December 25th took us to Winkler and the old homestead on Crystal Crescent. Back in fall when we were toying with the idea of ditching the prairies this Christmas to take advantage of super-cheap airfare to California, Hannah was most upset with the thought of not having Christmas at Nee Nee's house.
There is something about tradition, familiarity, comforting food, and 2 little three year old twins that happen to be her cousins that she just couldn't bear to miss. Good thing we didn't. Here are my brother's kids, Natalie and Myles, going through the annual "Stocking Opening Marathon". This stocking opening is a bit comical as most things don't even fit into the stockings for the stockings are so full it all spills out at the end. And for some strange reason, my brother Chris always ends of having more in his stocking than anyone else. I guess he really is the favorite.
Sasha opening up some Piggy mittens!
Do you know how much this kid loves pigs?
Old Papa Herb must have looked like he needed some help!
Hanging with her cuz. My girls have so longed for cousins that they can enjoy...
Now that Myles and Natalie are 3, the good times are just beginning.
Hannah was a little worried that because Myles and Natalie hadn't seen us for such a long time, they'd be really shy and that it would take a long while for them to warm up. Completely unfounded, those worries were. Myles ended up having a special affinity for Hannah this time around. He used to be fixated on Sasha, but it appears he's moved on. Hannah couldn't have been happier to have been the object of his affection.
We spent the 26th at Chris and Nancy's where we were treated to perhaps the best lasagna on the planet. Really, it was that good. Ask Mike. He went back for more FOUR times.
After dinner, we decided to have a little family jamboree. I may have been the band-leader that night, but Myles kept the beat on his new drum kit and Natalie stole the show with her Stevie Wonder-esque moves on the keyboard. Definitely a new tradition.
This picture may appear to show that I am reading this book to Natalie. Don't be fooled. She has memorized every single word of Just Lost and "read" us the whole story to our delight and amazement.
No, Sasha and her Auntie Nancy were not playing doctor. Thankfully, in her other life, Auntie Nancy just happens to be "Dr. Dixon" and was able to check out a very sick little Sasha. She even got her a special appointment to see her colleague the next morning which resulted in antibiotics and a quick recovery. Good job marrying a doctor, Chris. It comes in very handy.
We all spent an afternoon at the Winkler Bowling Alley to work off some of the Christmas pounds we'd gained from consuming Nee Nee's delicious food. I'm pretty sure Ellie ate her body weight in perogies.
Check out this fine form. Papa Herb's got it down, man.
Complete with a little "hop" at the end of his release that the girls think is hilarious.
Our time went really quickly.
It may have been colder than California, but the memories we made were worth the trip.