It was an eight day trip: two very full driving days and six days with family.
My brother's family, my parents, and our family - the Toews/Tougas clan were all together for a few days.
During that time we went to Halifax to watch Rogue One with the whole family for my brother's birthday. We had Christmas Eve talent show, in which every family member had to contribute something.
We ate food, so much good food, that I wasn't responsible for planning - that's a Christmas gift right there. Thanks Mom!
We played the game telephone pictionary, and had the best belly laughs as a result. The kids played lots of video games, watched Netflix and YouTube. They also played soccer in the wide back hallway of my parent's house, duct taping a board over the bottom glass door of the book cabinet for protection. My dad helped Celine find the right tools to finish her woodworking project that was a gift for Brienne.
On Christmas Day morning, after a hearty breakfast prepared by my parents, my brother's family left to visit with my sister-in-law's family.
The days preceding Christmas were full and busy. The days following were pretty relaxed and calm.
We went for afternoon walks and short hikes; on the highway along the river, at Indian Path Common, and Gaff Point at Hirtle's Beach. We took naps. We went to see the house my dad is building, some of us took advantage of local Boxing Day sales.
Mom taught Brienne how to make Scandinavian flatbread.
In the mornings we slept-in and in the evenings we watched movies - Captain Fantastic, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Sully. I recommend them all.
My dad started the fire in the morning and rekindled it for the evening. Midday was often warm, the sun streaming through the windows.
On Wednesday we drove the fourteen hours or so home. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec.
Christmas, the celebration, is over. I am back in my small living room, a busy Montreal street outside my window, the sky grey with the promise of forecasted snow.
I love this liminal space between Christmas celebrations and my start on the New Year (sometime around Epiphany). It is a mixed bag of productivity and reflection, cleaning the house and reading books, vigorous walks and soaking in the tub, re-stocking the fridge and eating simple meals.
Someday I'd like to write about this space, this time, a most necessary non-rushed end to the holidays, a soft transition period. For now, it is enough to say on the threshold of this New Year that I am equally grateful for the happy memories of Christmas just-past, this present moment of coffee and grey sky, and the anticipation of the days ahead.