We had a really nice Christmas and *almost* felt like we were with family since we were able to skype with family some throughout the weekend. We were blessed to have received a ton of toys, books and a few clothes even for the kiddos for free before Christmas so the kids were actually overwhelmed with things to open on the big day but we barely spent any money. We anticipate needing a number of things for the kiddos clothes-wise in the upcoming months so the money we don't tuck away into their savings will go to that (plus any school related expenses Marianna might have).
We also spent the entire day on Christmas day with a French family from our church here after the service. We enjoyed multiple courses of delicious food (first was a variety of breads with pate, salmon, and little meat/prune things on toothpicks with olives and nuts in dishes on the side, next were noodles that were like homemade, turkey in a delicious wine/truffle/broccoli sauce with bread, and then we enjoyed salad with a cheese platter. We then went on a walk with most of the family to the lakeside park. SO beautiful! We can't wait to take our families there when they visit. Really breathtaking. It was super cold though and the girls froze a little:). Then after our "digestion walk" we came back to the house for the bouche de noel log (a chocolate cake) that was A-MAZ-ING! and really strong coffee in tiny cups. After that the girls were gifted with a ton of hand-me-down kids' stuff that the family had been given from some other people (not sure who). Thankfully there were two English speakers (their son who has studied in New Zealand or Australia) and another single lady who spoke great English. We still tried to communicate with the hosts who didn't speak English as much as we could. I told Daniel that would be the way to learn French super fast (living with a French only speaking family for a few months)! We came home around 7:30pm exhausted. It was quite a blessing to be able to do that.
Yesterday we had our "family" Chrismtas and the girls opened their presents from the grandparents and had our special meal for lunch (smoked salmon on fresh bread, special cheese on roasted potatoes, garlic butter green beans and bouche de noel (before we knew we would be having one at the family's house) with bourbon vanilla flavored icecream. It was delicious and fun.
Today we are back to "normal" and figuring out how next week will work with one of us in school plus Marianna going for half days 4 days a week. I rode my bike to school/ the local thrift shop to see if I could find it (with Daniel's careful instructions...he takes good care of me!). It was a cold and long bike ride but I did it! Plus I got my Chrismtas present from Emmaus, the thrift shop...a french outfit! Boots, tapered/skinny type jeans, and a long sweater. I felt very accomplished surviving a hour plus bike ride and finding the school/thrift shop! Good to get out and get some sun/exercise too of course:)