Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Day 1 -- One Sleep Left and So Much To Do!

It's hard to believe that when we started this countdown we had 24 sleeps to go... and now here we are at one. On this Christmas eve, with the big day looming before us, I am grateful...

... grateful to finally be done with our little elf for another year. LOL. Don't get me wrong, I've thoroughly enjoyed the process; the way it gets us all in the spirit. It's a wonderful tool to help usher in Christmas, teach our daughter of the true meaning of the holiday, have some fun and build memories as a family. And this year, much more so than last year, she was fully engaged. She soaked it all in, was animated about each adventure, and full of joy at the fun in giving back, spending time together, and being silly. So yes, I'm grateful to be done, but I'm also grateful to have been on the journey. And grateful to you all who have joined us.

This morning, in our final hunt for the impish elf, we found Elfia back where she started. With a video in hand, an annual tradition we started on her first Christmas thank to my brother and his family, we focused this morning on the manger... where it all began. Santa reminded us to take time to remember, and be in awe at the gift, but to also enjoy more memory making fun. So there were cookies to be made first, and some packing to help Elfia with. And then, before bed, we nestled in to watch "The Very First Noel." 

And that's it. Another Christmas with Elfia the Elf done. We celebrate tomorrow with good friends, the generosity of family and friends, scrumptious food, and more memory-making fun. 

May the gift of God's son, born for you on this night, fill your heart and home as you unite together in His grace. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Day 2 - A Birthday (no, not THAT one)

Christmas ushers in two birthday parties in our house, and we are very intentional about both of them. There's the obvious one, the whole "reason for the season" in the birth of Christ, and then there's the one for my husband... the poor guy who has to share his big day with the biggest holiday of the year. Poor guy. 

Today was his birthday, and Santa wanted to ensure that we didn't forget to celebrate DADDY in the midst of all the celebration for Christmas. So, while we did find Elfia hanging out with some of the other Christmas decorations... 

... that's about all the "Christmas" stuff we did today. Today... was for Daddy. Happy birthday my sweet husband. We love you!

Father's Day - June 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Day 3 -- Snowmen Games and Colouring...

Elfia was hard to find this morning. She blended in so well with her surroundings that it took my kiddo quite a while to find her... can you spot her?

Find her she did, nestled in the wreath above the fireplace.

Santa's letter today came it he form of a huge princess colouring sheet. A nod to the need for our family to slow down, and spend some quality time together simply colouring, giggling and staying far, far away from the madness and stress going on outside. 

After colouring, we played a fun game I'd found on Pinterest. "Roll a Snowman" has been declared a "fun" game, and officially added to our list of things to do each holiday. With the aid of some dice, we rolled/raced our way to create a full snowman, the idea being of course that the first to finish wins! (You can read more about it on the blog the pin was linked to.) Turns out, Daddy is pretty good at this game. We played several times and he won most of them! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Breakfast, Target and Afternoon Naps -- Day 4

Four more sleeps! 

We woke to find Elfia playing a game of "Barrel of Monkeys" by the light of the Christmas tree, and a letter from Santa reminding us that today was our day to do a little shopping... across the border. With a package to pick up in the U.S., we got up early, and hit the road in time to cross the border as it opened. After a hearty breakfast at Old Country Buffet, we dove into some shopping at Target before it got CRAZY, picked up our package, and got home just as the rest of the world was getting out to do last minute Christmas shopping. The rest of our afternoon was spent napping, playing with our neglected puppy and being grateful NOT to be out among the insane and aggressive Christmas shoppers! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Day 5 and a Ticket to Ride...

We woke to snow this morning, which made celebrating Day 5 a lot more fun! Only FIVE days left to Christmas and the snow made it feel more festive. After a search for Elfia, finding her hanging from the stocking that hangs on our daughter's bedroom door, we bundled up the kiddo for her last day of school!

As St. Nick's letter reminded us, today's "last day" was also Pajama Day! Pajamas on, stuffy packed in her back and a big grin as daddy bundled her up in her snow suit, our little Miss headed out for a fun day of snow man building, movies and Christmas party fun. On her mind, however, was the promise of a special surprise tonight... and a worried mommy and daddy that the hoped-for surprise man not pan out thanks to the snow!

But by dinner it had warmed up, making the roads much more driveable, and so the surprise came while we were having dinner when the doorbell rang. Daddy came back from answering it to announce that an elf had stopped by to give Abbie a note. He handed it to her (the look on her face just priceless in suspense). The note, another from Santa, included a ticket for a ride on the "Christmas Express." With the promise of some yummy goodies that awaited in the car, we bundled the pajama clad princess in her favourite blanket, tucked her in the car, adorned ourselves with glow ticket bracelets and necklaces and set out to "ooooo" and "awwww" at the Christmas lights in the surrounding neighbourhoods. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's Beginning to FEEL a lot like Christmas... Day 6

Thanks to the snow on the way, today certainly did FEEL a lot like Christmas as we walked around "Heritage Christmas" at Burnaby's Heritage Village tonight. Tonight's adventure was Santa's suggestion, and it came on a dry but cold day as the lower mainland prepares for a dump of snow (or so they say). We enjoyed the lights of the village, a carousel ride and a bit of something yummy in the old-fashioned restaurant. 

Elfia spent the night resting at home. She managed to get herself stuck in a big "Santa bowl" this morning... and it took some work to find her! ;-) I wonder where she'll be tomorrow?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hide and Seek Elf, Happy Cashiers, and Power Outages -- Day 7

So finding Elfia was a bit more of a challenge today than usual. In fact, she was impossible to find -- that is until I asked my daughter to bring me a spoon. ;-)

Today's letter from Santa came with four gift cards to Tim Horton's. At first my kiddo was a little confused as to why Santa would give her coffee (you gotta love the fact that at two years of age this "made in Canada kid" already knew what a "double double" was!), but then we read the letter and it all made sense. Today's RACK was to find four people to bless with gift certificates. And, while the afternoon power outage did mess up my plans for part of that give away, we were able to get to one store we frequent to bless the cashier there. This lady knows us well, and always gives Abbie candy when we go through the check out. This time, however, it was our turn to bless her. The smile on her face made it totally worth it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ginger-persons - Day 8

It's Day 8, as in 8 days till Christmas, and this morning we were excited to see that Elfia had brought us something special. Combined with Santa's letter today, we learned it was gingerbread people day!

Each year we usually make gingerbread men, having fun not only rolling out the dough and cutting them out with our fun cookie-cutters, but also in decorating them as a family. This year however, Santa had mercy on mommy, who has been pretty busy of late, and sent a ginger-bread family kit with Elfia. It was a fun change (although personally I think we'll go back to making our own), and together with our little French friend, Alex, we spent time after dinner decorating our little ginger-persons.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Swinging into 9 More Sleeps...

Day 9 in our countdown to Christmas and this morning we found Elfia swinging from the kitchen door! This little elf sure gets around. She looked like she was having so much fun, that we left her there all day. I hope she's not too tired for her flight back to the North Pole tonight!

The letter she brought from Santa today was another RACK assignment -- this time a letter of thanks to someone who doesn't often get a "thank you" -- the mail man person. We'll tape it to the mailbox in the morning along with a $5 card to Timmy Ho Ho's and hope that it brightens their day.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

10 More Sleeps!

With only 10 more sleeps left until Christmas, our elfish adventures continue with some Christmas fun and another RACK assignment from Santa. 

Yesterday's letter from the jolly old dude revealed that Elfia has brought with her a special gingerbread surprise --- a gingerbread train kit. As a reminder for the real reason for Christmas, and the spirit with which we celebrate (not on the GIFTS but on Jesus, creating memories and giving back to others), yesterday's task was a perfect opportunity to create a father/daughter memory. After dinner my hubby and kiddo set out to create their gingerbread masterpiece. For over an hour they slaved away, sampled a little too much icing and bonded over their creation. It was precious to watch them enjoy this moment together...

This morning Elfia was discovered enjoying a snowy bubble bath in our guest bathroom, complete with her own rubber duckie. 

Today's letter from Saint Nicholas is a RACK assignment is a chance to practice our generosity as we head to the pet store later today and then to a local animal shelter to make a donation of kibble to the adoptable doggies waiting for homes. A good reminder that God cares about ALL of his creation and calls us to do the same. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sack Races, Parties, and a "Boyfriend" - Day 12 & 11

For those still confused by the order in which I write my numbers... yes, we are still counting backwards.

Day 12's "elf discovery" as actually thwarted the night before by our daughter, who had trouble falling asleep at bedtime. Thanks to a two hour nap that day (due to the nasty chest cold that has kept her home most of the week), she struggled to fall asleep at bedtime and ended up coming out to find Elfia already hard a play. (Note: we are pretty sure she knows it's us who, err... shall I say "pulls the strings" ... of her beloved elf, but she's enjoying the fun too much to really care.) So while we were disappointed not to have had the usual merriment the next morning, we were thrilled at her reaction none-the-less. Elfia, as you can see, was embroiled in a ruthless "sack race" with some resident stuffies of our home. She looks quite happy with herself to have won huh?

Day 12's letter from Santa reminded us that it was party day! Weeks of planning meant mommy and daddy had certainly NOT forgotten that fact, and we certainly weren't going to let a no-longer contagious but still coughing child keep us from having our fun. So, after ensuring that she had a good nap again on Friday, she was eager to help us get ready to celebrate the season with our friends. Work friends, church friends, etc... it was a good night to mix n' mingle!

Day 11th's elf discovery thankfully came several hours later than the usual 6:30 a.m. wake up thanks to the "party hangover" that had us all sleeping late this a.m. It also revealed that the party had been fun for Elfia too! We weren't the only ones who had enjoyed some fellowship with new and old friends... it turns out a visiting elf (a gift from one of our party attendees) had hit if off well with Elfia. They were found still livin' it up in the dining room, attempting to stack our leftover mandarin oranges! ;-)

Today's letter from Santa came with a gift: a gingerbread train! After a crazy week and a busy night, we look forward to settling in tonight to put our train together. Pics to follow. For now, we leave you with our little family, all decked out in our Christmas costumes from our "photo booth" experience at last night's party!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Cheer-io Message - Day 13

Elfia must have been hungry when we came back from her trip to see Santa last night, because we found her eating some Cheerios in the kitchen this morning! Abbie was delighted to find that Elfia had spelled out a message to her in Cheerios and came rushing into the bedroom to tell us. 

Today's letter from Santa was another RACK assignment; this time to surprise Daddy and his co-workers at work with gingerbread donuts. Unfortunately, Santa didn't know that Abbie was gonna be sick, and that it would be Daddy's turn to stay home, so mommy took gingerbread donuts and muffins to her office instead. They were thoroughly enjoyed by all. ;-)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 14 - Lego Cabins and Letters for her Teacher

Day 14 in our countdown to Christmas today, and our coughing little monkey awoke to snuggle before finding Elfia. Turns out Elfia was in a snuggly mood too, as we found her snuggled up in a nice little Lego cabin by the tree. 

The letter she brought from Santa, or Saint Nicholas, as we have begun to call him, reminded us to practice generosity (thank you Kids of Integrity) so the monkey-pants got to work on a beautiful picture to give her teacher along with the gift mommy has ready for her. She put the bows Elfia had scattered all over the kitchen a few days before to good use, making flowers out of them in this rendition of a garden. 

Snow and A Shepherd-Less Nativity - Day 15

Happy Day 14! 14 Sleeps until Christmas!

Today we found Elfia snuggled up in a little house she made out of our daughter's Lego. More pics and info on today's Christmas countdown adventures later... for now, here's a recap of yesterday!

Day 15 started with the discovery of Elfia, or more precisely Elfia's butt, which was sticking out between the window blinds! Apparently Elfia loves looking at snow, cause we found her with her face smooshed up against the glass, enjoying a snowy view while we slept. 

Santa's letter came with a project: to read and then act out the Christmas story using our Little People Nativity. While we won't be winning any Academy Awards for this performance, I hope you enjoy it and that it reminds who why we celebrate!


Monday, December 09, 2013

Windmills n' Bows - Day 17 and 16

Day 17 with our little elf (Sunday) was a more low key kind of day, mostly due to our need to thaw-out from the parade the night before, rest from the busy Saturday, and spend some time at church. I was awakened by a sleepy head little girl who climbed into bed with me when daddy went out to walk the dog. As I cuddled up with her and drifted back to sleep, my kiddo caught a glimpse of the impish elf and screamed in delight. (So long sleep...). Apparently Elfia got caught in our "windmill" (aka ceiling fan) when flying back from the North Pole. And there she hung..

Our letter from Santa on day 17 included instructions to surprise the cousins with a Skype call. While someone our lines of communication with my little bro and his family got mixed up, we did manage a call with my brother in Texas and his little fam. It was fun, if not chaotic, to chat... and to learn that they have a new puppy!

Day 18 came much to early... Monday's tend to do that. We discovered a surprise in the kitchen though that quickly turned our grumpy Monday morning moods right side up. Elfia, it appears, has a bow-obsession. 

Today's letter from Santa revealed something our kiddo didn't know about him: his real name. We learned all about the real man behind the legend today: Saint Nicholas. 

Stay tuned for more from our mixed up little house.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Day 18 - Car Transformations and a Parade...

It's day 18 in our countdown to Christmas with our little elf, Elfia. And this morning she was harder to find than usual. As the video shows below, Elfia surprised us by transforming our cars for Christmas! Our daughter was absolutely delighted. 

Today's letter form Santa informed us that the annual Santa Claus parade for our city is tonight. We're gonna try and brave the cold (and for us, -10 and below is COLD) to take in the lights and parade, but something tells me that we're gonna bail 1/2 way through and hit up a Timmy's for some hot chocolate!