We got back from Vancouver late on Xmas eve and the kids were totally asleep so we tucked them into bed, turned on some xmas music and stayed up til 1am wrapping presents and (finally) putting lights on the tree. Sometime in the middle of the night when M crawled into bed between us, she said to me in a super excited whisper ‘mama! the tree has lights on it! and there are SO many presents under the tree! i think santa came!’ and I nodded sleepily and squeezed her hand and i could feel her excitement. we fell asleep again and then in the morning i asked her if she thought all the presents were still there or if it was a dream and she replied ‘no mama, i KNOW they are still there, i just KNOW it’. Sure enough they were.
I had the idea of starting a waffles for breakfast xmas tradition, but ivan hadn’t seemed as excited as I’d hoped so I never ordered the waffle maker. Of course on xmas morning he was like ‘i loved the idea! did you order the waffle maker?’ and of course i had not. So we ate pancakes after opening m’s stocking and then we opened some more presents while baby napped and then i did my xmas day run and then we did our xmas day walk with our friends and then we went over to our friend’s house for a special xmas dinner. Everything was low key, relaxed and mostly just really enjoyable.
It can definitely be hard sometimes being so far away from our families, and at christmas time I really miss them all quite a lot. We were lucky this year to have Xmas eve with my grandma, aunty and cousins in Vancouver – and as my cousin pointed out, xmas is really so much better with children around and also I think so much better when the children have lots of people around who love them.
We ate lentil loaf and salad and I would have gone to bed feeling great if it hadn’t been for the chocolate and chocolate and chocolate consumed after dinner. All four of us played Catan. Dad and I finished some cryptic crosswords. I went running in my new leggings. We walked to Starbucks on Xmas day. I’d claim this is the first time it’s happened, but actually it has happened once before in 2007 in Vancouver, BC. We walked around the lake. We drank hot cocoa and ate vegan donuts. We drove to Mukilteo and had a real Xmas dinner with friends and their family. My mum and I went to my local yoga studio on Xmas eve and Mika and I slept in on Xmas morning. For brunch Ivan made everyone tofu scramble with beans and hashbrowns. Having my mum and dad here felt like the best xmas present ever.
I took some photos, but definitely not enough. And I have the same song in my head as last year.
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After overthinking it a bit, I’ve realised that many traditions are just sort of born out of doing the same thing this year that we did last year without much thought. So when Mika said ‘christmas can’t be here yet cause we haven’t cut down our tree!’ it became so that a tradition would be to cut down a tree (so long as we are in a place where we can do this) and of course we had to go to the same place we happened to go to last year. Two years in a row? Tradition!
But so much more awesome cause, well, Oma and Teo are here! (And also because M is at an age where decorating the tree is apparently SUPER exciting. Last year she didn’t care about this much).
And Mika had a chat with Santa. I’m not sure what they talked about, cause when I asked her about it she went all shy and said she couldn’t remember. But later this evening she ran up to me and said ‘Mama, wasn’t it so exciting that I got to see Santa today?!’
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The best thing about living in America (besides, you know, all those other best things) is that we get to have a winter christmas. And winter christmas to me means things like mulled wine, hot cocoa, ice rinks, big warm coats, christmas lights by 430pm, the potential of snow and CUTTING DOWN OUR OWN PINE TREE.
I had no idea how environmentally friendly such an activity was, but a quick google search of ‘how bad is it to cut down your own christmas tree’ promptly quelled my fears. Then i read this and realised that of course it can’t be all good to be chopping down trees every year and so maybe we won’t make a habit of it, but this is the first time i’ve ever done something like this, it’s ivan’s first EVER real christmas tree and obviously it’s a first for mika too. SO. it happened. we went to this pretty magical place called ‘trinity tree farms‘ and if you live in the seattle area and you ever wonder ‘where is the best place to cut down my own christmas tree?’ – this is it.
and santa even showed up! mika informed him that she would like ‘a bear’ for christmas as well as ‘a baby’. she was so, so excited to see santa. when i told her that he had come all the way from the north pole, she laughed and said ‘mama that’s so funny’. and she squeezed my hand extra tight as we walked towards him. so sweet.
A beautiful blend of super hot days, very cold nights, a mind-blowing delicious leg of pork and fresh healthy salads, beautiful wine and lots of water, family & friends and plenty of cuddles for Mika. Christmas in Mexico was just how we like it – low key and relaxing.
Ivan’s mum prepared the pork leg, Ivan’s brother prepared our appetizers and provided the wine and dessert. And Ivan and I spent 4 days hunting down all the ingredients to make 3 delicious salads. They’re not even that complicated to make – and we had to simplify them a bit because some things just can not be found in Mexico. But it was worth the effort…these salads are delicious. The recipes will be up soon, promise.
We stayed up til midnight to eat. And these lovely little kiddos were super stoked to be up so late. Mika didn’t last long – she was asleep by 9pm – just after we took these cute pictures with her cousins:
For breakfast on Christmas eve, Ivan’s brother took us to an amazing fish taco place. I am seriously deeply in love with tacos. Fish tacos though? Woah…Seriously next level. As in who-knew-food-could-make-me-feel-this-way sorta level. See that Styrofoam there though? Yeah, it’s everywhere here. I didn’t even know people still used the stuff for food serving. And as you’d suspect, you don’t only see it at every coffee shop and taco stand, but it’s what you notice on the streets too. We try to take our own plates/cups and if we’re getting takeaway we usually bring our own container.
And that was Christmas! It was weird – not beachy and summery like most NZ Christmasses, but not cold and white and commercial like most Canadian Christmasses. It was somewhere pleasantly in the middle and if it hadn’t been for the fact that we had family here, we probably would have let the day slip by like it was any other.