Santa was here!!!

IMG_0412Santa came to our house and left me Ivy–my American Girl doll that I asked for! Mommy & Daddy also got me a lot of American Girl stuff too. But one of my favourite surprises was my gymnastics mats to practice on!

IMG_0363He said

Here we are on the other side of Christmas virtually all festive seasoned out. The tree is already down, the presents unwrapped and well-played-with and the decorations packed up and back in storage at Mom & Dad’s. And while some may see that as abrupt and even sad, I am more than okay with settling back in to a normal pace. And a normal-ish hydro bill too.

I worked right up to a half day on the 23rd, and then had two and half glorious days off to be with Danielle and Emelia and as much of our family as we could, for as long as we could. And I didn’t have to be back to work until Boxing Day at noon. So it was a pretty long respite from being in a mall at the busiest shopping time of year.

IMG_0374One big change this year was we let Emelia go a little later than we normally do what with her being almost eight years old now. Even after already having last weekend with three late nights in a row, we didn’t start the conversation about leaving Poppa & Grandma’s on either Christmas Eve or Day until after 9pm. She’s now at the age where she really gets wrapped up in the Christmas spirit. And if I am being completely honest I know both Danielle and I were selfishly and vicariously reliving those moments we had through her eyes. In fact, I think this is the first real year where I’ve really felt like I had a window what it must have been like for Mom & Dad with me. It was a delight. Though – I may have claimed that last year too – but every year gets better!

IMG_0381Christmas Eve, we spent over at Mom & Dad’s with Greg, Testza, Vaughan, Sherri, Matthew and Shawn. And of course my parents. We had a good meal where I ate entirely too much and had a lot of laughs. It was a good long visit as we were over there from mid afternoon on. And we managed to get Emelia corralled up and back home before the fat guy in the red suit arrived. She was off to slumber pretty quickly from the time we got home which left Danielle & I some time to put out our presents to Emelia and then get off to sleep ourselves.

IMG_0388Christmas morning, she was up at her usual rise-before-the-sun-has time and it was the one day of the year where we didn’t really force the issue and try and get her to let Mommy & Daddy have even three more winks. Danielle & I got situated downstairs so that we could see the reaction on her face as she came down the stairs to see if: a) Santa had come; and, b) had he listened to her wish. And that reaction was what made the months of buildup up all worth it. She immediately went to Ivy her American Girl doll and wasn’t apart from her for pretty much the next three days. Except when she needed time to work on her gymnastics moves on the mats we got her from Ikea which were also a hit.

IMG_0392Danielle & Emelia teamed up to get me two records I have been wanting for sometime—and they surprised me with a third that I had no idea had even been reissued on vinyl: the soundtrack for the movie Garden State which was a huge favourite for Danielle & I around 2004-ish when we started to really like buying music again. That movie and album was a pretty big reminder for me why albums are such a big part of my life. And kudos to Danielle for finding out about an album I wanted really bad, before I even knew it existed in that format!

IMG_0411After all the presents were unwrapped, Danielle & I partook of one of our most important Christmas morning traditions of Baileys coffees and a breakfast of peameal bacon and eggs. With our bellies and spirits filled, we took to vegging out pretty hardcore in the front room while Emelia discovered and rediscovered all of her toys.

By mid afternoon we were again over at Mom & Dad’s for Christmas dinner, with the family, though Matthew & Shawn – who were off with Shawn’s family – were substituted for the Welland Teeters (Linda, David, Andrew, Amy and Aaron). We again over ate, imbibed and did what is the best part of the holiday season which is laugh and enjoy each other’s company. Emelia was beside herself to run with and hangout with her cousins. And she was happy that she got to stay until almost 10pm before we packed up to leave.

IMG_0416The last two days for me were a blur of working Boxing Day and then another day that was just as busy as Boxing Day at the store. Today however was a day off to unwind and catch up. Emelia & I let Mommy finally get a sleep in day and we pretty much took the day at the pace befitting a Sunday. We did the grocery run, dropped off our Christmas decorations to store at Mom & Dad’s and then got in a nice visit with them over dinner.

IMG_0427This week calls for a couple days of work, then a couple more off as we kiss goodbye to 2014 down in Toronto with Todd, Charlie and Marshall before returning to London for a day of work and then down to Windsor next weekend to kick in 2015 with a visit with my cousin Bill, his two daughters who we haven’t seen in some time. It will be a great week with family at either ends of Southwestern Ontario for us.

IMG_0431With that in mind, and that I am opening the store tomorrow, time for me to turn the blog over to Danielle so she can get her part done and then we can convene on the couch for our usual week-ending punctuation of watching boob-tube and just being us.

ttfn

 

IMG_0432She said

What an amazing week! I have to say without a doubt this was the Christmas that I have been looking forward to the most in all Emelia’s years. She has wanted a real American Girl doll for years. Over the years we have bought the knock-off versions to see if she would really keep the interest in the dolls. And after 3 years of asking she finally got her much loved and anticipated Ivy doll.

IMG_0434She thought long and hard about which doll she wanted, she didn’t opt for the ‘doll of the year’ but rather one that looked just like her. And after lots of back and forth she decided on the brown/green eyed brown hair girl with freckles. And its a perfect match for our little freckled girl! We even bought her glasses so they could really be twins.

And Ivy has not left her side ever since. She has lovingly brushed and re-brushed and restyled her hair in the salon chair we got her. She has taken her to camping trips in her junior Wolfie trailer we found. All in all she could not be happier.

IMG_0435The week leading in to Christmas we pretty hectic, I had a full house until the 23rd including one of my former daycare boys making it for a very busy and loud house. Monday we decided to have the Christmas party, first to assure I would have all the kids with me but also because Emelia could not wait to get the Christmas party started. We made crafts, baked cookies, danced to Christmas music, had a pj party and we opened presents. The kids all loved their presents and the daycare Christmas party was a huge success. But man was I exhausted by the end, it was go go go with 6 children ranging from 14 months to almost 8. So lots of energy.

IMG_0445By the time the end of the day on the 23rd came I know we were all ready for the our time off together to begin. I had received some amazing and generous presents from my daycare families and Emelia received some sweet and generous presents as well. It always warms my heart when the parents get her something for Christmas. Having the daycare here is not always easy on her and including her makes me so happy.

We ended the last day before the Christmas break with a family movie night. What a perfect way to start our real time off together. I had received generously from a friend of mine a child’s movie pass to see Big Hero 6 so we decided that after the children left on the Tuesday night we go to the first evening showing. And what an amazing movie! Emelia howled through most of the movie and I can say it would be a movie we would go see again and again.

IMG_0452Christmas eve morning we took things at a pretty quiet pace, we had a couple last minute things to grab at the grocery store to make it through the next couple days and other than that we hung out together and by early afternoon went over to Poppa and Grandma’s to start the festivities. Emelia was in her glory, she got to hang out with her family and Vaughan and our otherwise shy little girl finally came out of her shell and was the life of the party. Once we tracked Santa on the Santa tracker entering into Canada we knew that we had to make our way home to get in bed before Santa arrived.

With Emelia in bed and everything in order downstairs John and I were quick to follow and crashed for the night. Before we knew it it was morning and the big day had arrived. And it was worth all the work! She was over the moon with excitement. She loved everything she had received and was just so appreciative of everything. She made us so proud!

IMG_0474The rest of the morning was a blur of toys, gymnastics mats, watching movies together and letting her play and play with everything. She was so happy, and this made me so happy. I have not been a Christmas person for years but seeing her joy and love of everything that the holidays represent makes this former grinch into a Christmas lover once again.

And I got spoiled too, in February I finally got a Pandora charm bracelet. Over the last 10 months I have received a number of charms as presents or bought myself with gift certificates I have received. But I have to say the one I received Christmas morning might be my favourite, not only it is beautiful but the reason that I love it so much is that Emelia picked it out herself! She loved that it was a limited edition made just for this Christmas. I adore it!

IMG_0490Before we knew it the morning was over and we were thinking of getting things in order to make our way to Poppa and Grandma’s to celebrate Christmas with the family. Emelia packed up Ivy in her fancy Christmas dress and we went over to spend the afternoon and evening with some of my favourite people. The kids had a blast, the parents had a great time catching up and all in all it was a pretty perfect day.

Once Christmas was over we had to lose John again to the world of Apple but Emelia and I had a couple more days off together. Boxing day after dropping John off at work Emelia and I braved the insanity of the parking lot and went into the mall to use one of my gift cards. I had received a gift card from one of my daycare families at Pandora so I wanted to add a couple charms to my bracelet. Emelia and Ivy helped me pick out the charms and then we braved the rest of the mall. It was a zoo. Thankfully we were not in a rush nor did we have an agenda for the day. We puttered around a bit longer and then made our way home.

IMG_0543Saturday was more the same except this time we brought John to work and had planned what was supposed to be a brief playdate with Anna and Grace. Well, 5 hours later the girls had a great afternoon and early evening, Susan and I had a great visit and the day was almost over. I went back to the mall to give John the car so he would have a way home at the end of his long day. While waiting for John I caught up with friends and family and then he got home before we both crashed pretty hard for the night.

IMG_0559Today was the laziest day of the all and I know John really needed it. I had already taken down and packed up all the Christmas decorations knowing that our Christmas was now over. We aren’t hosting anything this year and we were more than happy to have our living room back. We took today at a very lazy pace, got a couple errands done and then packed up our Christmas decoration for storage. The week ended with a great visit with Helen and Doug.

That is it for me this week, next week is going to more of the same, all about friends and family! Just what the holidays should be all about.

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