Twas the Week Before Christmas...

'Twas the week before Christmas
and all through the house...
the 3 year old was losing her cool,
 the 6 year old was tired of school.
The laundry was piling up
and the toys were all strewn,
Mom and Dad are ready for Christmas break to come soon!

Anyone else feel me?

3 more days and then its winter break!
I am dreaming not of a White Christmas,
but of mornings in our pajamas,
snacking on Gingerbread houses,
watching Christmas classics
and the anticipation of Santa's arrival.

We have had some great time spent with 
family and friends the past two weeks.
On December 10th we had Merry & Bright,
our church's annual Christmas evening of caroling and readings.
This year both of our girls had big roles.
Jane was set to be an angel,
but last minute stepped in to be Mary.
Besides nearly giving baby Jesus a concussion
(don't worry, he was being acted by a doll)
she did an excellent job and adored
her husband Joseph, played by her buddy Ben.
Claire sang Away in a Manger and memorized a verse
from the Christmas story along with the other students.
When it came time for the preschoolers/nativity actors
to sing their song,
Claire stepped up with the microphone
and carried them through on her own.
The little ones were more concerned with ringing their bells,
so Claire who had a solo for one verse was 
more than happy to step in and take on the entire song herself.
If you know our darling Smid girls,
you will not be surprised to hear they were stars of the show.

It was magnificent to have both sets of their grandparents,
along with a great aunt and uncle fill up an entire pew at church.
Our girls were all heart eyes that they had their fan club present.
Having present grandparents and family is not something we take for granted.
It is such a blessing that we can have both sets of parents present in our girls' lives,
cheering them on in everything they do.

Claire had a second performance 
which was her school's Christmas concert.
It was interesting to me that she was more nervous
for her school concert even though she would be singing 
about 80 other students.
She looked so cute in her pajamas and Santa Hat
 for the Polar Express themed song.

This past weekend we ventured out to the Vanouver  Christmas Market
where the girls got to sit with Santa and make their requests for gifts under the tree.
We enjoyed the sights, sounds and tastes of a very North Americanized
German Christmas Market by delighting in the handmade goods
of the  vendors including beersteins, wooden carvings of all types, nutcrackers and other goods.
For lunch we sampled spaetzle, bratwurst and hurricane potatoes.
Oh also bier and spiked cider. 
Then we stopped in at our dear friend Darcy's place to sample her baking. 
We wrapped up the evening with popcorn for dinner and a Christmas movie.

Sunday was our annual McLaren get together.
Hosted by the extraordinary Auntie Kerry and Uncle Bruce
who always throw a beautiful party.
The smell of mulled wine always reminds me
of Christmas parties at their house when I was a kid.
It was so good to see family.
Cousins and cousins kids who are growing up quickly.
Babies to come in 2018 were celebrated,
I met distant family from afar and caught up
 with cousins I hadn't seen since last year.

While it was good to see my family,
there was obvious absence.
This is the second Christmas without
both my grandfather and my cousin.
Both who passed away last summer.
We had a good talk with my aunt about
the reality of losing a child.
She shared with us that the second year is the hardest.
The reality sets in that life is going on without them here.
Christmas is a time of such joy,
but also grief.
If there was one new skill I learned in 2016,
it was to learn to carry grief and joy together.
A good reminder as we are in this season.

May this week bring you moments of calm and peace
amongst the calamity and noise! 

My great-grandma, myself and Spencer. 

This is the Christmas ornament I ordered for our tree. It felt odd having so much of our family being represented on our tree without acknowledging our sweet baby in Heaven with Jesus. This will be a way to honour Mama and Daddy's aching heart.
I also ordered one for Spencer's auntie, who just lost her husband this Christmas season.
Laurelbox is a great online shop for bereavement and hope. 

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