We've been in Canada the past two weeks, celebrating the holidays with my family in Mississauga (a suburb of Toronto). It's been difficult to update the blog since arriving. As usual, the holiday season is packed and goes by so quickly. I had expected our first week here to be fairly quiet, as we arrived pretty early in December. But a few days after getting here Ella had her first ever bout of illness, a stomach virus, which was contagious and struck down my mom, Andy and myself a few days later. Although it was sad to see Ella sick and throwing up, we were lucky that she didn't have a fever and recovered within a day. And I was very glad to have my own mom around to ensure that as first time parents we didn't totally freak out!
In between illnesses we managed to get out and visit the Toronto Christmas Market with my parents, putting everyone in the Christmas spirit. We had an enjoyable time browsing the different shops and stalls, stopping first for some chocolate fondue and then for a cup of mulled wine. Ella was all bundled up in her snowsuit which was super cute and we got a lovely family photo in front of the giant Christmas tree.
We also had to get all of our Christmas shopping done, so we braved the shopping mall crowds to get this done... once again cursing myself for not getting my shopping done sooner, and in Melbourne. One of these years I will take a page from my mom's book and start next year's Christmas shopping on Boxing Day. We did manage to get Ella's picture with Santa done as well, although weirdly I don't think the picture really looks like her - her colouring is much darker than it looks here:
We spent Christmas Eve as we usually do, with our close family friends Carol and Nikki. It was so lovely to catch up with them after three years, and it is always nice to have friends that no matter how long it has been since you last saw them, when you do meet again it feels like nothing has changed.
My mom outdid herself again this year and we had a perfect Christmas morning as a family. Ella was in a great mood all day and we had a leisurley morning, going from drinking coffee and Bailey's to champagne and orange juice and opening presents. My mom also makes this thing called "The Land of Nod" which is sort of like a cinnamon bread, but that description does not do it justice. It is served hot out of the oven and is like a little peice of heaven in your mouth! Ella was spoiled by Santa for her first Christmas, but like all babies, she was much more amused by the wrapping paper and ribbons. We had a traditional turkey dinner and then a game of Settlers of Catan - which I won! Being the reigning house champion of Settlers of Catan gives you huge bragging rights in my house.
On Boxing Day we visited my dad's family (including my FAVOURITE cousin Joanne, who should definitely come out and visit us in Australia), as per usual. We had to squeeze all the visiting into the morning as my brother's girlfriend, Ashley, arrived from California in the afternoon. But we got to introduce Ella to a lot of her Canadian family which was nice. When Ashley arrived we went for a pretty mediocre dinner at the chain restaurant Montana's (I miss Melbourne food!) and then played the very un-PC but hilarious game Cards Against Humanity. You know you are a grown up when you can play this game with your husband, brother, AND your parents without blushing too much! We also watched the first game of the World Junior Hockey Championships, Canada vs. the USA. Unfortunately we lost which always hurts more when its against the Americans, but it is early on in the tournament so hopefully our boys will learn from this game and improve.
|Ella and Rudolph|
We are having a pretty chilled out week this week, catching up with a few friends, playing games at home and just enjoying spending time with family. I am so grateful that we got to take this trip with Ella to spend time with everyone, and I am already dreading saying good-bye when we leave next week.