Christmas Break, part one

 Like everyone else in the winter-holiday-celebrating world, we had a busy, busy December.  So busy that I’m just now taking a breath.  So busy that I have been neglecting the blogging world to spend time in the real one.  But now that I have a bit of time to sit down with a cup of tea and some speculoos (not made by, or for, St. Nicholas), I get to tell you all about it.  Yes, I do realize that most people have moved on…  the celebrating is over, the new year has begun… but I have things to document!  And since the kids still haven’t been back to school, and the tree is still up (dry as a bone, but still up), it’s still Christmas time in the Martin house.  But even I am getting tired of looking at my collection of Santas, and the picture Christmas cards we received are starting to curl, so I’ll try to make it quick.

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handmade holiday

handmade holiday

We packed December with the usual stuff.  Christmas markets, skating, shopping, tree picking, concerts, parties and a birthday.  E got quite a bit of celebrating done this month.  A birthday party with friends, a celebration with just us, and then, on his actual birthday he got to celebrate again with Ben’s entire family.  The annual Martin Christmas party fell on his birthday so, more singing!  More cake!  More presents!

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Quite the celebrated little boy!

Also, kudos to Benoit and Violette, who, again this year, successfully packed 35 Martins into their house and fed them an incredible meal.  Thank you!

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The next day was a big soccer day in the area.   Standard de Liege versus Anderlecht.  Number one versus number two.  Huge rivals.  And Fred got us tickets.  Not your typical date night, but alright.

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Anti Anderlecht and a Santa hat.

You know what makes for good family fun?  When the other team’s fans have to be protected by police in full riot gear just so they can leave the game unharmed.  Soccer games scare me a little.

Liege, while a scary place to take in a soccer game, is a good place to stop if you need your daily Christmas market fix.  The Liege market is the biggest one in Belgium.  It really does just keep going.  Around every corner there’s more market.  I have to admit that after a month of Christmas markets, I get a bit weary of them, especially since I can’t drink red wine anymore (such a shame).  The hot spiced wine is one of my favorite parts!  So now I have to drown my wine sorrows at the gaufre stand.

Vin Chaud

Vin Chaud

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More parties and dinners led right up to Christmas.  At one open house, there were 100 kids.  Or at least that’s what it seemed like, and they all knew each other from school or Brownies or the playground or wherever, so they took the opportunity of all being together to run around the house non-stop.  Unfortunately, it was my unlucky son who tripped.  Or, more accurately, was tripped, and took the corner of the dining room table to the forehead.  Three stitches later, he will forever have his very own Harry Potter scar.

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The Boy Who Lived

Christmas came and went in a flurry of wrapping paper, leaving in its wake 25 boxes of Star Wars Legos, 30 boxes of Playmobil horses and seasons two and three of Arrested Development on DVD.

But, wait!  There’s more soccer!

We used borrowed tickets to see Mons play… Genk.  Isn’t that a terrible name?  And guess what!  Mons won!  It’s a Christmas miracle!  And guess what else… the sun came out!  A second Christmas miracle!

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And that, my dear friends, is where I shall leave you for now because the next day we went to Paris.  And Paris deserves its very own post, don’t you think?

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