Our 12 Days of Christmas

Would it be worth it? That’s what we’ve wondered as we’ve missed the last 2 Christmases at home. It’s a long flight. With connections, over 33 hours to get there and 24 hours to get back, jetlag, busyness, visiting, but never feeling like you’ve seen anyone enough, and it might just speed by and feel like a weekend. It was time to find out if 2 weeks is enough time to take a trip home.

Our conclusion? Definitely. It didn’t fly by as we thought it would. The time spent away actually felt like a decent amount of time. The best part? Having all my kids in one house for 10 days doing Christmassy things. Magic for my soul.

We even enjoyed the unseasonable (I think it’s safe to call it that) amount of snow and the ice storm (because it didn’t leave us without power, sorry to the Torontonians). We took beautiful pictures, drank eggnog, sat by the fire every single day, visited with friends and family, ate too much poultry, had the fun of last minute shopping with everyone at the mall, got some dog lovin’ time in, a Christmas Eve party during the day and a cozy Christmas Eve with close friends at night and then….Christmas day, all together, just our family, relaxing in one place, breathing and enjoying the day. Oh yes, it was worth it.

All of this was made possible because some of our friends also had a trip planned. They went to Saskatoon to visit their family for the exact same 10 days we needed a place for all of us to stay. In fact we were at the train station picking up our Annie and Vic just arriving from the west when they were leaving on their train. So their lovely farmhouse in the vineyards of Jordan was the backdrop for all of this fun. Immense Gratitude.

Once again we’re kicking ourselves for not taking enough pictures. Mostly Dave took pictures on his walks with Grommit, the dog who guards the farm. So there are fields and snow and ice storm pictures for your enjoyment and some of Christmas day. We really need to get better at pulling that camera out.

Tomorrow we head back to school and this clingy jetlag will have a rude awakening. We have great memories to carry us through to the summer and a renewed appreciation for the sunshine of Qatar. I think I’m cured of my complaining about the “cold” winter here. For now anyhow.

(Also, please forgive the inclusion of all these pictures. This blog also serves as somewhat of a memory trail for my family. And all the sunsets? How could I choose?)

There’s a P.S. Story at the bottom.

Farmhouse in the Vineyard – we are lucky ducks!

Farmhouse in the Vineyard





Infamous Ice Storm of 2013

ice storm 1

ice storm 2


ice storm 3

Yes, there was this.


And there was a lot of this! And Dad didn’t have to pull the car over once because of fighting kids.


Christmas morning series coming up….



Lots of snuggling….


lots and lots of snuggling….


This smile was seen an awful lot! Happy to have his girls (and their guys) all together.



Happiness is sisters who know how to shop for each other


Guess what Honour got for Christmas….



Puppy Love


Ruby, doing what Ruby does best…find two objects to make a bun…cuz she’s a weiner.



Saskatoon Santa will be happy to know that these were a huge hit!


The apartment starter kit to prepare her for next year!


My constant companion…the warm shawl.


Christmas dinner take 1 (the timer on the camera wasn’t working so we needed 2 pictures to get everyone in)


Christmas dinner take 2 (It was so nice that my parents could join us…what a treat).


Post Script

So far, on all of our return trips to Qatar, I have been determined to pack our suitcases to the max with food stuffs that you can’t get in Qatar or that are much cheaper at home. For example, gluten free products and farm fresh unpasteurized honey, just to name a couple. I should give a shout out here to my good husband who humours me and has become an expert packer.

On our last leg of the trip at the JFK airport we got pulled into a secondary inspection. They were looking through our purses and carry-ons. I panicked! Not because I had anything that I shouldn’t, but because my computer bag wasn’t just carrying my computer. It was also carrying 6 packages of brown rice pasta. This is going to be embarrassing!!! I was trying to spit out some kind of a warning for what the inspector was going to find and she laughed. She said, ‘that’s nothing, last week a woman told me to open her bag gently as the contents were very fragile.’  Turns out this woman thinks that the best tasting eggs are in the U.S. and that you can’t get good eggs in Qatar. She had 2 dozen in her carry-on.

Ok – I don’t feel like such a freak anymore! But if the egg carrying woman ever happens to read my blog…contact me. I’ll tell you where you can get farm fresh organic eggs, and they’re delicious. (Not that I can tell the difference).

Travel adventures aplenty.

My haul. All of it arrived safely. This makes me inordinately happy.


And yes, the honey deserves a spot of its own.



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15 responses to “Our 12 Days of Christmas

  1. Your trip made my Christmas complete too only I think it could have been a much, much longer visit! Glad you made such wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing some of them ❤

  2. Linda Fitzgerald

    Looks like your Christmas was wonderful and ‘wonder-filled’ – it’s all about family and friends isn’t it? I’ve made note on the honey as I am ready for a new batch and wanted to get a good one. Let me know where you bought it – hopefully in St. Catharines. Terry and I send our best wishes for your continued, memorable adventure in Qatar in 2014 and beyond.. Linda

    • Linda, you were definitely one of the people we missed seeing. I almost got there on Christmas Eve but I think you wouldn’t have been there anyhow. Summer. I’ll see you this summer for sure.
      The honey is from the market downtown. It’s sooooo good!

      • Linda Fitzgerald

        Next summer it is.. and thanks for the honey info, I’ll look next week. By the way, if you can recommend a contractor to build us a powder room on our main floor.. referrals are always best. Thanks Tracie – Linda

  3. Such beautiful pictures!! My heart is so warm looking at them. We have been talking about going home next Christmas. But that loooooong flight and jet lag with two young kids? Eek. Not yet sure.
    I also LOVE your stash! All these wonderful products I recognize. I brought back the exact same honey this summer. So good.
    Glad it was more than worth it for you!

    • Oh my friend, as lovely as it was jet lag is going to be tough. It’s tough enough with a teenager, I’m not sure I’d even consider it with little ones. We met some young teachers on our flight. They had a baby who was clearly going home to ‘meet’ the family for the first time. She said it was rough and they likely wouldn’t do it every year….her husband said “NOOO! Definitely not.” I can’t imagine turning a baby’s schedule around.

  4. I thought of you when the ice storm hit. How magically perfect a Christmas for you!

  5. I love seeing happy people in my house! And a dog….I may use your photos as leverage in the future!

    • Oh dear. I hesitated about putting pictures in of the dog knowing about the hesitation (that’s what I’m calling it), but she’s such a part of the family as you can see, and we all took turns (almost fought over) loving her up. Glad it works for you :).

  6. Oh – and this reminds me so much of the Christmas we spent in Australia with my family pre-kids. It was a treasured time to be adults with our parents, but not yet parents ourselves. So glad you made good memories.

  7. Beth

    Gorgeous…SO Gorgeous…all of you. Your pictures and telling are so heart warming and joy filled. Of course we missed hugging you in person this time, but knowing that you were cozied up together by the fire at Elmwood Farms cheered us greatly.

  8. Tammy

    A heart warming post for sure! It’s so wondering seeing you and your family enjoying the home of our dear friends. Love to you all and a blessed 2014 to you!

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