Christmas 2017

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Happy New Year!

Back in October, or November, I intended to share a little about how our family is adjusting to life with two little ones. But I never seemed to have the time or energy to sit down and write a post…so that probably tells you what you need to know about life with a two-year-old and a newborn. As we finish out the holiday here, I’m feeling a little more settled into life. Sleep-deprived, yes. Not looking forward to Peter going back to work, yes. But also knowing that the hard days are just days and they end and the good days are so, so good.

Christmas this year was particularly lovely. For the first time, Pearl was really able to look forward to the season and to be excited. We had to hide things and speak in code and wrap gifts after she went to bed and I loved every minute of it. At the beginning of the month I put together a little Advent calendar for her and I and hung it on our picture wall in the dining room, as seen above. Every day there was a little tag to turn over with an activity to do together. Sometimes it was opening a new book, sometimes it was making cookies, sometimes it was sending a Christmas card. It was a fun way to open the season together.

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Pearl loves being in the kitchen with me right now so we did a lot of baking together in December. This is a picture of her helping me roll dough for cinnamon buns.

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We hunted in the woods near our house for pine branches and pine cones to decorate our house.

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Rose showed very little interest in the Christmas preparations but has continued to be a super mellow and happy baby, content to sit in her little chair while Big Sister and I bake, or to nap on the couch while we play on the floor next to her. Rose is smiling and laughing now and I love it so much.

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Their sister relationship is sometimes so lovely I can’t believe it – when Pearl asks to hold Rose or kisses her good night. Most of the time though the best case scenario is that Pearl ignores Rose. We are taking it day by day, working through jealousy and frustration and all the big emotions that come with being not-quite-three-years-old.

We also continued one of my favourite traditions: The Great Christmas Tree Hunt. We drove into the forest nearby and cut down a Christmas tree. Pearl had vague memories of previous trees in our home and was thrilled to decorate again. Our tree had a cluster of lovingly placed ornaments on the lowest branches.

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We were able to keep it simple this year while still seeing both sides of our families. We were very grateful that everybody travelled to us for Christmas. We spent Christmas Day with Peter’s family and mind came up after New Year’s Day. Being able to spend time together without schlepping a newborn into the city was a real gift.

We tried to keep things simple for our girls too. Rose’s interests are few – her stocking was filled with soothers and washcloths. Pearl was very excited about presents but her excitement covers all manner of things so we could have wrapped almost anything and put it under the tree and she would have been happy. One afternoon I took her to the toy store and let her pick out a present for Rose. That turned out to be the noisiest toy in our house now and Rose is more scared of it than anything else but maybe in a couple more months she’ll enjoy those singing frogs. (Rose picked out a present for Pearl too, with my help.)

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This picture kind of sums up their relationship. Matching Christmas dresses on Christmas Eve, just before heading to church. I did not buy them matching dresses. I did buy them matching pyjamas to wear that night, with visions of Christmas morning and showing up at the grandparents in their adorable matching jammies. The girls had other plans; Pearl woke up Christmas morning crying that she didn’t like her pyjamas and wanted to change immediately and Rose had a blow-out before breakfast. So it was not a perfect Christmas but it was pretty darn close.

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Snow Day (and other Christmasy moments)

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We don’t get a lot of snow in our part of Canada and when we do it tends to melt away pretty quickly. Despite seeing snow in the forecast, it was a lovely surprise to look outside this morning and realize the white stuff really was coming down.

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Pearl’s seen snow just once before in her twenty-one months of life. Last year on Christmas Eve we drove up to a slightly higher altitude so that she could experience it. This morning, as the flakes were coming down, I bundled her up and we went for a walk right away because I wasn’t sure if it would last all day. (It’s now past noon and it’s stopped snowing though there’s still a little on the ground.)

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Thank goodness for hand-me-down snowsuits from older cousins!

It’s wet and slushy and it won’t be here long but Pearl had a blast stomping and playing and insisting I make more snowballs. Today nicely corresponds with a professional development day so our local park was full of kids out playing in the snow.

And then we came home and cuddled up with warm milk, banana loaf, and The Littlest Hobo.

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It’s definitely feeling like Christmas around here. This past weekend we went out on our annual Great Christmas Tree Hunt and we found a good one.

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Pearl’s not that in to looking at the camera these days.

We picked a full-sized tree this year in hopes that Pearl’s old enough to understand that she has to leave it alone. So far, so good. She loves when we turn on the lights and is delighted by all the new little decorations around the house for her to play with.

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Every day Pearl is growing and learning and it feels like every day we have more fun together. I’m so excited to watch her enjoy her second Christmas.

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IMG_6247Christmas is a little different around here this year. We are thinking about traditions – ones we have and love, ones we want to implement in our family. Christmas will look a little different again next year and the year after that.

A couple of weeks ago, we went on our annual Christmas tree hunt. It was cold and wet and probably the fastest hunt we’ve ever had. This year we searched for and found a smaller tree. Small enough to put up on top of a desk in the corner of our living room so that it’s out of reach of the smallest person around here.

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A small tree is definitely easier to cut down and transport.

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Pearl has opened one Christmas present so far and her favourite part was the bow so Christmas morning promises to be pretty pressure-free. (In future years I probably won’t be able to shop for her while she’s present but it’s been pretty convenient this year.)

Pearl and I dressed up for a Christmas party.

Pearl and I dressed up for a Christmas party.

Pearl has enjoyed* two Christmas parties so far, as well as a night with her grandparents while Peter and I were at his staff party. This week she is enjoying having Peter around all day (and I’m enjoying the naps I’ve had while the two of them hang out). It’s the first time in years I haven’t had to work in the days leading up to Christmas and that’s nice too.

*”Enjoying” might not be the right word for our little introvert but she was there.

Christmas Comes to Halfmoon Bay

It’s feeling festive around here.

Last Saturday, this was my view while eating breakfast:

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That’s right – the first snow of the season! (Hey, that’s a West Coast winter for you.) It lingered briefly and is now not much more but a distant memory. Maybe we’ll get some more one day.

It was a slightly less frosty but still very festive day this weekend when Peter and I embarked on one of my favourite holiday traditions. The Great Tree Hunt!

This is where we go into the woods near our house and find our Christmas tree, cut it down, find a way to transport it in our car, and bring it home. Martha Stewart perfect fir Christmas tree it’s not, but it’s always fun to tramp through the bushes and find our favourite.

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It was successful!

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(That stump to Peter’s left is not the stump left behind by our tree. In case you couldn’t tell.)

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I also started some Christmas baking this weekend and I was pretty proud of myself for having the foresight to make double batches and hide half in the freezer. Because while many foods don’t appeal to me these days, sugar is not one of them.

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Baby’s first picture with Christmas Tree!

Peter: Turn sideways so we can really see the belly.

Hi there, third trimester! It’s kind of nice to look more pregnant around Christmas time. A customer the other day was commenting on the dangers of too much delicious food over the holidays. She glanced at my belly and said, “I feel like there’s something else going on there though, so you can eat whatever you want.”

My boss helpfully chimed in with, “Oh no, she’s just fat.”

But seriously, are you going to tell a pregnant woman she’s had enough shortbread?

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And a family shot for good measure!

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt 2013

As a kid, I generally believed that everyone celebrated Christmas the way my family did. Obviously, this was not exactly true and became evident the older I got and the more Christmases I spent with people who I wasn’t related to. Part of the fun of getting married is learning to combine the separate and similar traditions Peter and I grew up in.

One of my favourite traditions from Peter’s family is going out to cut down a tree. This year, Peter and I got to cut down a tree for our own little home. In our four married Christmases, this is only the second Christmas tree we’ve had so I was pretty excited.

Where we live, you’re allowed to cut down one tree under 5 metres, located on Crown land, for your personal use. We printed off our free permit and off we went up the hill near our house. With just two of us, it didn’t take long to agree on a Christmas tree and Peter got to work with the saw.

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We loaded it up in the back of our truck.

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If you’re the type of person who loves full and plush Christmas trees, finding a wild Christmas tree is not for you. These are real trees and they are far from “perfect”. But we’re pretty fond of ours.

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A few lights, a smattering of decorations that we’ve collected over the years, Christmas carols playing, and it’s definitely looking a lot like Christmas around here.

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Peter finished Christmas cards while I started wrapping presents and, all in all, it was a pretty great afternoon.

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(I bought glitter wrapping paper because it looks pretty but there was so.much.glitter. I think it’s still in my hair three days later and there’s definitely still a pile of it on our floor.)

 

Unrelated item:

If you glanced out your sliding glass door and saw this:

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…you’d think, at least for a second, that it was a coyote, right? Right?