I did get my Christmas cards from Costco and they were very nice. I was happy with the results and they came with really nice foil lined envelopes. I will definitely order from them again next year - providing I get a card made! :)
In the second week of December, we took Danielle and Sara to visit Santa Claus at the mall. Kildonan Place offered free pictures and videos, so we treked over to Transcona. The line wasn't nearly as long as I thought it would be (since we 'Peggers are notoriously cheap, I expected the line to be endless!!) Sara was actually good with the whole process. I expected her to get one look at him and wail uncontrollably, as she does with practically everyone these days since we are well into the "making strange" phase of development. She sat on his knee quite happily until the event was over. Then she saw me and started to cry. That's babies for you! With any luck, she will be willing to see him again next year. I am hoping that with the help of her brave big sister that I will not have to wait until she is 5 years old to get a second picture, like I did with Danielle.
The next week and a half was devoted to baking and cleaning in preparation for my brother Dan and his family to come stay with us over the holidays. All this, of course, squeezed in during naps and after the girls were in bed. Not much time for anything else!
Danielle's Christmas concert was on Dec 17th. Brendon's parents joined us at the concert that evening to cheer on our angel (same costume as last year, still just as sweet!) and hear her sing "Silent Night" and play the bells with her class mates. (She was the note D, so she was quite proud to be the same note as her name!) Brendon got a few photos and some video, but the camera batteries died half way through. He didn't bother changing them because it would have been over before he was finished. We'll get the video from the school again and then we will have the whole performance anyway!
The next day was a half day at school, so Danielle went in and had a party with her friends all morning. She came home hopped up on sugar and spent the next few hours bopping around the house. It is cute to see how excited she gets over Christmas vacation - reminds me of when we were kids! The next few days were spent in a frenzy of last minute shopping, more baking, and even more cleaning (because more people at home during the day = more mess. Go figure!)
Mom & Dad flew in from BC on Dec 22 and were picked up by James. They stayed at his house for a few days and got to visit with James, Lisa, and little Justin, who was only 2 years old for Christmas this year. Too young to fully understand what is going on, but old enough to be delighted by all the new toys. Probably the best age for Christmas!
Dan, Crystal, Liam, and Kyllie got to our house on the evening of Dec 23rd. I didn't tell Danielle that they were coming that night, in an effort to keep her calm so that she wouldn't get Sara wound up. It worked - I got Sara to bed no problem, then Danielle was bouncing off the ceiling when I told her that her cousins would be at our house in about 10 minutes. The kids played great until about 10:30pm, then Dan got them rounded up in their sleeping bags (Danielle too) and tucked them in. Danielle and Dan managed to fall asleep, but Liam and Kyllie were up for a few more hours yet! Then some time in the middle of the night, Danielle woke up and was scared because she was in the dark and her mind was playing tricks on her. She came back up to her own bed and fortunately went back to sleep shortly thereafter.
On Christmas Eve day, Crystal was supposed to have a doctor's appointment out of town. Fortunately she called ahead to see if their office was open and found out that it was not. Better to find that out before driving an hour and a half in the cold and blowing snow! She and Dan decided to do a bit of last minute shopping, so the kids stayed and played. Danielle and I had baked cookies the day before, so I got the kids to help decorate cookies to leave out for Santa. It was cute to observe the stages that each of them are at. Danielle strived for accuracy in her gingerbread man, Liam liked piling on the decorations, and Kyllie covered hers with an inch of pink frosting and then licked it clean!
On Christmas eve, the kids were all pretty tired, so they were herded off to bed shortly after dinner. Danielle put out cookies for Santa and then she too headed off to bed. The adults enjoyed a nice quiet evening of Wii games. :)
Christmas day started later than we had expected, with the first of the kids getting out of bed at 8:30am. They opened their stockings and then played for a bit. We had a small breakfast and then (im)patiently waited for Grandma, Grandpa, James, Lisa, Justin, and Uncle Ron to come from across town.
Once they arrived, the kids went into overdrive! There was paper everywhere as the kids tore into their gifts and checked out each others' presents. It was mayhem, but it was fantastic!
Then we had a huge brunch, cooked almost single handed, by Brendon. It was delicious! The kids played for a bit and then James, Lisa, and Justin headed back to their house to prepare dinner. Everyone else visited for a while longer then they too headed over to James' house.
We went to Allen & Heidy's house for Christmas dinner with Brendon's family. The dinner was fantastic and we so enjoyed their company. We waited for a Randy & Gail and family for a while, but it was clear that the girls needed to head home for some well deserved sleep, so we opened gifts and then came back home. Danielle went off to bed, but Sara decided that she got enough of a nap on the way home, so she stayed up with the adults for some more fun on the Wii.
We had a big turkey dinner at our house on Boxing Day. It was a late dinner since the turkey was slow to cook, but better a late dinner than sick dinner guests! It was another nice evening together with the whole Fawcett clan. Something that doesn't happen, so it is always special! We got some great pictures of all of the grand kids together. And all of them together with Grandma and Grandpa. I am sure they will be treasured for years to come!
Dan and Crystal stayed a few more days with us. Dan, Crystal, and Brendon took the kids sliding. Liam and Danielle had a blast, but Kyllie got cold quickly so she and Crystal came home for some hot chocolate. The guys decided to take the two remaining sledders to a bigger hill for more snow action. Apparently on one run, Danielle did a spectacular fly through the air and landed backwards. Fun was had by all!
After Dan & Crystal headed back to Swan River, Mom & Dad came to spend one night with us. Danielle and Grandma did lots of crafts and everyone had a great visit. Brendon took them to the airport the next day and they were off to Kelowna again. We look forward to their return in the spring! The rest of the week was fairly quiet. Brendon worked a few days, so Danielle and Sara and I took some time to play with their new toys and just relax.
Sara figured out how to crawl on Dec 30, so her world has expanded and Danielle's toys are no longer safe no matter how far Danielle tries to sit from her! And the fun begins!
We spent New Years' Eve with our friends. Surprisingly, the kids all made it to midnight, with Sara taking a short nap from 9-9:30 amid three kids playing "parade" with lots of marching and horn blowing! At 12:15am, we bundled everyone up and headed home.
Since New Years' Day fell on a Friday this year, we spent a few quiet days at home to recover from the excitement of the holidays. On Jan 3rd, we went to Brendon's parents' house to celebrate his mom's birthday. We had a nice dinner and visit with everyone there.
Danielle was back to school on Jan 4th, much to her disappointment (and my happiness!) The Christmas break was nice, but I needed a break from everyone elses' break! Now life is starting to settle back into our regular routine, though I suspect that is subject to change! 2010 looks like it will be busy - swimming and skating lessons both start this weekend and I am already feeling the pressure of returning to work in April. Daycare placements are hard to find, so I am praying that one of the centers close to our house will call soon and confirm that we have a spot. I loved Gramma Marie's for Danielle, but it is just so far out of our way that it will add an extra 30-45 minutes morning and night to our commutes home. That will not be good. :( But, that is a few months away so I will try not to dwell on it too much right now.
For now, I want to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year and all the best for 2010!