Since my last post, I started and finished my Christmas shopping, had a birthday, and celebrated Christmas. Now the tree is down, decorations are mostly put away and it's all in the past.
But it was a good month. In fact, I'd say it was one of the better Decembers I've had. Doing my Christmas shopping later seems to work well for me. It seems like it would be more stressful but somehow it's not. I have less of a tendency to over-buy and over-think things.
We also had a lot of quiet evenings at home and some outside entertainment as well. Dale and I took the kids to see A Christmas Carol at MTC. We literally had front row seats (cheap seats!) to all the action and all five of us loved the show. Another evening a bunch of us went out for Vietnamese food and to a Christmas concert at the West End Cultural Centre. I saw the ad on Facebook and rounded up a crew to go see a band none of us had ever heard of before (Sultans of String). They were great and it was a spontaneous fun night.
We had friends over for appetizers another night:
Dale's work party was another night, which is not my favourite. I don't know anyone because it's the staff of the office where he rents space from. We literally talked to one guy the entire time - it was just the three of us at a table - and I spent a fair amount of time strongly encouraging him to seek counselling to get over a wrong that had been done to him in the past. That was not super festive.
It really makes a difference having no kid activities in December. The days of school Christmas concerts, recitals, and gymnastics parties appear to be behind us. I kind of miss them, but I guess there's a reason this was such a relaxed December.
Now let's talk about my birthday in great detail. You can skip this paragraph if you saw my pics on Instagram. I basically photo-documented the whole day. But I'm glad I did because it was such a great day. From now on, I'm going to try and replicate it exactly every year. Every month would be even better! Or every week! Every day might be a bit much.
Dale is always good about making my day special and tries to keep it separate from Christmas. He always wraps my gifts in birthday wrapping paper. He left me Ferrero Rocher chocolates in my underwear drawer and there was a stack of gifts on the table when I got up. He commissioned Chloe to bake me a chocolate cheesecake birthday cake.
Darla, Shannon and I went for to Stella's for brunch. Darla's birthday is the day before mine (and Shannon's is in January) so it was a general celebration. Once we all found parking, it was a great way to start the day. They could set up a Stella's in the middle of a cow pasture with parking a mile away and it would be packed all the time. Even if people had to walk through knee-deep cow shit and deal with raging bulls. But I love every menu item I've ever tried there so I guess there's a good reason for that.
I stopped in Osborne Village to do some last minute shopping and then headed home. On Academy, I saw a car ahead of me lose control on the road and her car slid around and crashed to a halt when it smashed into a street sign. I was right behind her and stopped to check on her. Her window had smashed all over her and she was very shaken but she was physically okay. I stayed with her a while to make sure she was okay and knew what to do and luckily she could still drive away. She was pretty distraught and I felt really bad for her. But it could've been so much worse.
In the afternoon, Kristin stopped by for a short visit and then Janet came over and we went to Starbucks. When I got home, it was almost time for happy hour. My neighbours brought all the food and even made fancy birthday crantinis.
Right after that, Dale and the kids took me to the Marion Street Eatery for dinner. I've been there a couple of times and it never disappoints. I had a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich which I would definitely have again.
We came home for birthday cake and presents. Chloe always does an amazing job of organizing and collecting from the other kids and buying gifts I love. They got me a yoga mat, soap and more. Dale's not too bad himself - I got clothes, a puzzle and a Hamam gift card from Ten Spa.
|This is one of my favourite gifts. I always beg Neve to let me do her hair like I did when she was younger but she always declines. So she made me this clever jar where I can pick out hairstyles to do on her. I love it so much.|
So that was my birthday. I'm very thankful for my family and friends who made it such a great day. Hashtag blessed. Hashtag ILoveThem. Hashtag IlookforwardtotheexactsamedaynextDec.22. Yeah, that's pretty annoying.
Dale's sister and her family from Florida come for Christmas every other year and this was an "on" year. It's always a treat to have them here and makes the celebrations more fun. They came over for brunch on the 23rd, and then we celebrated Christmas with the whole family on Dec. 26.
On Christmas Eve, we cleaned up, played games, and watched a movie. Then we had our annual fettuccini-scallop dinner, followed by the candlelight service at Grant. Singing Silent Night with all the candles lit is probably one of our favourite things ever. Dale's mom joined us for the service and then came over afterward. We had a chocolate fondue and opened a few gifts. Later, we went for our annual Christmas Eve walk to see lights and then watched the animated version of "The Grinch."
|Thanks to Pat for that beautiful centrepiece - it should be turned 90 degrees to show an even better side!|
Santa must have put the kids on the Nice list because this is what we woke up to on Christmas morning.
Followed quickly by this:
Dale and I usually just buy each other a few little things like socks or a book but sometimes he surprises me and goes all out. I thought I'd beat him at his own game this year and buy him a foot massager that he wanted (it's really a gift for me since that means I don't have to do it). I was going to make him wait until Christmas morning to open it but he suspected what it was and really wanted to open it on Christmas Eve. So I let him, and sure enough, he was all excited. He unwrapped it and took it out of the box, plugged it in and pressed the "on" button. Nothing happened. We tried many times, with different outlets, but it was a dud. I was so mad. Especially since of course he bought me something bigger too. I got a heated mattress pad which sounds like something old, sick people use but let me tell you how awesome it is. I turn it on about 15 minutes before I go to bed and climb into a toasty warm bed. It's a game-changer. Anyway, I went to exchange the foot massager after Christmas but they didn't have any left so they ordered me a new one.
|The karaoke machine was a hit|
I'm going to stop there and leave the rest of the Christmas updates for another day. I've been enjoying this mixed-up, unstructured blur of days between Christmas and New Years. I've finished one 1000-piece puzzle and am about to start the second. I've read, watched movies, and barely left the house. No exercising and lots of carbs is a temporary lifestyle I'm enjoying to the fullest. Chocolate covered pretzels for breakfast? Yes please.