Christmas in Alberta (7 Quick Takes Vol. 16)

 — 1 —

We survived the drive for another year!  I’m seriously impressed by how well Sunshine, Lily and Jade travel.  We took two days to drive to Alberta (catch the 5 pm ferry off the Island, overnight in Hope, and arrive at the grandparents’ at 11 pm) and one day to drive home (leave grandparents’ at 5 am and catch the 7 pm ferry back onto the Island) and they were terrific both ways.

I have to say THANK YOU to Vancouver for FINALLY building a highway straight to the ferry; we missed an overpass on the way to Alberta but coming back to the Island it was AWESOME to be able to drive straight onto the boat without meandering through Delta and getting stuck in Langley traffic.

— 2 —

So how do we keep three girls under six busy in a truck for that long?  Well, that’s changed a bit as they’ve gotten older.  Music remains a staple (including multiple renditions of the girls’ entire repertoire of Christmas carols), but this year we also added some stories on CD: Robert Munsch and Curious George.  Sunshine and Lily sit on either side of Jade, so when Jade wasn’t napping, Sunshine kept her entertained by making facing or playing peek-a-boo.  We also talked about passing scenery, movies, Christmas, etc—whatever came up.

— 3 —

I think the girls were just as excited about seeing SNOW as they were about seeing their grandparents and cousins.  We were thankful that it warmed up (from -20 to 5* Celsius) the day after we got there.  They spent a few hours outside, climbing on the snow piles that Grandpa had pushed up at the edges of his yard or sliding off the snow-covered haybales.  We took them for sled rides around the yard and down the driveway and taught them what snow was okay to eat.  At my mom’s, they helped shovel and sweep the driveway.

— 4 —

It was fun this year to have all the cousins in one place.  Sunshine and Lily were delighted to play lots with their two older cousins (ages 9 and 6), who live next door to Grandma and Grandpa.  Their two younger cousins (ages 2 and 9 months) were staying with us at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  All the cousins are girls!

We had two nine-month-old babies in the house (they were born a week apart) and it was fun to see what they’ve each accomplished: both like waving and shaking their heads, saying “mumm mumm mumm” and feeding themselves cheerios and other finger foods.  Jade has learned to crawl and her cousin isn’t quite there yet.  And neither of them wanted to nap, of course, with all the excitement in the house.

— 5 —

Jade had three Christmas dresses this year.  One was the dress I made when Sunshine was this age; all of our girls were born in the spring(ish), so they’ve all fit that dress at Christmas—but Jade never wore it.  The other dress is one that Sunshine received for her first Christmas.  And the last dress was given to us this year by a friend who bought it last year for her daughter, but her daughter outgrew it before Christmas.  And unfortunately Jade never wore it either, because I only found it when I was packing for our trip (and frantically looking for her car seat cover for the Alberta cold).  We never really dressed up for Christmas, because Sunshine doesn’t have a Christmas dress and I honestly didn’t feel like wearing anything other than my usual jeans (with a nice top).

— 6 —

Sunshine and Lily learned several Christmas carols at school, including “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” (Lily’s favourite), “Silent Night” and bits of “O Come O Comes Emmanuel” and “Deck the Halls.”  And they remembered “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from last year.  We got them to sing for my family while we were waiting for everyone to gather for presents, and they did so, while dancing around the room with about five cameras flashing in an attempt to capture the moment.

We also sang a lot in the truck, but when my husband and I tried to teach them a few other favourite carols, we discovered that we couldn’t remember very many!  We spent a lot of time humming.  Next year, we’ll have to print a song sheet for ourselves before we start driving.

— 7 —

And now we are home again… unpacking, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and getting ready for school to start next week (our LAST semester, hurrah!).  I’m so glad I left the house clean before we took off.  My to-do list remains a yard long as I didn’t get as much done before Christmas as I wanted to (like finishing off our family photobook or reading half a dozen books or writing several blog posts for January) but we had a lovely Christmas and it’s good to be home.

I think I’ll go dig out the Christmas fruit cake that I made in November and forgot to take with us to Alberta…


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