a peek inside the fishbowl

27 Dec, 2006

Christmas 2006

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Hoisting the tub of tinkertoys... this was no easy featThe Christmas holiday started with a death and a funeral. Not a great beginning, least of all for the family of the person who passed away.

There was a wake on Friday, we didn’t go to that. The funeral was scheduled for the next morning. Mark wondered whether we should take the girls, but there was no question in my mind. We had to go, we all had to go. Andy was part of all of our lives, but especially the girls. Emma and Sarah had known him their whole lives.

The funeral service was held in an orthodox church. The service was about an hour long, on wooden pews in a drafty church and much of it wasn’t in English. It was quite the experience. I wondered whether the girls would be able to sit through it, but they did, without much complaint.

By noon Mark and I were feeling a serious drain on our Christmas spirit. The girls seemed unaffected by it all, but Mark and I thought we needed a serious (and quick) injection of fun. And so with that in mind, we all went ice skating at a local arena. It was fun, but the kind of fun that requires an excess output of energy and leaves you feeling like a wrung out sponge by the end of it.

I didn’t think it was possible, but the girls had pretty much forgotten how to skate. Well, they weren’t quite back at square one, but they did require a lot of handholding and boosterism. Man, was I glad to get my skates off. Numb toes cannot be good. For me, the most fun for me was eating hot and greasy French fries afterwards.

The evening of the twenty fourth we had our Christmas Eve dinner. On the menu: salmon fillet, green beans, roasted baby potatoes, mashed fauxtatoes and green salad. There were Christmas cookies and fudge for dessert.

Not long after dinner we gave the girls our traditional Christmas gift – pyjamas, which they loved – and they were ready for bed early. Amazingly enough they fell asleep pretty quickly.

And then, before we knew it, it was Christmas Day. The girls woke up somewhat disoriented. We tried videotaping and photographing the chaos that ensued but I gave up trying to get a shot of it early on.

The girls received a fort-building kit, a book about magic tricks, and some records from the both of us. Santa brought them all kinds of neat stuff. For Sarah, an iDog, balls for juggling, an Eskimold/snow saw, a splat ball, a pogo stick, a book of jump rope rhymes, and some Little Pet Shop stuff. He brought Emma some stilts, Pokemon cards, Archie comics, a sciencey explosion-making kit, a Littlest Pet Shop tamagotchi (which suddenly stopped working that very morning) and also some regular Littlest Pet Shop toys. Santa also brought Emma a 20Q game, which has turned out to be the hit toy of the year. Both girls got lots of chocolate in their stockings (Santa is ALL about chocolate), children’s chopsticks, some gross squishy balls (with fake rats and maggots inside) as well as some windup toys.

I got some great gifts from Mark, including a few great books, a journal, some stationary and some lovely coconutty bath stuff (which is my scent du jour). He also packed a great stocking. The stocking is my favourite part of Christmas. I love little things!

It was about 8:00 a.m. when OPERATION UNWRAPPING: PHASE ONE was completed. We had a light breakfast and sat around twiddling our thumbs. Scratch that, I took the girls outside to try out the stilts and pogo. It was a bit chill, but there was no snow on the ground. I knew what was going to happen. Both girls were frustrated that they couldn’t pogo or stilt-walk right away. I guess they envisioned themselves bouncing to and from school. Emma ended up on her @ss, crying. And Sarah had me hold on to her while she stilt-walked around the lawn. The neighbors must have had a pretty good chuckle.

Fifteen-minutes later we were back in the house. Time for OPERATION UNWRAPPING: PHASE TWO. We called Mark’s parents to tell them we were on our way. They were just getting out of the shower (must be nice eh, not to have to wake up at 6:33?) and so we hung around here for a bit and picked up some AAA batteries at Shopper’s DM on the way. (Why does Santa never bring batteries?)

OPERATION UNWRAPPING: PHASE TWO was a big success. I cannot begin to itemize the gifts we all received. Mark got the gift of his dreams: an electronic weather station. We realized last night it also doubles as a clock and alarm clock AND projects the time on the ceiling at the press of a button. This is a huge bonus, because Mark needed an alarm clock and without his glasses he can’t see the LED clock on the other side of the bedroom. I received an espresso maker and pair of completely adorable expresso cups and saucers. I also got some fab fuzzy slipper socks. They’re perfect in our drafty office.

The girls received so much loot I can’t even remember and list it all: more Littlest Pet Shop toys, a tub of Tinkertoys (!), a floor puzzle, socks, walkie-talkies (which we tried outside this afternoon and I totally love them), as well as books and Groovy Girls… and more, but again, I am plum out of brain cells.

We also received, get ready for this, a soft ice cream maker. We’re getting ready to make a batch of Creamsicle. I’ll let you know how it turned out. I think we’ll eat it for breakfast tomorrow.

This morning we awoke to snow, which was a nice change. We moved the leather bench in the living room and helped the girls build a fort using their new kit. I totally recommend this toy. It’s simple for kids to put together and gives their right brain a good workout. If you have kids who frequently pull the blankets from the bed and the pillows from the couch like I do …  what can I say. They will love it.

As for me, I’ve eaten more than a few Lindors and am gearing up for some bedtime reading.

And now, I’m feeling a little anti-climactic about it all. Perhaps it’s my lingering cold mixed with a healthy dose of “I can’t believe it’s over already” and all that gingerbread coursing through my veins…. I’m not sure how to shake it. Any suggestions?

[The Christmas photoset is now on my flickr]

1 Response to "Christmas 2006"

1 | BeachMama

December 27th, 2006 at 3:51 pm


Wow, sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. It was strange with no snow this year, but Boxing Day sure made up for it.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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