Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Traditional Time

Here we are on the other side of the holidays, and I'm here to report that our family had a very traditional Christmas. Traditional, that is, in the sense that it was filled with the usual chaos, plus a bit of calamity thrown in for good measure.


The moment captured in this picture is what I now think of as the last civilized moment of the holiday. It was the evening of the 23rd, and everyone had just arrived. We had a "pie night," including chicken pot pie, quiche (two kinds, one vegetarian and the other with meat), and tourtiere. Rebekah and I had carefully planned each meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner, to feed sixteen people for five days, and the first night went exactly according to plan. Well, you know that Woody Allen quote? The one that says "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." Exactly. Disaster struck.

Our usual Christmas tradition is to have an appliance break down. This year the appliances held together, but the plumbing didn't. On Christmas Eve afternoon our kitchen sink became plugged. No amount of hot water, drain cleaner, or removal and inspection of pipes was able to remedy the problem. I'll spare you the details. I'm sure with some imagination you can picture a small cottage, sixteen people, and no ability to use the kitchen sink.

The good news was my brother had rented the cottage next door for him, my mom, and my two nieces. So we did have a sink and a place to prep food and wash dishes. It just meant making dozens and dozens of trips back and forth, through the snow and ice, to clean up from the last meal and prepare for the next one. It was exhausting.

But here's the really neat part of this story. Everyone pulled together and pitched in. My brother took charge of all dirty dishes, and loaded and reloaded the blue bin we were using to transport them next door to be cleaned, then he had to bring them all back in time to be used again at the next meal. Rebekah, my nieces Corinne and Danielle, and Alexandra were busy going back and forth too, helping me prep food for the next meal. And the people left at the cottage were in charge of watching over four young children, which was no small feat! Not only that, but after our celebrations were over and most people had left, the plumber came out. When it was time to write him a check for his services we were told that Karsten had asked for the invoice to be mailed to him. So many helping hands, and so much kindness. Who could ask for more?


I purposely put non-breakable ornaments on the bottom half of the tree. Lucy and Nevaeh had fun taking them off and giving them to my mom.


We managed to get outdoors for several walks.


Diana had purchased two sets of matching pyjamas for the kids. Trying to get a picture of all four of them was a bit like herding cats.


Nevaeh is modelling the mittens I knit for her. I'll have to save the rest of my Christmas knitting for another post or this will be way too long.


It was such a treat to have my nieces here with us. Ella and Lucy thought so too!


I'll leave you with one of my favourite pictures. If you look closely you'll see that Oliver has grabbed a handful of my mom's hair!

I hope your holiday season was memorable (in a good way), and here's wishing all of us a kind and calm 2017.

22 comments:

  1. Oh, such wonderful fun! Some of the best family stories can revolve around a disaster and how everyone pitched in to make it all work. One of my favorites is the time my mother sprained an ankle (!) taking a Thanksgiving turkey out of the oven. It caused great hilarity at the emergency room. My aunt came early to make sure the meal was ready when Mom returned from the hospital.
    Love the pictures of the grandchildren and what beautiful scenery for your walks.
    Happy New Year! Carol

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  2. Isn't it fun that everyone can rally round? Beautiful family and beautiful pictures. Happy New Year!

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  3. Oh dear, thank goodness your brother had the cottage next door. Your neighbours must have wondered what you all were doing, especially attempting all that transportation in the snow and ice! It must have been wonderful to have so much of the family together. It is lovely to see all the children together. Sarah x

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  4. You have such a good attitude, Kristi. I'm glad everyone was able to pitch in and help out, it sounds like you all took it in stride and had a great time anyway. It's so nice to see all of you together having a good time. Happy New Year to you and your family!

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  5. What a sweet, fabulous family celebration you had for Christmas! Thank you for sharing! Your family pictures are wonderful!

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  6. You overcame the appliance - well, sink - curse this year with a vengeance!
    It's clear that you all had a great time together...so all the careful planning went well.

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  7. Sounds like the trooping back and forth was a pain, but what a beautiful story in the end! xoxo,
    Susan

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  8. Family memories are made by these holiday glitches...in a fewe years someone will say...remember that Christmas when the sink was plugged and we had to haul dishes next door?
    A friend of mine had her oven break down on Christmas day just before the turkey was to go in it...
    that's when close neighbours and BBQ's come in handy!
    Happy New Year!

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  9. what a wonderful post full of so much love !!!

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  10. I just love reading your blog Kristie. Your family is so much like mine. Fun, happiness, small disasters and all. It looks like you all had a fantastic time. I hope you had a chance to put your feet up and recover from all the catering and having fun. x

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  11. I love your Christmas celebrations! And it wouldn't have felt like Christmas if something hadn't broken down....admit it. :-) Seeing the bright side of it (having a house next door and many helping hands) really added the spirit of Christmas to your story. All the little and big children certainly made it extra special this year. I love the idea of matching pajamas. Will have to remember that one for next year if we are all together Christmas morning.

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  12. And you didn't end up with buckets on the porch or washing dishes in the bathtub! Love the last photo, it will be a keeper for all involved over the years, I'm sure. Best wishes for 2017.

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  13. I like the idea of a pie meal. Very comforting especially with all that seasonal snow.

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  14. Such a wonderful celebration and so much fun despite the sink blockage. The photos of the children are a delight. You certainly have lots of wonderful memories to treasure.

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  15. Christmas wouldn't be complete without at least one disaster, glad all worked out and it looks like you had a lovely time.

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  16. Oh wow, Kristie, your mother has a Red Cardinal on her sweater! Oh dear, and what a difficult time for the plumbing to go, and what a beautiful, wonderful family you have, who made it all work out anyway. I'm sure you all enjoyed the celebrations, in fact the lovely photos speak for you too. Love the matching PJs, and the knitted gloves. You are a star! Happy New Year my friend. xo

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  17. What a mess, but you all got through it and ended up working together. I love all the photos, I think my Mom had the top your Mom has on in the last photo. It makes me happy to see it. Hugs ot you Kristen, Happy 2017!

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  18. What a delightful chaos, Kristie and what a sweet mother you have!!! Christmas can be a time of peace but also one of chaos, we tend to have everything at the same time!!! Blessings to you in this fresh new year!!!

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  19. Working through "calamity" as well as you all did: a happy depiction of the Christmas spirit, don't you think?
    Thanks for the wonderful pictures, and best wishes for the new year,
    Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

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  20. happy new year!!! How sad that something has to break down while you are celebrating. One year our water pump broke on New Year's day. That was awful. Loved seeing your family all together!!

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  21. That looked like a fun holiday! I miss the chaos of family get-togethers, minus the clean up part.

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  22. sounds like y'all took lemons and made lemonade. wonderful to see families work together. I'm your new follower and looking forward to getting to know your blog. love the "...north side of 49..."

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