Denver Mommy Blogger Does Canadian Christmas

A few weeks ago, my friend Lisa hosted a Christmas soiree and had a gift exchange to be remembered. For those who don’t know how to play: everyone brings a wrapped gift and then draws a number and takes a turn either choosing an unwrapped gift or swiping one that has already been opened.

We were half-way through the exchange when my friend Wendy opened the gift I had brought–a green and orange prize ribbon. Everyone dubiously stared at it until realization set in that it was for a certain someone’s prized pumpkin. I won’t go into details but it got ugly. Jamie attests that no one was laughing.

I can assure you that everyone was laughing but him.

Now, onto some highlights of our two-week vacation in Canada:

Sleep, Blessed Sleep

We slept in every morning. I haven’t had that many consecutive nights of eights hours of sleep since birth. Oh wait. I didn’t sleep even then. We slumbered in my parent’s pitch-dark basement. After our first night, I awoke to Bode screaming at the top of his lungs, “Can’t see, can’t see!” In toddler speak, this means “HALP, I’M BLIND!!!!!”

The Cold

The weather was almost unbearable the first several days (-30 degrees) but we spent some quality time visiting with my folks snuggling up by the fire, drinking hot chocolate, dragging the dogs for walks around the house, doing make-up with Grandma, playing games and hanging out in the Canadian Rockies. Oh, and sleeping. Did I mention glorious sleep?

Outdoor Pursuits, Canadian-Style

When temps warmed up, Dad and I went cross-country skiing and we all tobogganed at the gully near my house. Turns out my thrill-seeking days are over and I started to scream “I’m too old for this”… until my 68-year-old father zoomed past me. Jamie declared he had two days left on his health insurance and brazenly stupidly went off a huge jump. There was no sympathy as he limped around afterwards.

I got some YakTrax from my parents for Christmas. Never heard of them? Just strap these bad boys onto your shoes and they help you run in the snow. It was so bloody cold that first week that I went out for a run when it was -20 C. I covered my face with my turtleneck but just breathing caused it to freeze solid. Bottom line: Yaktrax work out marvelously in the sub-zero temps but maybe you shouldn’t. Will wait for balmy -15 degree conditions next time around.

On Not Getting Ripped

My brother Pat and his wife Jane took Jamie and I to Caesar’s, the best steakhouse in Calgary. Oh, and I did not get Ripped. Why burn 1,000 calories in an hour when you eat ten times that in two hours? The good Lord chose to smite me with the stomach flu that Ripped day. A curse or possibly a blessing?

The Canucks

Seeing beloved friend Stacey and then hanging out with cherished high school sweethearts Allison and Shannon.

Note: Prior to snapping this shot, Shannon asked, “Are we taking the picture with our clothes on or off?”

And no, we weren’t those kind of sweethearts.

Jamie met renowned giant pumpkin grower “The Ice Man” (because what would any vacation be like without pumpkins?) Ice Man took him out to his property and showed Jamie his 12 greenhouses where he grows his orange monstrosities. A disturbing glimpse into the life we would lead if we ever moved to Canada.

My brother Pat is a commodities trader and travels in wealthy circles. We got invited out to one of these friend’s houses for a Boxing Day party to play hockey in their backyard (because doesn’t everyone flood their backyard and make it into a rink?) I enjoyed chatting with everyone but later realized the net worth in the room with four other couples was $100 million. Any guesses who was the poorest?


Nothing has ever compared to Christmas in Canada for me. Christmas Eve was replete with family traditions of stuffing our faces, [badly] playing the Christmas bells, proving our mental deficiencies in the Left-Wright Game and fighting over presents in the gift exchange. Christmas Day was food, generosity and laughter. The perfect holiday spent with my wonderful parents and my brother and his family.

The Flights

I did not die (though I wanted to kill a few people en route.) Overall, pretty minor on the Amber Scale of Catastrophes: 1) Our Chariot stroller accrued THREE flat tires 2) The Las Vegas airport SUCKS for layovers and doesn’t have a #$&(&# train between terminals and the Chariot would not fit in the shuttle. 3) We flew into Denver with 40 mph winds–the worst turbulence I have ever experienced. As the children delightedly squealed, “Weeeee, roller-coaster airplane!” I started writing my will. Of course, you are all in it.

Too bad I’m not worth much.

Note to self: start hanging out with wealthy commodities traders in 2009.


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