A Simpler Christmas Outing

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This year we needed a quiet, restful Christmas. As you can probably tell by my lack of blog posts,  life has been busy here. My husband started a Masters program in July. I wish I'd known during those last days of summer vacation, on our road trip to visit family, that when we returned, he would be working so much more than full time, and that I would be suddenly without his help for so many things. I felt like the rug was ripped out from under me, and I'd been trying to catch my balance, but the rug just kept moving.  Needless to say, a week of him having to work to do, and spending our days relaxing together as a family has been absolutely amazing! I feel like I finally got my feet under myself, and I'm ready to get back into it again. I thought I'd share a few of the things we did, decisions we made this year, so that we could have a restful Christmas holiday. I made a few decisions that felt selfish, and some that were experiments in simplicity, but I am looking back smiling, and as you'll see in the pictures my family spent a lot of time smiling too.

Red River Christmas 2017, Lower Fort Garry

I have wanted to attend this annual event for years. The trouble is that it competes with the annual military children's Christmas party. It's a great event for seeing friends, for checking off a lot of holiday activities from one's bucket list, and for bouncy castles. Who can compete with bouncy castles?! My kids LOVE them.

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 The problem with this children's event though, is that it takes place in a giant gym. The noise, the huge open space, the flurry of activities overloads my brain. I am constantly looking for my children, and by the time we leave I am totally burnt out. My children are cranky and we congratulate ourselves for having survived. I started to wonder, is it worth it? This year, I may have pouted quite a bit, sighed, and acted immature about the whole thing, which I am not proud of, but Danny was able to see past that. He said it wasn't all about what the kids wanted, often they don't even know what they want. "It's your life too.", he said. We decided to go to the Lower Fort Garry event, and if there was time, make a quick stop at the other party. The kids occasionally asked about the bouncy castles, but it became more clear throughout the day that this was a better fit for us, and everyone was happy that we went.

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Snowshoeing and warming ourselves by the fire.

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Pen and ink Santa letters
 
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We made Christmas ornaments as a family, using copies of an old newspaper, dried flowers, wool, paints. I was really excited about the materials laid out on the old table. I absolutely love what we made, and was inspired by the handmade decorations that others had filled the space with. We tried to arrange our crafts carefully in the stoller, to keep them from blowing away in the wind, when we went outside.

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Warming up with hot chocolate and lunch, while listening to Simpson's Folly playing traditional carols. We spent about an hour there with the kids totally relaxed and content, before deciding to move them along.

Simpson's Folly
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The view as we were leaving. Glowing sky, rosy cheeks, and soon after... sweet kids, asleep in the back seat.

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