Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Traditions

We have several family Christmas traditions, starting off with a letter to Santa from Kayla.

This year she attempts to spell her wish list out on her own. 

Next is our annual visit to see Santa. This year our visit was much later than normal, we squeezed our visit in just a few days before Christmas.

Before the kids, I always made cookies for Christmas. But once the kids came, I was never able to find time. But this year, I started the tradition once again - with both girls helping me in the kitchen. We made ginger bread cookies this year - my first time at making cookies that require cookie cutters and surprisingly they turned out well. The picture above is our family decorated by Kayla: #34 is me (my age), #4 is Kayla (cause she's 4 years old), Lauren has the bib over her t-shirt and Steve is with the bow tie.

 Our annual Christmas card through Tiny Prints along with our family newsletter (next post).

 Stockings are hung by the chimney with care

 Another Christmas tradition we have each year is the kids pick out a new Christmas ornament for the tree.  This year, Lauren chose Lady and the Tramp and Kayla chose Cinderella castle

 And of course, the tree would not be complete without some home made ornaments from school. Lauren did a stocking this year and Kayla made an festive ornament. 

Christmas morning starts off with presents at our house from Santa and each other. Kayla loved the grocery stand Steve and I got her and Lauren is warming up to the Elmo we got her. The kids go through their stockings and discover the usual socks, lottery tickets and popcorn and then we head over to my parents home to open more presents and for some breakfast. After the festivities, we are off to Steve's parents for lunch and presents and stay for the day to enjoy a large potluck family Christmas dinner with 60 or so family members and a huge turkey.

And of course, last but not least, is the annual Christmas day pose. So what's your holiday tradition?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Letter From Santa to Kayla

So Kayla has been misbehaving quite a bit lately, to the point where she is kicking and screaming and hitting. Most stem from her not wanting to eat breakfast or dinner and end up with her throwing a full tantrum where ever we are. With only a day until Christmas and our constant reminding that Santa is watching her, you think she would be on her best behavior...but this is not the case. This morning, we had another meltdown over brushing her teeth. So her letter from Santa this year reads as follows:

Dear Kayla,

Did you know that all my elves have been talking about you?They are all very impressed that you are trying to stop sucking your thumb. Mrs. Claus and I are proud of you too! I have included a special mitten that you can wear when you go to sleep to help remind you not to suck your thumb at story time and at bed time. I know it is hard, but it is all part of becoming a big girl.

The elves and I have been busy building toys and getting my sleigh ready for the big trip. Mrs. Claus is hard at work making me a new outfit. It seems that I've outgrown my suit from last year! The reindeer are training each day, so they'll be ready for the big Christmas Eve journey!

So, you can see we're keeping busy, but we're looking forward to visiting Markham and stopping at your house. I understand that you have asked for running shoes with velcro, a train set and dollhouse from Santa this year. I have been watching you and sometimes you have been naughty and Mommy and Daddy have been mad at you for not eating your food and sitting down properly.

I will try my best to bring you one present from your list, but I first must give the toys to all the boys and girls who are good all the time like your friends Lucas and Alfred. I hope that next year you will be a good girl all year long so I can bring you everything you ask for.

Don't forget to hang your Christmas stockings. I have something special for you. And for snack I would like to ask for some chocolate milk, gingerbread cookies and some oranges for Rudolph.

Merry Christmas and Warmest Wishes!


Will post her reaction later tonight once I give her the letter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Photos

More pictures from our family photo shoot a few weeks ago.

The photographer's website is

Monday, December 12, 2011

Family Holiday Photo Shoot

A few weekends ago, a friend treated us to a family photo shoot, just in time for the holidays. Here is a sneak peak of some of the photos captured that day. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

China-Thailand-Hong Kong

Here are some random pictures of our recent trip to China, Thailand and Hong Kong. We both had an amazing time, filled with laughs, once in a lifetime experiences and surprises. It was also a nice break from the kids, although I'm sure this will be our last trip without the two girls...we miss them too much!

Shopping in Guangzhou, China. The streets were so busy and packed. But within the busy streets we came across numerous alleyways filled with vendors selling knock off bags, shoes, wallet, watches and pretty much anything you can think of. Some knock offs were great copies of the original - with serial numbers, certificates of authenticity, and official tags. Many looked almost real and some, the sellers swear, are real - just over production or factory seconds that didn't pass quality standards. We managed to score some great deals after some hard and long negotiations with loud, feisty and thrifty chinese vendors.

If only I could remember where I took this picture...also didn't help that the tour was entirely in Mandarin, which I have no understanding of.
We drank shots of either cognac or Mao Tai with every dinner meal in China. And because its rude not to drink or to turn down a toast, we were more than feeling happy at the end of the night (Mao Tai has an average alcohol content of 53%!)

Sanya Nanshan Cultural Park in Hainan, China. Pictured here is the statue of Guan Yin Buddha standing 108 metres tall on a man made island in the sea. It is larger than the Statue of Liberty.

Canton Tower, the highest TV tower in the world, eclipsing Toronto's CN Tower by 75m. It is 610 metres tall and stands in the heart of the Pearl River. We had lunch at 404m high, with a spectacular view overlooking the city and stayed the night in a hotel on the Pearl River.

We shared a  private car with two Buddhist monks from the Chinese Buddhist Temple in Toronto. We rode with them for 4 hours from China to the Hong Kong airport.

What trip wouldn't be complete without some interesting eats? Above are water cockroaches...yummy.

Angry Crab

Soup with a sea horse. We also had snake soup and turtle soup too.

Downtown Phuket Thailand. The most amazing place to party at night!! The ratio of women to men is 10:1. Lots of "lady boys" so you have to be careful. Steve was fully on guard and we were always making gender bets. You get around by Tuk Tuks (the red cars in the picture).

A baby elephant at our resort hotel in Phuket.
This food stand is actually attached to the man's motorcycle. For $2CDN you get a bowl of rice noodles with all the toppings. It was so good!! And we didn't get sick...

Boy, Girl or Ladyboy? I say Girl, but Steve swears its a Ladyboy....
Patong night life. Street side bars and clubs, loud music, table top go go dancers...
The best part of Thailand was the cheap massages. We got 1 hour foot massages for $7 and I got a 1 hour facial for $11 and my eye brows shaped for $2!!

Shopping at the night markets in Hong Kong. Cell phone covers, apple accessories, you name it - they got it. 
Hong Kong - Eating on Temple Street at midnight. Lots of people were just getting off work.

Can't go to Hong Kong without trying the street food including curry fish balls.

More shopping in Hong Kong

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