katie has a giant tree. they cut the beast down themselves at the end of november. so giant that one cannot decorate it without a ladder. brent confessed to me that he forgot to put the tree in the shaker, and that the house was full of needles when they brought it in. when i got there it was sitting there majestically in the front window, almost shaped in tiers like a wedding cake.
i slept on the bunk bed in the family room downstairs. katie found a little shelf for me to put my stuff and i hung my advent calendar by the bed posts. it was a fine arrangement, the only downfall being the ease of which one could be mauled by the enthusiastic love of malachi at any given time. but there are worse things than to be loved enthusiastically.
we cut snowflakes as is tradition. natalie lugged in the ladder and hung half of them before running off to deliver her secret santa items, a task she was consumed with all christmas. while her and elizabeth were gone, malachi sang 'said samuel' while laying on the back of the couch and slapping the time with his feet. he surprised himself with how well he knew the words, so he sang it again and again and again. i recorded him.
on sunday the missionaries came for dinner and brent and i both happened to open our eyes part way through the blessing to see one of the elders bowing his head almost right into his bowl. those elders are both a little odd.
monday night for family home evening we did a classic drop and dash of christmas treats and some different people's houses.
katie has a low church table set up in front of her couch and that's where all the wrapping magic took place. first i did a major organization of the ribbon box which worked out verrrry satifactorily. i mean i was so so pleased with myself. then i began to churn out wrapped presents in beautiful little packages of art and place them on the book shelf to be safe. "auntie laura, presents go under the tree" malachi kept telling me. while elizabeth did her best to keep track of who had how many presents and from whom.
we did quick shopping trips so where i helped michealah chose some clothes for elizabeth and helped elizabeth get some jewelry for katie and to the educational store where i helped natalie chose the exact same things for malachi that he got in his stocking. exact. lol. ahhh....her face when he was opening his stocking! katie helped me pick out a shirt for brent and then we decided it would be a good idea to get him cheif's tickets. katie and brent have become fans of their local hockey team. so we went to the areana on the last day one could buy them and the lady told us of this great deal where you buy 4 vouchers from save on for 50 bucks, you bring them there, and they give you 4 tickets and a 25 dollar save on gift card. sold. she threw in a magnet and a game schedule too. i didn't know how to wrap that so i stuffed it in one of brent's doctrine books and wrapped that.
katie made ginger snaps and brent made fudge and caramels. katie also made these yummy coconut balls that you dip in chocolate. i helped her form them and actually mine were balls and hers were logs.
after much deliberation and pinterest searching i came back to my original idea for christmas dinner dessert. home made ice cream sandwiches. so one day i made the dough with elizabeth and malachi in which i turned them on to saying molasses like mooooooooLASSES! malachi and i kept saying "i don't know if it's going to fit in there" which started with the flour but then we just liked saying it to each other.
the next day malachi and i baked the cookies. well first he had a major melt down because i said he couldn't help until he cleaned his toys and he thought that was super mean,but after he got over that he did it pretty quickly. then he was the best sugar roller in the west. we made 114 cookies.
was it the next day or the next day that i set up the ice cream sandwich station in the down stairs kitchen. i was down there trying to create the most efficient set up that i could to streamline the process, because as you may or may not know ice cream melts. so. one has to work quickly when one is working with the medium of ice cream. katie texted me "what are you doing" "setting up my lonely station" i said emphasizing that i was all alone in my project. but she came and helped me and soon natalie did too and we got them all made and wrapped in wax paper and back in the freezer as fast as could be. it was very satisfying to have it done days before christmas and to not have to cook anything or prepare anything on christmas.
one day elizabeth malachi and i played that we were reindeer and sometimes elves. elizabeth's reindeer was minty. malachi's was dasher and mine was lippy pip pop. elizabeth did a very good job using make up to make her and malachi's faces look like reindeer. my elf's name was zelda and she was very uncooperative but later she gave the other two an ice roller coaster ride.
some nights we watched cheesey christmas movies while we wrapped. the cheesiest might have been the christmas inheritance. wow, it was bad.
so katie's van didn't start one night. so brent put and new battery in it. then it wouldn't start another time. so brent put a new alternator in it and changed the brakes while he was at it. his parents were over before heading to the island and his dad helped out.
christmas eve was a sunday and i had nothing i needed to get done. it was weird. the missionaries were once again over. bryan also showed up. we had perogies and chili and fritos. after some waiting in the bitter cold at the first place, we met up with doug and delanie and sarah and kyle and sang carols. then we sang to our requisite empty house. then we sang to the tambres. then the van wouldn't start again. this time 3 guys were hovering over the engine and trying this and that. nothing worked. so everyone left michealah and i there and katie went and got my car and picked us up. meanwhile they caroled without us, which couldn't have been that good seeing as katie michealah and i were missing. hello. sarah missed us. our last place was the kindly old retired mechanic in yarrow. who told them to bring their van in and he would look at it.
back at home we had a nice candle ceremony and all the kids went to bed. natalie helped me wrap santa gifts for a while until it was time for her to leave if you know what i mean. then i was a wrapping machine and katie brought things out for me and assembled stockings and such. we were done by 12:30 which was amazing to us. we sat and talked until 1ish and then went to bed. i fell asleep but she apparently texted michealah until 2ish.
i think i woke up 7 thirtyish with a loud yell by malachi. i came upstairs and then we awaited all the kids. at katie's house each kid takes a turn taking something from their stocking and then when they are done each adult takes a turn taking from their stocking. then they open the santa gifts and then this year natalie passed out the presents. many good things were given and received. i got some lippies, a teal eye liner, a beautufil colourful duvet cover, a yummy cookbook, some earrings, a painting and a stuffed dog i have yet to name. part way through wrapping elizabeth was not feeling well and this was a baaaaaaaad omen of the plague to come.
after the tree we had perogies for breakfast. katie didn't want to but she did. and she enjoyed it. we went to have naps but i never had one. eventually the time came to trek out to abbutsfurd for christmas dinner. i went with katie michealah and malachi. mic and mal had the just woke up grumpies. just saying. just noting for posterity.
doug and del's house was alive as it always is when filled with 2 brothers families and 3 sisters familes (my family is the quietest). the food was super yummy as usual. after dinner we played telephone pictionary with up to 10 people and it was soooooooo hilarious. we were in peals of laughter so often. and so often it was regarding doug. haha. to me, it was the best family dinner we've had in a long time just because we played this game and interacted in a fun way. i loved it. i brought out the ice cream sandwiches part way. people seemed to like them. they weren't perfect though.
on the way home is when i started to wheeze and cough. i didn't know it but i had just contracted the great plague of 2017. katie's family, sarah's family, doug's family and jordan's all got it. merry christmas to us. it's now a week later and i'm just out of bed and out of the house for the first time. it's like the whole week was a black pit of dispair and illness. fevers, chills, coughing attacks, body aches ear aches, head aches, snot flying sneezes, food tasting like metalic and salt. food losing all it's joy.
but i didn't say yet that i left on boxing day after watching despicable me 3, doing some clay mud masks, and after packing everything up and putting it in the car. i had to work the next day. when i got home it was only 4:30 and i did something that i never do.... i UNPACKED MY SUITCASE. i'll just leave you stunned with that information for a while.
that night i tossed and turned with a fever and chills and the next day i went in to work as a deathly sick person and then i never returned. the end.