I had a great time visiting family and friends in Lethbridge for a few days before Mark came down with Deanna and Dave on the 21st. It was our 6th Anniversary on the 22nd and we were able to enjoy a nice lunch out while my mom and sisters babysat the boys. The cousins had a great time playing games and got to try out one of my old favourites - Hungry Hippos!
Zach had fun doing puzzles with Great-Grandpa Smith.
Since we were going to be heading back home the next day, we had our Bennett Christmas celebrations on the 22nd. In past years we've always had a oil fondue, but with so many kids running around we thought it would be safer to change it up. Instead we ordered in some Chinese - yummy food with no prep work. Brilliant! I think this may stick as a new tradition - at least until the kids are much older.
Our family has grown big enough that the kids get to sit at their own table.
After dinner we read the Christmas story, opened gifts and the kids performed some songs for us.
Blake was loving his cuddles from Grandma.
We were all a bit distracted during the opening of gifts, when we realized Blake was having a little snack of wrapping paper. Yum! Maybe he's telling me it's time to bring on the solid food!
Mom and Dad seemed to like the scrapbook we made of our family trip to Mexico last Christmas.
After gifts we bundled everyone up to go to the Live Nativity at the church. Zach loved it - especially seeing the real donkey and sheep.
After arriving back home to Edmonton later the next day, we joined with some friends to check out Candy Cane Lane - 8 city blocks of houses decorated with Christmas lights. The boys loved it! Zach kept saying "Wowzers"! His favourite decoration was hands down the inflatable Santa in a helicopter.
On Christmas Eve we spent the morning getting ready for all our Christmas festivities. Blake even caught some hockey with his Dad.
One longstanding Christmas Eve tradition of the Corie family is to decorate gingerbread men. Zach was excited to help his dad make the yummy icing. He was sporting his fancy new apron made by his Grandma Bennett.
Grandma Corie gave Zach his first lessons in the art of gingerbread men decorating.
The finished product!
Grandpa Corie and Zach were our expert taste testers to ensure quality control.
Blake sure loves his Grandpa ... and Sophie the Giraffe.
Zach was thrilled with the neck warmer (aka blindfold) from his grandparents. Mark is so excited to take him for his first skiing experience. Zach is now ready to hit the slopes ... as soon as we actually get some good snow!
Mary put together some super cute desk calendars for Mom & Dad Corie.
Christmas morning was a bit more chaotic than usual as we had church at 9am. We managed to get everyone up and opened stockings beforehand, but saved the opening of gifts until afterwards.
Zach got his first train set this Christmas and was just a little excited, to say the least. It's made for hours of fun, especially with his dad. I'm not sure who enjoys it more?! Mark is already insisting that we need another extension kit and more train accessories. HA!
Later in the day, we headed to Mark's grandparents for a fun white elephant gift exchange and delicious Christmas dinner. Below are the boys in their matching Christmas sweaters.
Grandma and Grandpa Aylwin were definitely the most festive in the group! It was such a nice evening and great of them to host so many of us.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!