For over 12 years, I've been dreaming of a warm Christmas. This year I got one! It has been unseasonably cool here - in the low to mid 20's C (not F!) instead of the low to mid 30's.
My Mum and brother were already staying with us and my sister and her family were 5 minutes walk away at the local caravan (trailer) park. On Christmas Eve, we all enjoyed dinner together. Sami went to bed early and AJ went soon after her, but said he felt like throwing up. A few hours later he woke up burning up. I brought him in to sleep next to me so I could keep an eye on him but he kept waking up. I finally remembered I had some homeopathic remedies that would help his fever and they did. At 5:30am on Christmas morning, I heard AJ whispering to Sami excitedly about the big 2-seater tricycle under the tree that he had already taken a peek at. Suddenly I was wide awake, remembering what day it was and having memories of a Christmas 3 or 4 years ago when Sami opened most of her presents - very quietly - before I woke up.
AJ is so thrilled with the trike. It fits him perfectly and is at the lowest seat setting so he has plenty of room to grow with it. It has a seat in the back which Nicholas rides in. AJ was happy to ride that around inside the house while the rest of us had some breakfast and tried to wake up a bit. We also had to wait for everyone to arrive. Sami and AJ were so patient about waiting for gifts, they just enjoyed being with their cousins and mucking about. There were quite a few little fun fights of balled up paper flying across the room. At one point in the morning, Sami happily said to me "This is just the best Christmas!". There were lots of laughs and hugs and general silliness.
We didn't go overboard with presents for the kids. This has been such a big year. I wanted the emphasis to be on family fun rather than gifts. So AJ got the trike and a few other little things. Sami got a new wooden recorder, a sewing box and craft things. Nicholas (Nuke) got a wooden firetruck and a couple of other small toys. Cary and I chose not to exchange gifts this year.
I pretty much overlooked any 'Santa' stuff this year. Not that I do a lot usually, but this year I didn't even leave any treats out for the big guy. The only reference Sami made about him was on Christmas morning when she and AJ and Cary and I went to look at the tree and AJ said "look what Santa brought" and Sami said "so he IS real". I guess she had been doubting. AJ starting talking about Santa on Christmas eve when he asked me to send Santa a letter asking for 3 things one of which was the trike, so I got that right. The other two things were spy stuff and walkie-talkies (which I didn't have for him). When I told him it might be a little late to send a letter and he might not be able to get all of those things, he suggested we email him! Later on Christmas day, he said "Santa didn't bring me anything". He didn't count the water pistol he got as it had broken during the water fight. I suggested "wasnt' the trike from him?" He had seen the trike at the Tender Center here and knew that I had put a bid in on it, but I didn't tell him that I had won it. I was able to pick it up one day while he was at school and I had it hidden in the garage for the past 3 weeks. I don't think he quite believed that and seemed a bit disappointed by the lack of Santa magic this year. Sorry AJ.
After gifts were opened, most of the family headed out into the beautiful sunshine to the vacant lot next door for a game of cricket. That got everyone nice and warm which led into my sister's family tradition of a big water fight on Christmas Day. Oh what fun that was! It was our family + Geoff (my brother) vs Ros and her family. So much laughing! I felt a bit bad about wasting so much water when there is such a big drought happening in the country. But I am pretty careful the rest of the time, and it's not like we just let the taps run non-stop while we were refilling our water pistols and other water toys.
While we were having the water fight, Mum was inside working on food for lunch. We all chipped in to help when we were cleaned up and enjoyed sitting down together for Christmas day lunch for the first time in 21 years. With the addition of six grandchildren and my husband. That was pretty special.
An afternoon storm rolled in after lunch and we played inside while it passed. Then we got into our swimmers and headed to the creek for some more cricket and kayaking and swimming. An easy, light dinner and an early night rounded out the day. What a great day!
In the couple of days since Christmas, we've all just been hanging out and playing. Ros and her family left yesterday and Mum and Geoff are leaving tomorrow. Today we went into the shops for a couple of things, but after seeing the crowds, Cary and the kids and I decided to leave it for another day and went to the Fisherman's co-op for some prawns. I am checking out the sale brochures for a little digital camera that I can easily carry with me which will hopefully make it easier for me to put photos on here. I will keep on blogging. I think I was just a bit overwhelmed when I last posted and blogging was feeling a bit too one-sided during a time when I needed to connect more personally.
Cary has now been here one week. Before now, he's really only spent a combined total of about 24 days in the country. The last time he came here was 7.5 years ago. So a lot is new to him. He is enjoying the weather and the lifestyle and the generally slower pace here. And the family of course! Nuke had grown so much that Cary didn't recognise him at the airport. Ok, the fact that Nuke had fallen and busted his lip open earlier in the day didn't help. We got Cary some new clothes so now he's looking more the part of an Aussie beach bum. He's loving the sounds of the birds and bugs around here and all of the greenery. We are all enjoying having him here.
Life is bloody good!