's really a not-so-quick recap!
After a month of kids celebrations at the library, their school, Beavers and Cubs, we headed to Nova Scotia early to spend the holidays with Troy's family, squishing all of us into their home for ten days. Come Christmas morning there were eleven stockings hung on the chimney with care! Although they always love to see us come I'm sure they were glad to have some quiet and breathing room again when we drove off.
We went down the weekend before Christmas to make it to Troy's mom's family party there. The days flew by. We had such a jam packed week that we sat at the beginning of it to schedule our days (highly recomended). We fit everything in and had time to sit cozy and visit as well. We each did a little shopping (for me, things I had saved to pick up when we got to the 'big city', for Troy, more like his entire shopping list), visited with friends, cooked, crafted, and visited with each other. The kids went to Claytime (a pottery place for kids, where they pick out their piece, paint on their glazes and pick it up later after it's been fired) and they went to a movie with Grammie and their aunt Kaylea, something that's become a bit of a tradition when they get together, and this time Claire was big enough to go too!
We all went to see a Christmas Carol, a one man show that was amazing, funny and entertaining, and the way this actor could morph from one character to another was art. It was also a bit of an art keeping Claire and Max quiet, but it was really for us and the big boys. Seth rated the scariness factor of each ghost afterwards, Jake Marley won the prize with his grey face and chains. I clearly remember my parents taking us to the theatre when my sisters and I were little, how grand I felt and how exciting it was, getting dressed up and filing in to the fancy theatre, listening to the songs and watching the actors in the dark.
On Christmas eve I hadn't managed to fit in a visit yet with my sister and nephew, who also live in Halifax, so with my three boys (miss Claire needing some rest at home with Daddy), we got together for brunch and to visit the art gallery. I've been making a point of visiting galleries and openings more often since starting my job at the gallery here, picking up tips along the way, but mostly I didn't realize how seldom we took advantage of the cultural opportunities that surrounded us when we lived near the city, until of course they weren't so readily available anymore. Anyway, the gallery was a fantastic way to spend a Christmas eve morning. I can't find it on the AGNS site, but our favorite was an exhibit of hanging plants lined with sensors (invisible to us) that 'talked' to you. High pitched and aggravated little 'plant voices' if you moved aggressively, lower and melodious when you were gentle and slow. We could have played in that one exhibit for hours. There was one floor that offered a family booklet to accompany it, a sort of Where's Waldo of questions to help parents draw in the younger viewers. And the exhibit, Arboretum, a collection of tree art from over the ages, was pretty good, but the tree-table that accompanied it, with paper and pencils encouraging little ones to draw their own tree experiences, was fantastic! And there was the Maud Lewis exhibit to end it off, something about her intrigues little viewers. Maybe it's the colors, or her pint size real-life house on display in the gallery, or her own diminutive stature that seems so approachable to their little selves.
Then, Christmas morning was here with a blur of gift unwrapping, so many beautiful and thoughtful gifts that I think I'll do a few gifts posts this week. Everyone anxious to watch others open the gifts they had given, the kids throwing aside the clothes (a behaviour we're working on, the appropriate 'pause, smile, and appreciate' tactic), waffles and fruit and sausage for breakfast, a glorious turkey dinner in the afternoon, popping in to see Troy's grandmother and family on his father's side, and visiting a favorite aunt and uncle in the evening.
Boxing day we packed up the van, full to the gills, including the top carrier signifying our truely family vehicle (no cool left in our drive I tell you!), and drove the five hours home. To rest you think?
Onward to second Christmas!!!
Boxing day evening was a family event at my grandmother's, Bestmaur to my kids and nephew and nieces. Gifts and dessert were a nice topping after the long drive.
The day after boxing day was our second Christmas, in New Brunswick with Grampie and Grammie here. As both of my sisters kids had spent true Christmas morning with their fathers, and we had been in Nova Scotia with Troy's family, my parents had declared Christmas at their house to happen on the 27th this year. It was perfect. We had saved our presents from them and to them under the tree at their house, as had they, and we drove over in our jammies when we woke up. We joined my sisters, my nephew and nieces, and my parents who had spent the night there and were just finishing up discovering their stockings. The gift opening commenced again and we had a cozy snowed in day in pj's, with crepes for breakfast and another afternoon turkey feast.
In the following few days we visited lots with my sister and nephew, their turn to be visitors from Halifax, had a sliding party at our house, complete with hot chocolate and warm milk afterwards, and another family party with wonderful munchies and cousins gift exchange followed, this time with my mom's family.
Needless to say, we rung in New Year's tucked soundly into our beds, no energy left to party one more time.