The winter package

For  twelve days over Christmas  we  had friends visiting from Sydney, Australia.  We have known them since 1997 when we lived in Wollongong for a year.  They have three children, very close in age to our children and we had a ball.  So much so that there was not time to write about it on the blog, just time to enjoy it in real life.   When we have visitors there are certain things we like to do with them and places we like to take them.  If they are from Australia, and if they are here in winter, there are a few activities which are a “must”.

Thankfully the weather was all it needed to be.  We had a white Christmas, which we were all   hoping for.  The skating rink at the end of our street was in great shape and, towards the end of their stay, 2 km of the canal opened so our friends experienced some hockey and a canal skate.   Keen to try just about anything we suggested, they loved tobogganing and also  enjoyed cross country  skiing in Gatineau Park on two separate days.  Both times we packed food so we could ski to one of the huts,  warm up, eat up and then ski back again.

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One place we always take visitors is the Museum of Civilization.  Our children have been there so many times, however, that the Canada Hall, which once intrigued them, does not hold their attention for very long anymore.  The six children raced through and then spent most of their time in the Children’s Museum, which continues to captivate them.  The parents did meander through the Canada Hall and then visit, with the older girls,  the special Tombs of Eternity exhibit.  Another place which we visit any time of year is Hog’s Back Falls.  When we were there it was extremely icy, which caused one or two  falls but also gave the four youngest and silliest children the chance to slide down the iced stairs on their behinds.  After they’d had enough of that we walked along a trail for a while and managed to lure chickadees on to our hands with bird seed.

I’ve never ventured into the Boxing Day sales before but this year we all headed out the day after Boxing Day, split into two groups, girls and boys and sought out the bargains.  All the girls came home with something new, and the boys might have bought a book or a video cable, I’m not really sure!

When we were back in our warm house we had plenty of time to catch up on the last few years over some delicious meals eaten by candlelight and followed by coffee, cheese and chocolate.

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We persevered through two jigsaw puzzles and the children watched several movies together.  We fell into a routine of going to bed late and rising late.  B8 was thrilled to have M11 stay in his room and the two of them had to be told just about every night to stop talking and go to sleep!  It was wonderful to see the friendships rekindle and grow between all the children and for the adults to be able to slip back into easy conversation after years apart.

As you can imagine we didn’t want them to go,  we didn’t want to go back to getting up on time and we weren’t keen on the whole back to school thing either.

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