Since we are having our Christmas open house in early December, and we will be having quite a few kids over, and we've seen how little ones about Kayla's age can get overwhelmed with Christmas gifts and simply end up playing with a few boxes when they have to open a bunch of Christmas presents on Christmas morning, we decided to give Kayla her main birthday present early. So on the last day in November we let her open her finely wrapped (covered with a blanket) main Christmas gift. It's a pretend kitchen, and she just loves it! Making it even better is that the kitchen comes with a pretend phone, and for the last few months she has just been loving pretend-talking on the phone!

On a side note, something else cute is that Kayla has taken up dancing, a lot! So here she is dancing and with her pretend kitchen.

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As made reference to above, on the first Saturday in December we held our Christmas open house. The last time we held our open house was a couple of years ago, before Kayla was born. As I've said before, it's always good to have people over as it commits us to cleaning up our house. The party was a great success, with 28 people attending at one time or another. The party started at 3:00, and we had our last guest leave at about 10:00. With many children planned for attendance, we decided we would not have up many Christmas decorations, but we did have appropriate music playing which I think gave it all the perfect mood. As centre's of visiting we used our kitchen, with a table set up so that people could eat their dinner there, our dining room, where most of the food was layed out, plus a few spots to eat, of course our living room, the downstairs family room so that people could watch Christmas movies if they wanted, and Kayla's bedroom!?!??!! We moved Kayla's kitchen into her room, along with a number of her toys that regularly are in our living room, so with the 8 little ones we had in attendance, it was quite the party in her room at times separate from the adult party that was happening in the living room. After having a fun time playing bingo and various social party games, the last visiting little one left at about 8:00 so Kayla was able to get to bed at a reasonable time. A big thanks to Sabrina, Ada, Patrick, and Grace who helped us clean up!

On a side note, I mentioned Kayla's Kitchen above, my parents like the name so much that they have created a geocache in the Arizona desert they have named Kayla's Kitchen.

On the first Sunday in the month we put up our Christmas lights. Here is a picture showing the lights we have up this year. You'll notice that we have red lights that totally ring our house, and some multi-colours on the carport. Each year since we have lived in this house we have added another string of lights to what we put up last year. Last year was the first year that we had our house fully ringed (at least the part of it that is visible from the street), and so this year was the first year that we have put up lights on the carport. I am really happy with the look, and so will have to think how we will add on next year. Maybe something else for the yard other than our snowman, who we haven't yet put out, maybe today (December 21).

As you probably have heard (or are experiencing), but I will document here for myself in the years to come as something to look back on, and that has been the temperature in the last couple of weeks. It's cold!!! On Friday Vancouver recorded the coldest day in nearly 40 years at -15.2 C. It was supposedly Jan. 29, 1969 the last time it was this cold in Vancouver. For record, the Jan. 29 1969 temperature was -17.8 C, which is the coldest day on record (tied with Jan. 14, 1950). On Friday in Kamloops (my hometown), the all time record was set for that day, when it reached -26.4. Surprisingly, Kelowna, my mom's hometown, was even colder, at -30.6 (by far setting that town's record for the day). The forecast is that this cold snap will continue right up through Christmas day. Hopefully Uncle Van is able to get out here, as he is supposed to be driving from his home in Mannville in the next couple of days, and spending Christmas here with us.

Last night, Saturday, Dec. 20, we had great joy in going over to friend Andrea's house for a merry round of Christmas carolling (and a great potluck dinner). Today we are having Grace, Richard, Ben, and Josh over for dinner for some more Christmas cheer. We got out the plastic tree yesterday, thinking it's probably safest for Kayla in case she decides she wants to pull it over, and we plan to put up some more Christmas decorations today.

Susan and Kayla are off at home for the next two weeks straight, and Glen is working Monday, Tuesday, and half day Wednesday before he's off for a week and half to the Monday after the New Year. Uncle Van is due to arrive on Christmas Eve, after driving out for a few days from Mannville (hopefully the road conditions stay Ok, and it simply stays cold without having too much of a blizzard). On Christmas day, we'll be having dinner at Nancy and Simon's, supposedly to be quite the family bash with numbers easily competing against the numbers we had at our open house. On boxing day, we're likely to get together for lunch/dinner with Jim, Ellen and the kids so that they can see Van before he leaves on the weekend.

On Friday the 29th we plan to have another big Christmas openhouse, this time with invites being family only. We'll definitely be getting out the bingo set once again.

We won't be seeing either Susan's or Glen's parents at the holiday time this year. Glen's parents are having fun snowbirding down in Arizona, doing things like putting out geocaches, while Susan's parents will be celebrating Christmas in Calgary with their local extended family. Susan's parents will be coming out for a vist in March, and I think it's the same month that Glen's parents will be passing through on their way back from snowbirding in Arizona.

It's looking to be a great holiday season for us. We wish you a merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

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