Anyway, Christmas is over and the first week of break is past. We went to Vancouver BC for Christmas this year and it was one of the better experiences that I've had with Daniel's family. For the past decade, most of our visits have consisted of staying in his parents' overfull and small condo in a town outside of Vancouver and going out to dim sum at one of two restaurants with the relatives. Which isn't bad, but doing that every time while always hearing about the great things there are to do in the city gets old. But this visit there weren't too many relatives to visit and the kids are big enough to get out and do stuff and enjoy it, so explore we did.
And my BIL and his wife are long-term housesitting for a friend, so we packed up Daniel's parents and ourselves and went and stayed in their large house. With lots of bedrooms and a den and huge kitchen and long hallways for the kids to ride their tricycle up and down. Which meant I had space to escape when it all got to be too much. Like when I suddenly found myself at a table of 8 people, all speaking Chinese and apparently discussing Chinese politics. I was able to politely excuse myself and go force my kids to stop watching Bubble Guppies and instead watch Elf with me and we had a blast.
And we got out and explored the city and took in the lights in Stanley Park and visited the Art Gallery and the wonderful Vancouver Aquarium (I don't even like aquariums and still loved this one so very, very much) and it was a trip full of family time and fun time in the city and all was happy and rosy.
We came home on Christmas Day and much to my happy surprise, the kids declared that Santa had gotten them exactly what they wanted, despite having asked Santa to surprise them (which put a lot of pressure on me). In a really funny turn of events, they actually spent most of the car ride home discussing the possibility of getting a pet bear and finally deciding that a pet panda would be the safest. Since Santa had brought Vivian a stuffed panda that walks and makes noises and takes a bottle, and that was waiting at home for her to open, I was a happy camper. And Ethan yelled and hugged me when he opened the Wii game that I had bought, telling me that it was one he'd been dreaming of (news to me!) and I spent quite a while patting myself on the back that evening.
Today we are at home and I have big plans to purge the playroom full of toys that they never ever play with. Should be an interesting adventure. Onward!