The morning started out with Laurent eatting breakfast. Unfortunately I think he's been watching the dogs a little too closely as he INSISTED on eatting it doggy style.
We throught we might have to call dinner off if we had to run to attend the storage place but as it was Nic called them and talked to someone else who agreed that we did NOT have to come in that morning but could do so after Christmas. Urg... how much stress could have been saved if I didn't have to worry what was going on from the first jerk! Bah humbug to him!
Anyhow we ended up having Jayne over, as well as Nic's cousin Nina and her daughter Rachel and son Jack. It was soooo good to have such lovely company, as Christmas has been rather quiet and solemn the past few years!
(Rachel, left and Nina, right)
Dinner turned out very nice, despite not having my traditional foods there... the Christmas log was done by a new owner who bought out Regal de France which is now La Tropezienne Provencale Patisserie, so it was different than we'd had before but still quite nice. We figured next year we'd throw a huge party since we want to do all the Christmas deserts. (croc en bouche, christmas log, christmas pudding, pumpkin pie, frosted cranberry squares and christmas biscuits) As it was, this year the entree was a nice camembert with crackers and Yellowglen Bella Rose. For the main, we had turkey which we'd brined in cranberry-maple brine and of course stuffing... with an oven-dried oiled/herbed rustic style Pain (French: bread); cranberry, celery, onion and a few herbs but no nuts of course, surrounded in bacon rashers before stuffing. That was accompanied by Nic's mum's potato dish which is a French cottage style potato dish; Tian de Legumes which is a mildly spicey vegetable caserole with chickpeas, eggplant, tomatos and onions with a bit of chilipepper, basil and aged cheese; the bouche de noel, which was a traditional chocolate with a small raspberry filling and the christmas pudding, flambed of course, with vanilla custard. Wines served with that were 2005 Moscato d' Asti which I could drink all day... as well as a 2005 Angrove's Long Row Chardonnay and Paul Mas Winery's La Font 2005 Vin de Pays D'Oc Marsanne.
We also had the candles lit the whole time to represent those we've lost but whom are never far, Nic's grandfather and his mum.
After dinner, Laurent got a fair share of booty...
* a wading pool (he got that one early obviously)
* a bunch of pool toys (bucket, two scoups sized for the ball, green watering can, green toy boat)
* a bunch of ball-pit plastic balls that will go in the other half of his wading pool instead of sand since we're going to do a sand-pit in our new home outside and it's less messy ;-)
* a kids mobile phone which looks and sounds like the real deal as he's so keen on constantly abducting ours, seen here being shown to Jack
* a toy train
* a green jingle-bell music instrument
* and a cheapo toy lawn mower that he found and fell in love with so much that we had to get it despite my aversion to crappy plastic toys!
* a French photo frame which holds a photo of us and then a photo of him as a newborn
Nina, Jack and Rachel also got him a Leap Frog interactive singing book that he loves! It reads out a line of the story and then asks you to find the
Really getting into unwrapping his gifts, he flomped straight into it, laying face down half-hidden by paper!
He sat back up to consider things...
Had some help getting it out...
Discovered the best part about the book: it has BUTTONS TO PUSH!!!
Was totally puzzled how the HECK they got people inside the book... he's got his ear to the "speaker" trying to figure it out! ROTFLMAO!
So that TOTALLY blew my intention to mostly get "classic" wooden toys that inspired imagination and that he would play with instead of them playing for him. Pft. I did plan on the balls and pool toys, and the mobile but I wanted to get a pusher (couldn't find one that was sturdy for under $169) or found them but they were out (building blocks made of polished tree cuttings - really neat/organic shapes, the wooden toy train with his name never came in etc.) Either way HE'S happy and loves his stuff! LOL
Jayne, Liam and Sienna got him a group of farm animal figures (horse, cow, sheep, sow and a goat) which he's had fun alternately looking at while looking at Nina, Jack and Rachel's gift (which also features farm animals) and making swim through the ball-pool this morning and giving a ride on the toy boat.
Nic got a mug from Laurent which Laurent had painted himself and I had put his hand-prints on with a message that said merry christmas to daddy from Laurent. (We set him up at the shop with the mug, some paints and sponges. I painted the inside, handle and helped with his hands and the message obviously)
Nic had earlier in the year lost his wedding ring... don't ask how... so my gift to him was a replacement of that.
My gifts were my planted aquarium and the betta you've seen and of course my lovely little puppy who is currently filthy again after umpteen baths... the mud-magnet! The tank is so far decked out with a simple array of plants: A. v. 'nana', Crypt wendtii, E parvula, V. dubyana and Milfoil.
The dogs and cat got their fair share in treats and biscuits and during the whole event managed to securely plaster themselves all over everyone. Cade in particular planted himself between Nina and Jack and firmly entrenched himself for a good cuddle. They were fairly well behaved aside from Hope being a bit of a stinker getting pats by jumping up on people and pushing her nose through the door to the dining room a few times. Buh... it's hard keeping an eye on 3 swirling dogs while doing everything else and trying to chat and eat and serve dishes! ;-)
We forgot to hand out the Christmas crackers, I'd handed them to Nic but he set them aside presuming to do them after the gifts. Unfortunately Laurent took SOOOOO long to open his gifts, everyone was pretty tired by the end and we out and out forgot! So instead, I grabbed two of them and told Nic to choose a hand. He chose my left and we pulled the first cracker with him winning. He got a teddy-bear charm (!) and a little French joke. We pulled the other one and I won, ending up with (appropriately enough) a little fish charm and a rather interesting French quote. We pulled a third one with Laurent, who got a little fish charm to match mine and a joke about a baby going to bed! LOL All three of us pulled one this morning because they're just so fun and we got a little heart charm, which is very precious.
So that was our Christmas! We hope everyone else had a gorgeous Christmas and a beautiful New Years and we hope you'll all drop by soon!!!
Trying to get our Christmas picture ready and the dogs pictures so stay tuned tonight for more pics!