The days leading up to Christmas were extremely busy. Even though I'd done the shopping early enough, there was so much I wanted to achieve at home. The baking of my goodies took up quite a fair bit of time and I was getting a bit stressed as I felt I'd left it late. I found that I would create myself more work, I just had this funny feeling that when I sat still I should have been doing something so actually created myself jobs which was probably a stupid thing to do. I made too many extras. I will end up freezing half my Christmas cake and saving it for Easter, when it will be more appreciated as at this point I still have quite a bit left over, and I don't want to be eating it anymore.
*One of our big jobs was painting in the lounge and dining room. No more photoshopping out the wall above the lounge woohoo.......... It looks fantastic, and I'm thinking I'll endeavour to do some more on my own.
* Christmas Eve was just the best Christmas ever. I probably say that every year. But it was just the best fun. We all got really cool presents, and felt very spoilt. I got a video camera, which I was lucky enough to have the batteries ready to go so I have much of Christmas Eve on video. The main thing that stood out was the amount of laughter and frivolity that was coming out of all of us. Our small, humble home was filled to the brim with 11 of us, and it was really really special. Aunty Ricky and Aunty Dee came and brought the girls. They'd had a long drive down that day, and had a short rest at the motel before they got here. I made Ricky's night by giving him my 300D. He was taking photos with it and has told me it takes awesome photos. I am so pleased I gave it to him. It has served me well, and I know that he will love it as much as I did. He was over the whole shutter lag issue with his Fuji, so this was fabulous for him. I never did find out how much it would cost to fix the flash, but with my workaround, it all works fine. Bunny was rapt with his car radio/cd player. The kids were delighted with the Wii console. We had a play at it straight away, and I couldn't help but realize how much the kids have grown up, that I had bought something like that and the kids were setting it up and not me. We had a go at tennis and boxing. I overdid the boxing, and Peter said he'd never seen anyone box like that before ever!! My back and arm muscles ached so much over the next two days I had to take pain killers!! Look forward to much more fun with that game.
*The food was a hit on Christmas Eve. I will definitely do the 'cold' thing again. It was so much easier, that after a bottle of sparkling shiraz, some champagne punch and a few jelly shots I didn't have to think too much about the food. I might do a ham next year rather than the stuffed chickens. I didn't end up buying a ham this year, which I'm so glad about because we had food left over, and a huge ham would have just been painful. I still have some chicken frozen.
* Christmas Day was really nice, but I just didn't want to be there. I would love to spend Christmas Day quietly at home, but I know that 's not possible. The kids had a ball, although I had to keep a very close eye on them. The house had a pool and canal frontage, so I had to keep an extremely close watch on Sammy and Mickey as neither of them swim properly yet. They had an absolute ball. The food was beautiful and the day was relaxing otherwise. I was very happy to get home and I felt so very tired. I fixed what I'd gotten Billy-Joe for Christmas. A friend from work told me about a chip which you can get for the Nintendo DS, and then you can download games free off the internet. I had set it up for Billy-Joe, complete with games, but it wasn't working. Christmas Day evening, I worked out what was missing and then got it up and running for him. He was rapt when we got it all sorted. One thing that was extra special about this day and the next, was the amount of smses I received from my friends. I was rapt with the friends and even my MIL who remembered that Christmas Eve was our big day.
* Boxing Day I hit a wall. We spent the morning tidying and getting the house back in some semblance of order. It was so untidy, with new gifts still out and under the tree. Once lunchtime came, my Bunny just looked after me the rest of the day. I felt dreadful. I don't know if it was the anti climax or what it was. I felt miserable. I had no energy and was filled with that awful feeling of dread. You know when you have to sigh all the time, to release the adrenalin or whatever it is. I felt it come upon me a few time before Christmas and found that the treadmill really helped. I just had no energy this day for the treadmill.
* On the Saturday we went to friends' house and enjoyed a delicous Indian meal. It was a pleasant afternoon, but unfortunately ended in a huge argument that evening. It was horrible at the time, but it really cleared the air, and gave both of us the chance to really express what we were feeling. So even though it was traumatic at the time, it was very much a blessing in disguise. It was sad that the kids witnessed their father's anger toward me. I am very concious of the kids being around, and that things can so easily escalate, so I don't yell or swear. The kids, especially Billy-Joe was heartbroken and sobbed in my arms. I explained to him that adults don't always agree with each other but that we would work things out. I went in and saw him later that evening and told him all was well. He cried again and said he was so scared that something bad was going to happen. I told him we loved each other very much, but that didn't mean that we don't get upset sometimes. Thankfully arguments happen so rarely so it's not something the kids have ever really witnessed. In hindsight it was a valuable lesson for him. A lesson that showed him that conflict and then resolution is a natural part of life and especially marriage.
*This episode was the pinnacle of me feeling like crap. As you can imagine, it did nothing to improve my demeanour or the feeling of dread. My birthday was looming and I didn't want to do anything for it. I didn't want to think, or plan, or organize. Since I share that day with Sammy I can't really let that day go by without some kind of fuss.
*We decided on a BBQ for our birthdays. I didn't bake a cake, as Sammy wanted a Woolies mud cake. We bought nice meats, a pasta salad, and some nice things for nibblies. I made a yummy roast pumpkin, feta, pine nut and rocket and spinach salad which was delicous. My parents came with a birthday gift even though I wasn't expecting anything due to the beautiful gold heart pendant I receieved for Christmas. They walked in with a huge mortar and pestle and I was delighted, and couldn't believe they'd bought it for me. I promised then, that I would cook Bunny a yummy Indian dinner soon. We bought Sammy a Lego Agents - Mission 5, which he loved. Mum and Dad bought him 'Egyptology' and I got a Horrible Histories book on Egypt which Billy-Joe gave to him. We had a lovely afternoon, and I'm glad we just had something at home, rather than going to Sizzler which was one of my ideas when I was in my 'couldn't be bothered mood'.
* The next few days were where I began to relax and feel like I was in total holiday mode. The feeling of dread was gone and I was content and happy again. We headed to the beach for three days in a row which was just gorgeous. I even got my hair wet and headed out on the boogie board, much to the delight of my family. I got Bunny to buy me a new beach chair, one of those low ones so I can sit on the sand in comfort. It's really nice seeing the kids have so much fun, and having them a little bit bigger where I don't worry quite so much. We swim in between the flags these days and it's a comfort knowing there's extra eyes watching my kids too. We took time out to go and visit Peter's parents which was really nice too. My FIL had had a bowel operation done a couple of weeks before Christmas and both of us were quite shocked by how frail he looked on Christmas Day. He looked much better. I still thing he's aged dramatically in the last 12 months. He's a couple of years younger than my Dad and seems much older than him. MIL looks fabulous which is great.
*The last few days have given us a chance to chill out, to throw routine out the window and to just enjoy being together, which is how holidays should be. In some ways I like how it works in the northern hemisphere. Their Christmas holidays are very short, and their summer holidays are unhampered by all the excitement and stress of something like Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but can see advantages to a totally stress free summer holiday.
* Bunny bought me a CSI game for the Wii. Billy-Joe has helped me with one case which was quite an eye opener, and made me realize how mature he's become. The game is M rated, and while I certainly wouldn't let him play it unsupervised, I was impressed with the maturity he displayed when we came across 'adult issues'. To his credit, he was neither embarassed or silly, and we just set about solving the case like two pros lol.........
* In my determination to use my new mortar and pestle, I chose some Indian recipes and set Bunny out to go 'hunting' for the ingredients. It was around 3.30pm when he headed out and by about 4.10pm, I was thinking he'd be home soon. It was almost 5pm before he came home. He'd had problems getting certain ingredients and had basically run all over town to find everything we needed. While he was gone I had the yeast dough for the naan bread proving. I made tandoori chicken, with the tandoori from scratch. I made vegetable fritters with a yoghurt dipping sauce. The sauce was delicious with cumin seeds, coriander, mint, garlic and chilli in it. I cooked rice and also made a cucumber and yoghurt side. We also had mango chutney to eat with the main meal. The feast was divine. My mortar and pestle worked a treat and I am looking forward to using it tonight as I'm making a green curry from scratch. The mortar and pestle weighs a tonne. I was cooking and I picked it up and moved it, and then lifted the bowl with the proving yeast dough for Bunny to smell and I nearly wore it on my face, as I misjudged what I was lifting lol........... The dough had a nose print in it and I was cracking up with laughter.
*Last night I went back to scrapping for the first time in two weeks. It was wonderful to catch up with my best friends again. I was spoilt rotten with more birthday presents. Karen gave me a beautiful Cheese board with two knives, one for hard and another for soft cheese. Lisa gave me a gorgeous salt caddy. It was ironic actually, as when I was at my SIL's house the other week, she told me her husband likes to use salt flakes in his cooking, so that's what I'm going to put in it. It's quite funky with bright colours in it that she knows I love - I love a thoughtful gift. Barbi gave me a beautiful desk calendar with daily Bible quites and inspirations from Max Lucade. She knows I'm slack with reading my Bible, so this is a nice way to have a daily reminder of my faith. I've never considered msyelf deeply religious, but take a lot of comfort from the Bible, when it is put in 'everyday context'. I can't keep my faith strong with things I don't understand.
Wretched blogger is such a pain sometimes. The cream walls are the 'after shots'. We've had enough of deep blue walls. We redid the feature wall the same colour. Now I'd like to replace the drapes. It's a shame these are such good quality otherwise I would have already changed them, seeing as they used to match when we had our yellow sofa.
Mickey playing with Billy-Joe's hair.