Christmas Break 2017 – Part 1

The lead up to Christmas break this year felt ridiculously busy – probably because this is one of those years where we worked until the 22nd – but it is always busy whether it is vacation or not and I’m happy I didn’t lose a week of vacation to all the pre-Christmas chores.

We definitely didn’t do all the usual Christmas things this year. I only made some nuts and bolt and one batch of my Christmas biscotti but I don’t honestly miss the baking. My students were generous in their gifting of chocolate so we’ve got lots around the house to satisfy my sweet tooth.

We went to E’s Christmas party at daycare (where he met Santa), helped some friends decorate their tree and went to a Christmas party where we exchanged unwanted items from our own houses (I got a lovely bird house).

I did manage some Christmas crafting, even if it meant staying up way to late on many school nights. I wanted to make E a Christmas stocking (Jon’s mom made his, Jon made mine and so I felt it was my job to make E’s). I kept it pretty simple but he loves the red pom pom nose and it looks cute hanging from the mantle.

I also worked on my collection of cloth bags. I’d like to green-up (and simplify) our wrapping of gifts and these bags are a great way to do that. I’ve now used up my whole stash of Christmas themed cotton and I think we’ve got enough bags for a while.

My trusty Elna is back in action

Christmas break started on Friday. My sister and her boyfriend arrived in time for some pre-Christmas visiting and we took them to see the lights at Confederation Park as a way to start our Christmas break. We got a huge snowfall last week (yay for a white Christmas!) but along with that have come some very chilly temperatures so we didn’t say out long.

I managed to get my Christmas shopping done before the break started so this past weekend I just had to hit up the grocery store. We kept gifting fairly simple so wrapping wasn’t the huge chore it has been in the past and I wasn’t up late on Christmas Eve doing last minute wrapping. Instead we were able to fit in a short ski (while my sister babysat) and went to bed not much after the little guy.

Christmas morning started bright and early at 7 am but we just let E play with his Santa gift and had a cup of coffee while we waited for my sister to get up. Then we did stockings, Eggo waffles for breakfast, E had a little nap and we worked our way through the rest of his gifts.

Opening his stocking with Dad
Not that into opening the gifts but still pretty excited about all the action

We hosted “luncher” and had family come over at noon for snacks, drinks, gifts, another nap and finally an early Christmas dinner. We stuck with the traditional turkey, potatoes, brussel sprouts, and cheese cake for dessert. Everyone was on their way by early evening and then we attempted to get our wound up child to go to bed. After E was finally down Jon and I finished Christmas by opening gifts from each other.

Boxing day was fairly quiet. The cold temperatures kept us inside other than alternating who took the dog for a walk. We ventured out in the afternoon to exchange a pair of slippers but spent the rest of the day helping E play with his new toys and eating leftover turkey.

Checking out his new ornaments on the tree

We dropped my sister off at the airport today which wraps up the Christmas part of our vacation. The cold snap continues so we don’t have any exciting plans for the next few days but it will be nice to just spend some down time together as this is the longest time off we’ve had since I went back to work.

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The 2017 MacDonald Family Christmas Tree Hunt (and Blogger Christmas Swap)

Read about previous years: 20162015, 2014, 20132012201120102006

It felt like Christmas at the beginning of November when we got our first snowfall, but the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having now hardly make it feel like the middle of December. While it wasn’t a winter wonderland this weekend, the warm weather made for an easy and enjoyable time to be out looking for our Christmas tree. In fact, it was so nice that we decided to spend all weekend out in the bush adventuring!

As we’ve been doing for the past few years we headed out to the Junior Forest Wardens’ lot in Jumpingpound on Saturday. It’s super easy but we’ve decided that next year we’re going to be more adventurous – particularly if the weather is as nice because everyone was out there and it was just too busy! Still, we managed to get a spot in the parking lot and headed out to find ourselves a tree.

E’s got his game face on – he’s ready to go get his first Christmas tree
Felt a lot more like a spring day than December out there

I don’t know if it was the weather or what but we really struggled to make a decision (sometimes it helps when it is really cold  – just cut something already!). We finally settled on a tree, chopped it down and hauled it out to the Disco. Then E enjoyed his first campfire (and watched us eat some hotdogs) before we headed home.

Post-tree success selfie

We had a to cut a little more off the tree before we could get it into the house but we were able to set it up right away since it wasn’t frozen. We decorated it after dinner and even though I think it is a little wonky, E’s excitement totally makes up for it.

I was more restrained in my decorating this year and didn’t insist that every ornament we own end up on the tree

Having the tree up meant that I could put up my new ornament that I got from Becky for the 2017 Christmas Blog Swap. I can’t wait to a take a photo of the little guy all decked out in his Christmas PJs to put in it! She also sent also some candy cane chocolates which I devoured immediately.

Just waiting for the perfect Christmas photo

Sunday morning we again loaded everyone up and headed out since it was just too nice to spend time doing chores. This time we headed north of the city to the area near Water Valley – a place I’ve never been – to hang out and help some friends with their Christmas tree hunt. We brought the portable BBQ and roasted hotdogs for lunch while we lounged around in the sun. Then we helped with the Christmas tree hunt, did a short walk and soaked up a little more sunshine before having to head back to the city.

Glad we chose outside over chores on a day like this!
Our perfect little hangout spot

We keep saying that we need to spend more time outdoors so it was nice to finally just do it (even if it means that my house isn’t clean).

One More Summer Vacation

We decided to squeeze in one more summer get-away – four days at the cabin to cap off our summer and soak up the sunshine before heading back to work/school/daycare. We didn’t do anything other than relax at the cabin – but why would you leave when it looks like this?

Baby E played in his portable pod, had his first swim in the lake and attempted to drink a slurpee.

I swam, went paddle boarding and read several books.

And while I haven’t been able to cross everything off my summer bucket list, we definitely got a lot of paddling in with a before bed trip out on the lake each night. Every night we were able to go a little longer so I’ve hopeful that next summer we’re going to make it out for a day long adventure!

While I know we’ve still got lots of adventures ahead of us (September can be such a lovely month) I’ve going to miss having our lazy summer days off as a family. I’m already looking forward to next summer.

 

Summer 2017 Bucket List

We’ve got scorching temperatures and the whole family is on vacation – summer is here!

We kicked off July with a trip out to the cabin. It was warm and relaxing and Baby Scotch got smothered with attention.

Now that it is summer and we’re both off, we’ve got lots of things we want to do. Some are fun and some are more chores but I’m excited to tackle both. There are lots of things we’d usually do in a summer (go for a long bike ride, backpack into the mountains) that we’re not going to do this summer with the little guy but there are lots of things that are way more fun now that he’s here (like hanging out in our yard) so I’m OK with it.

Here’s our 2017 Summer Bucket List:

  • Take the little guy camping
  • Go for a paddle
  • Go hiking
  • Use the smoker – and try something new (I’m thinking a smoked cheese?)
  • Play in the river
  • Get our front flower beds redone
  • Finally chop down the rest of the apple tree
  • Have a camp fire
  • Take another family vacation at the cabin
  • Have a picnic
  • Drink all the slurpies

Like all good lists, I hope that we can do more but I think this is a good start to a summer!

Random Friday Thoughts

Man, I feel like I have some much that I need/want to do and there just are not enough naps in the day to get everything done. Besides a hundred things around the house,  I’ve got a ton of blog posts waiting to be written about our trip, how Baby S is doing these days and our home repairs. While those are in the works, here is a quick catch up about everything else that I’ve been up to and what I’m looking forward to.

I finally started working out again post-pregnancy.

It’s been over 10 weeks since the little guy joined us and I finally got my act together enough to start working out again. While I was able to walk right up until he was born (I even went for a 20 minute dog walk during labour to help things along) and started walking again the day after, it has been quite a while since I’ve worked out (some time in the third trimester I gave it up).  My workouts are still a far cry from my pre-pregnancy workouts but are definitely a step in the right direction.

My plan for June is to work out at least every second day doing weights and a ride on my trainer. In July and August I’ll start adding back in some P90X and hopefully by September be back to running and working out consistently 5 days a week. Then we’ll have to see how I can fit it in while being back at work and a mom. Right now I’m fitting my workouts in during naps so sometimes it can take me all afternoon to fit it in.

I fit in (most of) my pre-pregnancy clothes!

Working out (and so many other things) are easier because I fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes again! They don’t fit exactly the way they used to (I’ve still got about 9 lbs hanging around that I don’t really want) but I’m OK with that. I haven’t tried everything on and I know there are some things that won’t be wearable for a while but having most of my wardrobe back has been great.

I got our garden planted – for the second time

Before we left for our vacation I planted beans, lettuce, chard and kale and set up my sprinkler systems to look after everything while we were gone. Three weeks later and only the kale and some of the chard has sprouted. I’ve been using the seeds that we bought in 2012 so I think that maybe they have reached their expiry date!

Last weekend we went to the garden centre and I bought a few packages of seeds to fill in the gaps and a couple of mature kale and squash plants. We’re keeping the garden really simple this year – just lettuce, two kinds of kale, swiss chard, two kinds of bean and a spaghetti squash. These tend to be the veggies that are most successful and that we use the most of so I figured they would be the best bang for our buck with the limited space and time we have.

In just a few weeks Jon will be off with me for the summer

He doesn’t normally get the summer off with his job but we decided to take concurrent parental leave and have a summer together. We’ll both go back to work in the fall but for the next few months we’re going to enjoy it! Yes we will be as poor as we were when we were students but having two months off together isn’t something we’ll probably do again for a long time. We have no big plans (California was our big trip for the year) but we’re hoping to get out camping and hiking during the week to avoid some of the crowds.