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what a lovely christmas we had! christmas eve morning was very fun having our own little family christmas. ben loved his tool set - mostly the circular saw and drill that make noise!
in the afternoon, we headed to the shulbas for the next round of christmas! ben had just woken up from a late afternoon nap - we thought it might help make present opening less overwhelming. ben's first present was a little chair (well, big for him!) so he can watch elmo's world in comfort! he was pumped!
we quickly discovered that the problem with new toys is getting them out of their boxes fast enough! they're all tied down tightly with all kinds of wire and plastic gadgets! ben had a few fits about this both christmas eve and christmas day. (can you see his face in this picture below? haha)
ben was wiped after all that over stimulation and was happy to sit with grams and pop to read his bedtime story. phew.
once he was down, we went on to our classic christmas eve dinner of cooking on stones! we took photos but they're exactly like 2009, 2008 (no post because we went to hawaii instead of posting about christmas!), and 2007! haha. we like traditions and i think we need to cook on these stones more than once a year! so fun!
christmas morning we were off to WR as soon as we got up. got there in time for cinnamon buns among other sweet breakfasty treats!
(if you're wondering what happened to judy's hair there in the middle - that's not judy. that's my mom's second cousin who is living in nanimo and wasn't headed home on ontario for christmas so he came here!)
ben went down for a nap after breakfast and we opened our stockings AND presents so that by the time ben finally woke up, no one had presents left but him! he was loving it! after present opening, we headed out to crescent beach for a walk in the cold air - we were thankful for no rain so that we could continue this semi-tradition of christmas photos at the beach!
after dinner and more playtime, ben had another story time with another grandma. life is good!
post ben-bedtime, we played games and ate lots of dessert! mmm...judy's shortbread cookies - my fav.
every year we are so spoiled by our families and this year was no exception. we love being close to home at christmas and being able to enjoy downtime with our favourite people. hope you also had a great christmases - hard to believe the new year (and the resolution list!) is just around the corner!
if you're reading this in google reader, click on over to see the new header/background. that picture was taken on christmas afternoon as we took a break from being inside and went down to the beach for a walk.
it's always worked out so perfectly that tim's family had been celebrating on christmas eves before i came along. i married in and we've continued the shulba family christmas on the 24th and the macd family christmas on the 25th. tonight, as tim and i discussed what our day was going to look like tomorrow, we decided to set up ben's new tool bench tonight so that he can play with it all day tomorrow. getting it on the morning of the 25th and then jumping in the car to drive to WR didn't seem as fun. (speaking of this tool bench - it was a total impulse buy when i got my mtf email flyer and saw that it was only $20!!! it is the cutest thing with a drill and saw that make noise and light up! and there are so many tools!)
after setting it all up and putting it beside the tree, we thought, "why don't we do all our little family's present openings tomorrow morning?". being the kind of person who is desperate to open presents early, i thought this was a great idea. so tonight we've put our presents under the tree and we're looking forward to tomorrow morning. pancakes, presents, and A Charlie Brown Christmas on the pvr to watch.
this is by far my favourite christmas movie. i've been trying to make it "a tradition" to watch it with tim every year close to christmas but he's not really a re-watcher of movies. i forced him to watch it for the first time ever (gasp!) when we were dating i think and then we watched it again last year. but i've realized that i may just have to make this my own tradition. i watched it by myself last night while wrapping christmas gifts. with the christmas tree lights glowing and the fake fire burning, it was lovely. :) hope you are also having a lovely week before christmas as well.
don't get me wrong, i like the traditional gift exchange where you draw a name and know who you're buying for. then you give it to them and they thank you and it's all merry and fun.
what i don't like is the generic "bring a $10 gift" gift exchange that you then play the stealing game with. i hate trying to pick out a gift for this game because there's so much pressure. when the person who picks your gift doesn't like it, it's obvious as they shout, "steal my gift!" every time someone is picking. that's so unthankful and rude - i can't handle it. how does that make the person feel who BROUGHT that gift? augh! i get all upset just thinking about it. haha.
so at the last tupperware manager's meeting of the year, we had a little christmas party. we had to bring a $15 gift. i stressed out shopping for this gift for way too many hours and ended up with a couple winners' trinkets and a $10 gift card for tim hortons. when it came time for the "game", we drew numbers and i was first pick. i picked a gift and it was a few packages of different martini mixes - i'm sure everyone was annoyed that i got this gift since i don't drink but it was a cool gift. then the gifts were picked one by one: a snowglobe, a party lite candle, a canister of christmas tea. no one was stealing. the person with the candle was shouting for people to steal it from her. my gift was picked next - fake sounding oohs about the gift card. maybe no one likes tim hortons... then the last person to go stole the gift that he'd given - my martini mix stash. i had the chance to steal and i just wanted to take back my own gift but thought i shouldn't so i didn't. i just took the last gift under the tree. i ended the game. everyone booed me for not stealing. seriously. but i didn't want any of those gifts! so much pressure. so anyways, i ended up with a reusable shopping basket thing and the reputation for being no fun at stealing games.
i suggested that we pick names for next year's gift exchange...we'll see...maybe i won't be invited after this year. haha.
i've lamented many times that there should be restaurants or coffee shops that cater specifically to parents with little kids. parents could meet up with friends, get to eat out, while their children play in the play area. so far, mcdonalds is our only option and that's not even really for toddlers. well, my friends, alyssa and james, found a place off of commercial (in vancouver) that has figured this out and james had heard they had a great breakfast menu but thought it might be strange to go there with no kids. so i've been meaning to blog about this for a week now but last weekend, tim, ben, and i slept over at james and alyssa's house in vancouver so that we could wake up in the morning and try out this restaurant: little nest.
in my mind, i'd imagined climbing structures that the kids are climbing, sliding, and playing on but actually, it's a little wooden play kitchen, old school toys, lots of books to read, a mini-picnic table, wooden fruits and vegetables, etc. (in retrospect, there would be some liability issues around having climbing things probably, right?) we got to the restaurant early enough that we got a great table next to the play area and ben went to work in the kitchen.
turns out that just because this place has a kid's area doesn't mean they're not serving up crazy good food. everything is as local and organic as possible and much fancier than my usual taste. i ordered the "brioche french toast with figs, pear, and cinnamon". i was a little nervous - like, have i even SEEN a fig before? probably not. it shows up looking...fancy. whipped cream with pistachios on top and a little round dish that looked like olive oil on the side. well, turns out that was not olive oil - it was pear syrup. this dish was AMAZING, amazing, amazing. figs are tasty and so are pears and whipped cream with pistachios. so much food. alyssa ordered the same thing and couldn't finish it. while we ate, we enjoyed chatting with NO kid interruptions because ben didn't give us a second look while we were there. he played contentedly until we were finished eating.
best dining experience with child since ben was born, by far. thanks for finding this place j&a and letting us sleepover so we could go there with you! (wish we had photos but my camera was in WR at the time...next time)
(tim hung these with strings that have little loops on the top and bottom so that you can easily bring them inside if it's windy or you see a thief across the street eyeing them - also handy for re-hanging next year. that tim - so clever.)
glittery gold christmas trees - they'll look great next to a glass thingy filled with the gold christmas balls that i bought last year for $1.94 at superstore! if only i could find a couple of glass thingys (what's the name of these things?) that i like...
you know in the summer when the first watermelons come out in stores? i'm always pretty excited about it and i buy one right away. if it's a fantastic tasting watermelon, it becomes the "summer of watermelon". i might get a watery one here or there but if that first one is good, i'm willing to keep buying them. on the other hand, i've gone whole summers not eating watermelon because that first watermelon didn't taste great. the whole summer hinges on the first watermelon on the season.
what i've decided is that winter is the same except the fruit is mandarin oranges. if the first box of oranges is great - you eat them non-stop, box after box. so yummy. if the first box is off - i'm tentative to buy another.
where am i going with this? my first box of mandarins this year was sad and pathetic. i've been eating them but they just taste like they're on the verge of going bad and they're just terrible. sigh. i guess this is a low-mandarin winter for me. hope you have better luck.
tonight we went to wendy's for dinner. i was so excited to go "out for dinner". turns out wendy's is not the place to be on a friday night so it was pretty empty. awesome for ben. he sat up in the booth with us and ate all of his pasta that i'd brought plus many bites of bread that i ripped off my burger. then he got down and ran around the empty space, climbing on chairs and looking out the window at people in the drive thru. there was another couple there with a one year old and he and ben shouted and "talked" to each other a lot. then another family with two little kids sat near us. in fact, there was wasn't anyone there WITHOUT kids. i guess when our child doesn't sit in a highchair for more than 5 minutes, this is our future of dining out for the next few years. good thing i was never that classy an eater anyways... ;)
i hoped that i would never be the mom dragging her flailing, screaming child out of a store but alas, i have now had that experience. i cannot believe how often saying, "no" to ben completely flips him out. now that he's figured out how to ask to watch elmo, i feel like i'm bringing on the tantrums all the time. these tantrums include red-faced screaming, crying, hitting his head, falling down, etc, etc. i'm sure you can picture it. i knew that not having no afternoon nap or not having lunch, dinner, and snacks at a good time can make for more tantrums but getting my favourite babycenter email this morning did make me feel better:
It will be a year or two before your toddler leaves most of his tantrums behind. Until then, expect to deal with outbursts of anger and frustration on a regular basis. You can cut down on the frequency of tantrums by making sure your child gets enough sleep and eats well during the day. It's probably unrealistic to expect your energetic toddler to sit still for three square meals a day, so try giving your child a variety of foods throughout the day. Remember, a hungry, sleep-deprived toddler is a meltdown waiting to happen.
if you even mention the word "brush" in passing, ben goes running to the bathroom and whines until you come and help him get toothpaste on his toothbrush. he brushes his teeth 5 or more times a day. i used to sit him up on the counter so that he could dip his brush under the water but the other day i put a little stool in there for him to stand on. now he runs to the bathroom on his own, climbs up, opens the drawer to get out his brush THEN whines for me to come help him. but really, how can i say no?
this morning, we began the book advent calendar. being the last minute person i am, i'm missing 6 books still and also, i had planned on making them a little bit prettier. oh well - at least this is my trial run and ben doesn't get it anyways! when i brought him out this morning and showed him the books, ben was mostly annoyed that i wasn't getting him his breakfast. he kept saying, "milk" while i was showing him how to open the wrapping. okay, so this new tradition is mostly for me. ;)