Christmas this year began with the arrival of Blizzard. Blizzard kept us on our toes for the month with lots of pranks.
On the first weekend of the month we went to Peterborough to have Christmas Dinner with Uncle Keith & Auntie Linda. While there we went with Shawn, Megan & Violet and took our family Santa Picture at the Peterborough Mall. This was Violet’s first Santa Picture.
The following weekend we decorated our Christmas tree. We hung up all of our Family Christmas Decorations (new ones added: Yoda, Darth Vader, Marten River Winterfest Pics, Marten River Moose).
Our Christmas started off on an extremely sad note with the passing of Uncle Jack. Melissa and her Mom flew to Quebec after Christmas to attend his celebration of life.
This year the Christmas holidays started on December 24th. On the 24th we travelled to Mom & Dad’s house. After dropping off our stuff at their house, we went to Lakefield to celebrate mass at church with Mom & Dad Miller. We were also joined by Shawn, Megan & Violet. Violet was quite busy at mass checking every book in the pew to see if they had pictures. She was not happy when they did not have pictures 🙂 During mass, Abby participated as an Angel in the Children’s play depicting the Christmas Story (Aiden chose not to participate this year).
After mass, Melissa & the kids went back to Mom & Dad’s and I went to Sandra & Ted’s to help out at the restaurant for the night. It was a busy night at the restaurant, but lots of fun. After the restaurant closed we had a Christmas dinner at the restaurant. Melissa then picked me up and we went back to Mom & Dad’s. By that time the kids had already hung up the stockings and put out the cookies for Santa. This year they sent out a Dab to Santa and his reindeer.
For Christmas morning at Mom & Dad’s, we were joined by Rob and his girlfriend Holly. On Christmas morning the kids let everyone sleep in until 8:00am (yeah!!!). When we got up, they began by opening all of Santa’s gifts. We then had breakfast and then opened up the rest of the presents.
We got 2 experience gifts this year, an AGO membership that Mama & Papa got the kids & The Stingray Experience from Ripleys Aquarium that we got for the family. Below are some videos and pics from Christmas morning.
AGO Visit Post
Stingray Experience Post
Attending Christmas Dinner this year was Rob & Holly, Peter & Julie (Eva & Macklan), Craig & Jane, Mark & Susan, Betty, Uncle Joe, and Bruce & Jackie.
We had our traditional Turkey Dinner this year with some after dinner entertainment.
Abby’s Christmas Play
During the day Abby had worked on writing a Christmas Play that told the story of Jesus. After dessert, Abby and I got everyone ready and gave them copies of the script and performed it in the living room in front of our audience (Dad, Uncle Joe, Betty & Bruce). Everyone had lots of fun performing the play and we were so proud of Abby for putting it all together. When we travelled back home after the holidays, Abby & I edited the video together one afternoon. Below is the final copy of the play.
Dec 26-27: Miller Family Christmas
On Dec 26-27, we spent the day at the Shawn & Megan’s. We left from my Mom & Dad’s in Douro and picked up Bruce & Jackie and went into Peterborough. Picking them up though was exciting because I made a mistake and almost got us stuck at my Uncle Joe’s.
So, on Dec 26, there was ice rain and rain throughout most of the day. Before we left to go to Lakefield, we went over to Uncle Joe’s to drop off some gifts that he had forgotten at Mom & Dad’s the night before. When I got there I decided that the driveway was not too icy, even though my Dad had warned me that it was and had told me to park at the top of the driveway. So I backed into the driveway and we dropped off the gifts. When we went to leave, the vans front wheels just spun. It was at this point that Melissa reminded me that I should have taken my Dad’s advice (which I should have) and then we started to put some sand and salt under each of the four tires with a little extra placed under the front tires. After about 15 min of putting sand and salt under all the tires, I was able to floor it enough to get up and out of the driveway. After that we made our way slowly to Lakefield and then Peterborough.
In Peterborough, we had a lovely supper and opened some gifts with Shawn, Megan & Violet. At the end of the evening, Jackie and Bruce took a cab back to Lakefield. It was the first time that Jackie had ever rode in a cab. It was a very positive experience for her. The cab company took Bruce back and waited for Jackie to drop Bruce off and then drove Jackie off at her house.
On the 27th, we got up and had a relaxing morning with Shawn, Megan & Violet and headed back to Mississauga as Melissa had to work over New Year’s.
Blizzard joined us for an eventful December this year. Some of the highlights included a rivalry between Blizzard and a Storm Trooper, Blizzard getting his flu shot the same night the kids got there flu shot, gift wrapping the toilet, getting Santa’s autograph and Blizzard drawing moustaches on the kids faces while they slept.
He arrived by bringing them each a lego advent calendar….
& left by leaving behind pictures from his month of mischief!!
Every year in our family, we purchase Christmas decorations that represent special moments in our family. It is a tradition that Melissa and I began the year that we were married in 2004 and has continued to this day.
Here are a collection of pictures of the decorations (with a few that pre-date 2004).
We got our Christmas season off to a great start this year by visiting Santa at the Mall. This year we all got to go as a family and take a family picture.
On Christmas Eve, Melissa came home in the morning from a night shift and we got ready (packed & dropped off Dogs at Kennel) and travelled to Peterborough at mid-day. We met Julie, Macklan, Eva, Mom & Dad in Millbrook for mass. After mass, we went to Mom & Dad’s. When we got there, we had supper and then got ready for Santa to come. We put out the stockings and cookies, carrots and Egg Nog for Santa.
And of course, before they went to bed, the kids were read bedtime story from Mama. I snuck the camera into the bedroom to catch the story, while Melissa listened in the hall. We love listening to Mama read bedtime stories to the kids.
Christmas Morning (Stockings)
When the kids got up in the morning they were overly excited and immediately came down and got Melissa and I up so that we could start to open the Stockings. While I did not capture Aiden’s reaction on video, when he opened his first gift from Santa (Yu-Gi-Oh Cards), he immediately ran to Mama exclaiming: “This is what I always wanted!!!” We carried on opening the rest of the presents in the Stockings and then we stopped and had breakfast, as this was the tradition in my family for as long as I can remember.
Christmas Morning (Gifts under the tree)
After breakfast, we continued opening presents under the tree. Most of the presents were from Family members with few left there from Santa. Part way through opening these presents, we were joined by Peter, Julie, Macklan & Eva. A new tradition we started this year was Face-Timing with Uncle Rob and his girlfriend Holly while they opened their gifts. It was great because Rob and Holly got to see all the kids reactions as they opened their gifts.
Star Wars Gift
One of the most anticipated gifts for Melissa and myself were the Star Wars Movie present we got for the kids. It included tickets to the Force Awakens, Star Wars T-Shirts & Star Wars Christmas Decorations for the kids. Needless to say it was big hit with Abby & Aiden. Their excitement continued long after the video ended.
Christmas Evening (Family Dinner)
We had a small family dinner this year, with the following in attendance:
- Mom & Dad
- Bruce & Jackie
- Melissa, the kids and myself.
We had a nice evening of dinner, visiting and playing one of the board games Aiden got for Christmas called Pictureka.
On Boxing Day, we had a quiet morning at Mom & Dad’s and then got ready to go to Star Wars in the afternoon.
After Star Wars, we met Mom , Dad Julie, Macklan & Eva for church at Mount St. Joseph. After church, we brought Macklan back to Mom & Dad’s for his first ever sleepover away from Mom & Dad. We built and decorated our very own gingerbread houses with Mama & Papa and Abby & Aiden.
We then put the kids to bed (which did not take as much time as I though it would) and then Melissa & I visited for a little while and then we all went to bed.
The kids & Macklan played with each other all morning and then Mom & Dad took Macklan in to met Julie in town at a wake. Melissa, the kids and I then proceeded to Lakefield to visit with Sandra and Ted (unfortunately Ted was sick so we did not see him). Then we went to Jackie’s house for the evening. When we arrived there Auntie Megan & Uncle Shawn asked the kids if they liked Star Wars to which Aiden replied: “Yeah!!!, followed by a huge spoiler 🙂
At Jackie’s we all opened our Santa stockings and then we all played a game of CAH, while the kids watched a movie on the iPad and played with the Toy Box in their bedroom. At the end of the night we returned back to Mom & Dad’s.
In the morning, we all got up and went to eat breakfast with Mom & Dad at the restaurant located at the Peterborough Airport. This way the kids could see some planes and helicopters taking off and landing. They only saw a couple since the flying school was closed for the holidays, but they sure enjoyed the couple that they saw. Aiden even went up to a couple of pilots who came in to eat their breakfast to ask them what type of plane they flew. It was quite cute. After breakfast, we returned home to Mississauga and picked up the dogs from the Kennel. They were exhausted from playing with other dogs for 5 days.
We had our annual Christmas in August/Marten River Family Reunion at Auntie Joyce’s house. The theme this year was Lumberjack.
Attendance this year:
Us (Melissa, Peter Abby and Aiden)
Al and Joyce
Shauna and Johanie* (Shauna’s girlfriend)
Aaron, Chantale, Stephanie and Lucas.
Phillip and Stephanie
Luc, Kim and Nick
Shawn and Megan
Bruce and Jackie
Steven, Karen, Oren and Nicholas
Gabe and Rachel
Jean* and Gertrude* (Stephanie’s parents)
Dogs in attendance: Marley*, Ernie, Lila, Chad, Juno and Milo
*First Time attendees
August 7: Friday
On Friday morning we got up early and headed to North Bay. We stopped at Chantale’s for lunch so that we all could see her new house that her and Aaron had moved into in February. She gave us tour and fed us some lunch before we headed up to Marten River. She even fed Marley who swiped an egg salad sandwich off the counter when we were cleaning up.
After picking up groceries, we headed up to Uncle Al and Auntie Joyce’s house. When we arrived, we set up all of our tents and the big group tent in front of the cabin. Shortly after, I received a phone call that Julie had given birth to a beautiful baby girl named Evangeline (Eva). We then settled in for an evening of visiting by the lake, playing with the dogs and playing a game of Cards Against Humanity, which was to say the least interesting. We stayed up in the Gazebo that Aaron built right on the water’s edge until a little after 1 playing the game.
August 8: Saturday
On Saturday, the day started early with some cereal and coffee in the new Gazebo that Aaron built on the water’s edge. For the rest of the day we:
a) went swimming in the river: jumping off the dock and spraying some water guns
b) went fishing in the river (Thank-you Phillip for helping me set up the rods for the kids
c) paddle boat and canoe rides: Abby and Aiden together and me with both of them while they fished. Abby and Aiden also went for canoe rides with Steven.
d) chilli cook off: For the this chilli cook off, we had 4 or 5 chilli’s baked by different people and then judged by a a panel of four judges. The winner was Shauna and Johanie’s vegan chilli, with Phillip and Stephanie’s coming in second, which really bothered Phillip who kept asking his Mom how close the vote was during the evening’s festivities. For the Chilli Cookoff we all dressed in our lumberjack gear!!!
e) Family Photo: Everyone in their lumberjack gear (See Above)
f) fireworks; this year’s fireworks were the best ever. Aaron had done some research and purchased a sifter brand of fireworks and his time and investment paid off. Even the kids on the other side of the Lake liked them. We could hear them from across the lake cheering after each one.
g) game of Cards Against Humanity: This game included 3 generations of Gagne’s (Joyce, Aaron and his kids)
h) Sitting by the fire: Melissa and I sat by the fire after the game and just stared at the stars before going to bed.
i) Picking nose break: And of course we squeezed in time to pick our noses.
August 9: Sunday
On Sunday we got up and had a lumberjack breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs and pancakes courtesy of Aaron and Chantale. We then helped everyone clean up and said goodbye to everyone that had to go home.
In the afternoon, Aaron took one of the fish that Aiden and gutted and we cooked it. It was the first fish that Aiden ate after catching.
In the afternoon, we went to trappers for Poutine with Aaron and Chantale and Steven, Karen, Oren and Nicholas. They all headed home and we went back to Al and Joyce’s for the evening. We quickly disassembled our tents and moved into the house which paid off huge since it rained overnight and most of the day on Monday. In the evening we had small bonfire and cooked hot dogs and marshmallows for supper. We then went in and joined Joyce, Shauna, and Johanie for a movie.
August 10: Monday
On Monday, we got up and had some breakfast and coffee and watched the rain come down. We visited for most of the morning and into the afternoon with Joyce, Shauna and Johanie. We also enjoyed some of Shauna’s lemon poppyseed cake fresh out of the oven. We then headed out around 4 and got home a little after 8
Additional Portraits from the weekend
Next years theme will be wedding, since Phillip and Stephanie will be getting married at Al and Joyce’s that weekend.
We started of the Christmas season this year with a trip to the Erin Mills mall to visit Santa. At that visit Aiden asked Santa about how Blizzard the house elf has been doing in the North Pole. Santa didn’t miss a beat and told him that he was excited to come and see us this Christmas season!!!
Blizzard arrived on Dec 1st or 2nd this year and did not waste anytime getting into his mischief. Highlighted below are some of his more mischievous adventures such as getting stuck in the shadow box, fishing in the sink, drawing minions on the bananas and redecorating the tree again (this year with balloons!!!)
Christmas Tree Decorating
As always the kids helped with decorating the tree this year, hanging up some of their most favourite decorations. For those that do not know our family tradition, every year we get decorations for the tree that represent an important event or moment from the year. Melissa and I started that tradition on our very first Christmas together and have carried that on since. I will buy her a special decoration and she will buy me one and we get a decoration for Abby and Aiden as well. It makes decorating the tree really special because we can look back on and reminisce about previous Christmas’s. It is a great way to get us in the Christmas spirit 🙂
Another tradition in our house in the making of the gingerbread house. This is one that started when we first visited North Bay over the Christmas holidays and decorated house with Philip, Stephanie and Lucas. We carried on the tradition when we started our own family.
This year’s house was decorated completely by Abby and Aiden. They told Melissa and myself what they wanted decorated on each side and then we helped with some of the icing. Abby decorated the Merry Christmas side and Aiden decorated the Happy New Year side while dressed in his ninja costume. It turned out pretty good.
Christmas at Home
We celebrated our Christmas morning this year on Christmas Eve since we were travelling to Douro for Christmas morning. On Christmas eve morning this year, the kids stayed in bed until 7:00 am which was a surprise because leading up to that morning Aiden had been getting up regularly at 6:00 am. I am not complaining though, the extra hour was nice. Below are a couple pics of items that they got on Christmas eve morning from Mom and Dad (FYI: Dad did not approve the Habs socks)
Unfortunately Melissa was quite sick so she was only able to participate in a few minutes of the festivities and then went back to bed.
This was the second year in a row that Melissa got me a Christmas gift that was ripped, The year before she got me a Toronto Maple Leafs hoodie that we discovered had a rip in the arm, and as you can see from the picture above this year she got me mitts that had a rip in the lining. Both gifts were returned but could not be exchanged as Costco was out of each item. Better luck next year sweetie!!!!
This is a video of the kids thanking Uncle Jason for their Christmas gift which was money towards their college fund. As you can see from their video, the kids have already started studying for post-secondary 🙂
Christmas at Mama & Papa’s
We travelled to Douro for Christmas morning this year. We travelled late so that Melissa could stay in bed as long as possible because she was still feeling quite ill.
We also brought our Santa key and hung it outside of Mama & Papas so that Santa would know where the kids are. On Christmas morning the kids got to open lots of gifts from Santa and all their relatives. You can see some of that in the videos below. What you won’t see is the part where Santa gave me some Habs gear in my stocking. He must have got the stockings mixed up with Melissa’s. The funny thing was that when I looked at the hat and was jokingly disgusted, Aiden, without missing a beat, whispered to me: “Dad, what do you say when you get a gift that you don’t like.” I was left with no choice but to say Thank-you to Santa for the Habs gear. The reason Aiden told me that was that we had been coaching him to say that to anyone if he got a gift from them that he did not like. I was so proud that he used something that I taught him against me to get me back:)
In the evening we had a traditional dinner and the kids got to play with their cousin Macklan.
Here is the text that was attached to the Toilet Paper Craft that the kids made for everyone.
Money is scarce and times are hard. So we’re giving you this instead of a card. Something to use, something to share, so bottoms up, just cause we care. Merry Christmas!!
Love Abby & Aiden
Videos from Christmas in Douro
Lunch with Mpumi & her nephew
On Boxing Day we went out for lunch at the Old Stone with Mpumi and her nephew, who was visiting from Germany. Abby and Aiden immediately hit it off and giggled and played all through lunch.
Dinner with Sandra & Ted
In the evening of the 26th, we had a lovely dinner with Ted & Sandra at the restaurant. As you can see from the pictures the sillies were starting to set in on the kids, especially Aiden. 3 days of presents and sweets were starting to add up.
Christmas at Shawn & Megan’s
On the 27th and 28th this year we had our Miller family Christmas at Shawn and Megan’s. We went out to pick up Bruce from the home and had him join us as well for the night. We had big family dinner and then in the morning we opened presents and had a big family breakfast. Some of the highlights were Bruce getting a Super man shirt like Aiden has and of course Shawn always impressed us with his selection of PJs. It was a blast.
And that was our Christmas 2014.
Our Christmas season started this year with the kids getting their message from Santa in the North Pole.
On Christmas Eve we built a gingerbread house, which is a tradition we started with Aaron and Chantale’s kids over a decade ago and carried on with Abby and Aiden. As always the kids had fun not only decorating the house, but also “sneaking” some of the candy for themselves!! We then finished with a watching of the new and old version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And of course we left out treats for Santa and his reindeer.
Christmas morning started relatively late this year with the kids not waking up until a little after 7 in the morning. As always the kids ran down and bounced around between their stocking and the tree to see what is there and tell each other what they see.
We began by opening our stockings in the living room with kids getting little toys from Santa including a soft ball with the Earth painted on it. After they had finished going through their stocking they got a quick power snack and then moved onto the gifts under the tree. There are a few videos below of them opening their presents:
In the afternoon we headed to Mom and Dad’s where the kids received more presents from grandparents and Uncles and Aunts. We followed that with a large family dinner at Mom and Dad’s. Melissa had to stay behind to work night shift for the next three days.
On Boxing Day instead of shopping we went to the toboggan hill near the Zoo. Apparently everyone else decided to go shopping because the hill was empty for most of the 2 plus hours we spent there, which was surprising because the temperature was near zero which made for a gorgeous day.
On that morning, I drove up to Mississauga to surprise Melissa at work at 7am. I picked her up and drove her back to Peterborough with me so that she partake in some of the Christmas festivities.
Another gorgeous day with the kids and I making a Snowman in the front yard of Mom and Dad’s. We also went out back and rode our sleds down the hill with Macklan and Aunt Julie.
Shortly after building the snowmen, we got a visit from Uncle Sam, Aunt Barb, Carrie and Ava. The highlight of the trip was Macklan figuring out that if he went to see Uncle Sam, he would turn on the dog that played the very loud, very obnoxious singing Christmas Dog that Mom puts out every year since Rob bought it for Mom when he was a teenager!!
After everyone left, Macklan and the kids hung out and then went to bed.
It was another gorgeous day, so we decided to go tobogganing again at the hill by the Zoo. This time though we were joined by Uncle Shawn and Aunt Megan. It was loads of fun with Melissa and Shawn racing down the hill against each other and the kids also racing each other down the hill.
We then went to Sandra and Ted’s for an afternoon visit.
After that we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a family dinner with everyone. While there the kids got to open their presents from Grandma and Grandpa.
On Dec 30, we headed back home to get ready for our New Year’s Party at Steven and Karen’s