I started this just after New Year’s Eve and then got distracted by the hot weather. So a little late but better than never – Happy New Year!! Well after all my worrying about cooking Christmas dinner turns out I was not needed, bar pulling up some carrots. Ho hum, there is always next year.  So Christmas was a blast, Jamie came home and we hung the kids Christmas stockings by the fireplace – such a cliché but it had to be done. We put out a carrot, milk and cookies and finally persuaded them that Santa would not arrive if they stayed up and Abi did not need to make one last check to see if he had already been.  Christmas Day dawned and we were allowed a lie in until 7:30 before Abi woke us and then it was a battle to make her wait for Jack to wake up before we went in to see what Santa had brought them. The most adorable thing was they were both so excited about the stockings they completely missed the mound of presents under the tree. It took Abi a good 5 minutes before she bothered to glance over, her face was a picture.  So we did a few presents, spent 10 minutes building Jack’s new carpark and that distracted them while we got on with getting ready.

Jamie had been up at 4am to start his smoker and it did look pretty amazing. Mum took over in the kitchen so I just decorated the table and played with toys until everyone turned up at about 1. It’s a hard life I know. We had Linda, Peter, Pauline and Sharon for lunch with our lot.  Jamie’s smoked a beautiful pork, 2 chickens (not ours) and a load of corn on the cob. The only down side was Abi’s tonsils, or lack of them, started to play up. Apparently day 5 – 7 is scabs coming off day – lovely, and it meant she was a little teary, wouldn’t eat or drink anything bar a little bit of milk. The only plus side was we had lots of presents to distract her! Jack learnt a new phrase, but refused to use it correctly – ‘Open one more, and that’s it.’ Despite repeating it continuously he just kept demanding to open presents.  It’s hard to explain to him that he has to wait for everyone else, cue lots of tears.

Emma and Liam arrived with their load of gifts – a well used pool and playdoh table. And the kids promptly stripped off and hopped in, good distractions.  Chris and Robbie turned up a bit later on, and then Jo and Steve who had gotten stuck with a flat tire for hours – not a great start to Christmas. So we had a massive present opening session, a second dinner, my attempt at a chocolate fountain which failed miserably and 2 very over tired and cranky children. But it was the best day, especially as we got sunshine without too many flies!

The next big day was New Year and Jamie was once again the Bendigo Pig, sweating buckets in 30+ heat even at 8pm at night. I think he even looked thinner when he took the suit off he lost that much fluid! Pauline bought the kids sparklers, and Jack practiced his phrase again – ‘One more and that’s it’. We had dinner at the back of the motel, beautifully barbequed by my Dad, he’s going native. Then we hit the main street only to realise that the kids were too young and we were too old for the crowd. Everyone I turned there were slightly drunk 16 year olds and lots of girls squealing and hugging each other. Ahhh, I remember those days. We danced a little, bought bubble machines and the kids powered through to midnight to watch the fireworks. By which time I think they were so tired it all started to blur. So we threw them in the car and drove home, bizarrely enough through the thickest fog I have ever seen. I ended up doing about 20ks an hour until we managed to get through it. No clue where that came from and a bit freaky when you can be sure there are probably a load of drunk drivers on the roads.

Mum and Dad enjoyed their last week of sunshine and in fact the day they left the temp dropped to under 20 and it has rained every day since then. I shouldn’t complain, we desperately need it, and now it is beautiful and sunny again I’ve done nothing but whine about it being too hot.

So the countdown is on until we fly home, 9 weeks to go!