Walter and I spent our first couple of weeks in BC recovering from jet lag and trying to settle into some sort of routine. We met up with a few friends and saw a fair amount of family, but for the most part I was incredibly exhausted and, looking back, quite heavily depressed. After I made the executive decision that we wouldn’t bother sending out Christmas cards this year I felt a bit better. I just needed to rest and not think about the past or the future.
|Walter & Opa enjoying some quality time at the garbage dump... because that's how we roll in the country.|
As my jetlag lifted it drew closer to Christmas, and also closer to David’s flight to Canada. My parents kindly took Walter & me to Vancouver where we were able to meet David at the airport. I love meeting people at the airport and it was especially great to see David after being apart for close to three weeks! Walter had the biggest grin on his face when he saw daddy walking towards the baggage carousel. As usual, our time with my family in Vancouver was lamentably short, as we wanted to get to Victoria before David’s birthday, but we were at least able to have a quick visit before our trip to the Island the next day.
It seemed on this visit home that nearly every ferry trip I took was delayed by an hour or more, and our trip to Victoria was the first of these. We were, in the end, thankful just to arrive even if it was in the middle of a wind & rain storm. David’s family had the house all done up for Christmas and it was so nice to just kick back and relax with the family.
|Three generations of Porter Men|
|Reading with Auntie Sammie|
|Auntie Julia gets right down to Walter's level|
Although we’ve been together for nine years, this was the first year that I’ve ever spent Christmas with David’s family. It was a lot of fun and our family traditions aren’t too dissimilar so I didn’t feel very homesick. In fact I probably wouldn’t have felt ‘homesick’ at all if my parents hadn’t planned to drop in for an hour or so on Christmas Day but then been barred from crossing the mountains by inclement weather!
In David’s family the days between December 22nd (David’s birthday) and January 1st are full of events. David & his sister Julia have birthdays on either side of Christmas, and then of course this is Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. So there was lots of feasting and fun, and I got to enjoy things more than I thought I would because Walter has some very obliging Grandparents who offered to take him so that David & I could both be out doing adult things (like going to see The Hobbit for David’s birthday). We paid & received visits from family and friends, ate way too much of our favourite foods (parmesan chicken, waffles, bacon, nachos, 7 layer dip), and were spoiled by Jen & Sarah’s genius for making delicious drinks (in my case caramel lattes & Italian sodas).
|Another Porter family tradition -- getting a picture with Santa|
On Christmas Eve we went to Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea, the Catholic Chapel on the military base which David’s mum frequents. It is a beautiful, small community and very child-friendly. The children put on a little nativity play, with lots of carol singing, and it was a lovely way to start the feast of Christmas.
|Dressed up for Mass -- the Moose Caboose is where it's at!|
Christmas Day was very long, in a good way – stocking opening in the morning, followed by a delicious breakfast (waffles! bacon!), followed by present opening, followed by relaxing and eventually eating canapés. We all got very spoiled, although I think Julia, Sarah, & I were the luckiest because we’d each been given a special set of scrapbooking supplies loving handpicked and assembled by Jen. I’m really looking forward to putting my book together. Walter surprised everyone by grasping the concept of opening presents, so we had a lot of fun watching him unwrap his gifts (and try to eat the paper).
|Hmm, stuff for me to grab|
|Note the concentration|
|Walter & his presents|
Boxing Day is the day of the big family dinner and it was delicious. The table was set with the finest china, crystal, and silver and even Walter had a little name plaque at his place. David’s mum is an amazing cook and I really enjoyed my turkey dinner, especially as we only rarely get roast turkey since our own little family can’t do it justice (although David makes a mean roast goose).
New Years Eve was my favourite day of the Christmas season, however. David & I both love going out on New Years, but it hasn’t been feasible for our time in England (most of our friends go abroad, which we can’t usually do). This year we had planned to go downtown to a friend’s party, but then we both ended up with colds and didn’t think it wise to go traipsing about town at all hours. So David and his best friend, Jesse, set up a small New Years gaming event at Jesse’s childhood home, and we spent the day playing Pathfinder with a few people. Jesse’s aunt made us dinner, Walter kept us company until 9pm (at which time we drove the short distance back to David’s and left him with his grandparents), and we gamed until midnight. At midnight we were pleasantly surprised to see that the neighbours were setting off fireworks over the lake, so we watched the colourful display from a big picture window overlooking the water. It was the nicest New Years I’ve had in a long time.
On New Years Day we rested while waiting for my parents to arrive and drive us up-Island for Christmas Phase II, or Ukrainian Christmas...