I don't know what I was thinking. I remember telling Ben at Thanksgiving that I really didn't have much on the calendar for December and it would be a pretty easy month. What was I thinking? It was a whirlwind of school plays, singalongs, gingerbread house making, parties, light seeing, Christmas present shopping and wrapping, visiting, I spoke at a ladies event at church and was catching up on editing my last few sessions. Add into that family time, talking about the true meaning of Christmas, baking and watching Christmas movies...and suddenly the days had zipped to the end of the month.

Like every one else, with the tragedy in Connecticut so fresh in my mind and feeling like I was constantly praying for those families, it made me appreciate even more the nest of little ones that we have so safe and healthy. It's so interesting that when tragedy strikes, all we long for is the ordinary because that's where the blessing is.

We headed up to Vancouver to spend Christmas with my family. The kids are used to the three hour trip (four with bathroom and Starbucks breaks) but we often now put on a movie in the van on the way. It's a real treat for them and they sat perfectly quiet to watch.

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Our time at Kelly's began and ended with Quinny and Theo tussling about who was in control. Each two year old yelled, "Mine!" more times than we can count and there was some grabbing, pushing, and clocking over the head interspersed with the occasional hug.

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I got to hang out with Livy, a sweet chunk of contented sweetness. Here we are in our p.j.'s before Ruby tried to pry her away from me.

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Waiting for breakfast.

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We went to Bright Nights at Stanley Park where we walked around and went of the Christmas train, Kelly and I loudly chorusing along with the Boney M Christmas album which smacked of every Christmas of our childhood.

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Back to the hot tub to warm our cold toes.

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In our jammies the next morning, the kids watched a Christmas movie, Livy passed from lap to lap.

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We're all baby lovers.

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A few minutes up the mountain and we were at Seymour to do a little snow playing around. Apparently I was being rather hilarious here.

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At the Christmas Ever service the kids were handed glow sticks instead of candles which were a HUGE hit..and rather distracting.

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It was so good to hear the truth of the Light of the World who has come to set our hearts free again and be reminded of His great love. It also felt great to sing those great old carols full of truth.

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Back to the house where I fried up the croquettes....always a big hit and extremely satisfying to make when they are eaten with such gusto.

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Our family has always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve, with drinks and treats on the table.

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Yes, that is marker on Theo's cheek during a rare break in conflict between the two.

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Ruby getting a hug for the pillow she sewed for Quinny.

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It really does please me that my kids are so thrilled with the little stuff. Jasper marvels at his own roll of tape.

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My absolute favorite gift was Ruby opening her kindle. Our little reader has faithfully saved all her allowance and cat feeding money this year and was about 75% of the way there...and Oma and Opa pitched in the rest. Oh the happiness. We had loaded it up with a bunch of classics and she immediately hunkered down to read.


Bedhead Christmas morning.

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Yogurt and fresh fruit parfaits with chocolate and almond croissants...yes please!

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Off for a walk in the capes that Ruby had sewn for everyone. They were a big hit and helped them fly.

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Oh man. Truly, this little butterball sat staring at me and not fussing as I squealed and took dozens of pictures of her.

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The kindle readers hung out while Kelly and I started cooking according to the timeline. Prime rib, turkey, swiss and cream potatoes au gratin, pan fried garlic mushrooms, peas with scallions, salad, bread.

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Next year she won't be content with milk but for now she just gazed at us from her bumbo.

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Jasper got toasted in for his first seat at "The Guys' Table".

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It was truly a great few days. Messy. Noisy. With lots of food and conversation and laughing. We are blessed.

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