Christmas 2012 or A Really Long Catch Up Post

I am super far behind on any type of blogging so I figured I should probably get updating, at least a little bit. In my defense, we have spent much of the last 3 weeks rotating sickness and are just now finally recovering enough to do more than lie in bed and watch Netflix. PS I'm so thankful for Netflix, yes I am.
Anyways, we didn't get around to doing as much as we would've liked to but we still made time for most of our favorite traditions. We were able to attend our ward Christmas party which was so well done, I didn't see my kids that whole morning! We made our gingerbread houses. I was smart this year and shopped the Canadian Black Friday deals and wound up scoring a gingerbread kit with 4 mini-houses, so the girls could really join in with Steve and my "decorating challenge". It worked out that our Elf, Sparkles brought the kit for us one day, so the kids were pretty excited to help us with them. I do think next year I'll get the normal sized houses, the mini ones presented quite a challenge for Steve and I, but they were perfect for the girls this year.
From left mine, Brynlee's, Kalea's, Steve's. I got the "modern cottage" which Steve thought looked like an outhouse, but I tried to make it the most attractive looking outhouse ever, and I think I succeeded. I was surprised by how much the girls actually enjoyed this activity this year, I really didn't think we'd end up spending as much time as we did, but it was great and it's nice to know that we are establishing traditions that they love just as much as we do.
This year we did Christmas with Steve's family on the 23rd. It was awesome and the kids had so much fun with their cousins, there was pretty much zero whining this year?? I guess they're growing up, yay! That made it a lot more fun for us too! It's so fun for our kids to have so many cousins so close in age, we love seeing them altogether. Kalea has developed the "cousin crush" and has been talking non-stop about Jaxen since Christmas, "Jaxen is so handsome, he's a prince, I want to marry him" etc etc... Of course we do the whole, "you can't marry your cousin" schpiel about a hundred times a day now, but it's cute that she loves her cousin so much. I did neglect to get any pix of the two of them together, but this one is when Serena's kids were singing Christmas songs and Brynlee decided to join in and sing along, pretty funny.
We also managed to get out and drive through the lights at Spruce Meadows a few times this year. The first time we went I hadn't brought my camera or cell phone and I was kicking myself for it because I knew the combination of frost/snow that we had wouldn't last. It was so beautiful. It still was when we went the second time, Kalea loved it both times, Brynlee slept through it both times but got woken up for a picture in the cold the second time around, heehee!

I didn't get tons of pix this night because it was so cold, but they have a huge amount of lights strung all through the grounds, enclosed display areas that you can go into to warm up and take pictures in. Skating rinks, Santa's reindeer hang out there, an awesome Christmas market in November, etc... We love hearing girls high-pitched squeals from the backseat too, it's amazing how much kids love Christmas lights, they actually squeal just as much driving around our neighborhood at Christmas time as they do when we go see displays like Spruce Meadows.

We spent Christmas Eve with our McMurray family and ate way too much and had fun watching the girls dance to our stellar Christmas carol singing. The girls had probably way too much Christmas punch and were pretty hyper all night, they did lay down to listen to Papa read from Luke II, but it seems like he read it a little faster this year, that or they just bounced right up after. The girls were also very excited about presents this year and so we had them give Stephen and Michelle and Nana and Papa their gifts to open so that they could see their reactions, it was really fun for them. Once we got everyone home and into bed, Steve and I got busy doing what parents do on Christmas Eve....
I wrapped presents and arranged them under the Christmas tree like a good Elf and Steve...
Built this masterpiece! We were thrilled as we unwrapped each piece and realized that we did REALLY well with buying a very high quality gift at an extremely reasonable price. Our girls are pretty hard on things, so we were more than happy to find a sturdy wood alternative to what would inevitably end up a broken plastic heap of a dollhouse. So far so good, all the pieces are still in tact!

*This is where Christmas takes a turn...*
At around 2:30a.m. Steve started feeling pretty sick, I'd been feeling kinda icky earlier but thought I probably just stuffed myself with too much sweet & savory food. I was wrong. Steve and I basically alternated using the bathroom all night long, it was an awful night. On the bright side, the kids slept in?! Unheard of in this house! It gave us just a little extra time to try to gather some energy for the Christmas morning festivities. We do think we know what we had now, apparently there was a large outbreak of the Norwalk virus in Calgary over the Christmas holidays, and wouldn't you know it, we had basically every symptom of that! Lucky us!

So back to Christmas morning... It was really difficult to get a decent stair picture of these two this year, they were so excited and couldn't both keep still at the same time, story of my life. Oh well, the out-takes are cute too! It took forever to get them past their stockings this year and I can't figure out why, I literally put socks, a toothbrush & toothpaste, a couple small dolls and a hairbrush each in their stockings this year and you would've thought they had hit the jackpot. If I had known I wouldn't have bought anything else besides the dollhouse! Anyways, Steve was so sick that I think he was only really aware of what was happening, not really involved, so this year I got to hand out presents! That never happens! It was awesome, I had enough time to snap some pictures and the kids were actually able to get the wrapping off their gifts before having another gift tossed at them! Not that Steve would EVER try to rush the opening gifts part of Christmas morning...
There were some really fun reactions on Christmas morning. Our neighbor has two cats and so as gifts for the girls she found two stuffed cats that look like hers and got them each little collars and had them engraved with the cats names. I think besides the dollhouse those cats are their favorite gifts, we can't go to bed without Mia and Lucy, we can't color without them and we can't eat without them, it's really cute, we love our neighbor. Nothing really beats the reaction to the dollhouse though, Kalea and Brynlee were SO excited and so were Steve and I. The best part was hearing "Daddy, you built that for me?! Oh thank you!" it was the sweetest thing. I was smart and caught everything on video and on the still camera, someday I'll figure out how to put video's on the blog, until then, you can imagine how cute this morning was. That's pretty much our Christmas, we were pretty spoiled and are very grateful for the awesome gifts and food and fun we were able to enjoy this Christmas. The girls spent the rest of Christmas day and the following few days playing with their new toys while Steve and I basically took turns sleeping. It was super special. Then the kids got sick and I got this nasty head/chest cold and we've been passing that around ever since. We did get out sporadically but really we've just been spending a lot of time at home, together, resting and trying to get better.
We did have a great Christmas we just wish we could've been a little bit healthier to enjoy it a bit more, we have high hopes for next year's fun lasting a little longer!

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