The most magical time of the year

**I’m having trouble uploading photos today–if you do a slideshow, all the blank thumbnails will show up**

I have to be honest; I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas. Chris will attest to the fact that I find it a bit stressful and never seem to find the joy of the season among the errands, shopping, cooking and preparing. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, has always been the holiday that warms my heart. With kids, however, there is no doubt that Christmas trumps all other holidays throughout the year. It is the mac daddy of the calendar pages that involves a huge lead-time and lots of counting of the number of sleeps left until the big day.

This year, we hauled out the box of decorations mid-December and Ineke got it organized for us. Then Oma Dolphin arrived and the Christmas music started along with decorating the tree. Then the baking, the crafts, more music and wrapping. It is really hard not to smile with the kids doing a Christmas parade through the living room while belting out Jingle bells. Please tell me how it is that Ineke knows the words to almost every Christmas song on my iPod?

The kids have been so excited that I have to say it is a bit contagious. I  even found myself humming a Christmas tune alone in my car.

Christmas Eve was Willem’s birthday. Poor little guy was so sick that he threw up at dinner and then promptly fell asleep on the sofa before his cake and candles! Bas and Ineke made sure that we left out enough cookies and milk (chocolate milk to be precise) for Santa and we watched the Santa tracker on TV. When Santa reached Toronto, Ineke got worried that they weren’t in bed yet and that he wouldn’t come, so everyone scurried off and managed, surprisingly, to fall asleep right away. 

Magically, Santa did arrive and under the tree was bursting with presents, as were the kids stockings. About 6:30, Ineke came running into our room and announced what she’d found downstairs. They opened their stockings and I got breakfast ready before we opened the rest of the gifts. It wasn’t too crazy this year. They got some wonderful gifts (thanks everyone!) including new hand-knit socks from Grammie (which they’ve been asking for), Hot wheels set, new skating helmet for Willem, new blankies, and lots of crafts and much more.

At the end, Bas looked at me, a bit disappointed…OK, a lot disappointed with a quivering bottom lip because Santa hadn’t left the one thing for which he has been wishing for months…a talking Buzz Lightyear (from the Toy Story movie). Well, we moved the couch over and discovered two more presents and the rest of Christmas can be summed up by saying that it has been a battle of the Buzzes.


After relaxing at home for the rest of the morning (we were done with the tree by 9am) we headed out to the airport to pick up Oma and Opa who were flying in from Calgary. After we met them, we drove all together down to Surrey to Mark and Elisa’s house for Christmas dinner. 

Of course, there were lots more presents at Valentina’s house and once again, the kids got spoiled with new games, colouring books, puzzles and chocolate (thanks to all the Santas!)

Mark and Elisa did a fabulous job on the feast. Dinner was a splendid turkey with lots of trimmings. Mmm…delicious. We all ate far too much, but it was a lovely evening. It was topped off by singing Happy Birthday to Willem and enjoying his doggy birthday cake.


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