29 December 2009

On Christmas We...

...picked up Nan and Grandad from the airport on Christmas Eve. Oh the excitement!

...we had a visit from Santa Claus. Our kids think they must be extra good because Santa visits them in person every Christmas Eve with special new PJ's for them to wear.

This year my dad did the honours and the kids were amazed to see Daddy in the same room as the Big Guy. Usually daddy is working or on the toilet for a really long time while Santa visits. Poor Scraggy though... he screamed in fright and his little body trembled at my dad's white wooly beard and booming hohoho. Still not a fan of the Guy in the Red Suit.
...we hung our stockings...

...read the Christmas story...

...and enjoyed watching the kids dance around while we sang some (off-key) Christmas Carols...

...we sang happy birthday to Nan and she blew out her candles. My sister and her family brought over a cake. The kids went to bed after leaving out cookies and milk. The conversation turned to politics. So not festive. So not what I had wanted for Christmas Eve. I spat the dummy and hid in the kitchen til I had calmed down and they promised not to talk politics any more on Christmas Eve. I hate politics (even more so on Christmas).

The conversation recovered and Christmas Eve was Saved.

...we woke up early the next morning (of course) and opened the pile under the tree. The kids were excited that the milk had been drunk and the cookies eaten.

Scrag loved his Carpark. Dash got his Dino poster and Miss Fab took delivery of the Cash Register. Among way too many other things. (By the way, in our house, Santa gets credit for the new PJ's and the Christmas Stockings. We get the glory, thanks and kisses for the rest. Which is as it should be after all our hard work.)

...we left a mess of Christmas Wrapping Paper all over the lounge and took Mr G out to the garage for The Big Reveal of his Christmas Surprise... his very own Man Cave.

...complete with artworks by each of the kids...

...a dart board, football table (fooseball) and plenty of tinsel.

...photos of him and his dad; re-organised tools and camping gear. Needless to say he loves it.

The rest of the day was spent doing the usual: eating, drinking, talking, and relaxing with our family... with the odd competitive game of garden football, fooseball and darts thrown in. There was also some hammock time for some of us.

Poor Miss Fab came down with a tummy bug and spent Christmas afternoon puking and sleeping. Poor her.

Apart from that it was a lovely relaxed family day, made so special by having my parents there to celebrate with us for the first time ever. Memorable Christmas.

Oh. And Mr G got me THIS:

An easel & blank canvases. For my sunroom. All ready and waiting for me to create some works of Art. I am spoilt.

How was your Christmas??
27 December 2009

Some True Things

Hey Friends. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas. When I get a chance I'll post some photos of our Festive Day (and reveal Mr G's Surprise)...
In the meantime I thought I'd share with you this rather true and inspiring email someone sent me...

Life Lessons
by Regina Brett in "The Plain Dealer", Cleveland, Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:
  1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step
  3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone
  4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch
  5. Pay off your credit cards every month
  6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree
  7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone
  8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it
  9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile
  11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present
  12. It's OK to let your children see you cry
  13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye
  16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind
  17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful
  18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger
  19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else
  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special
  22. Over prepare, then go with the flow
  23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple
  24. The most important sex organ is the brain
  25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you
  26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
  27. Always choose life
  28. Forgive everyone everything
  29. What other people think of you is none of your business
  30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time
  31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change
  32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does
  33. Believe in miracles
  34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do
  35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now
  36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young
  37. Your children get only one childhood
  38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved
  39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere
  40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back
  41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need
  42. The best is yet to come
  43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up
  44. Yield
  45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift..."

Luv 'n' Blessings from Simone

Photos from Google Images
22 December 2009

Loving... NOT Loving... The Final Countdown

Firstly I am loving finding these cute photos on my camera... obviously a certain Miss has been helping herself to it when I'm not looking...

NOT loving that my life is so full that I have no time to blog. Really. No time!  (But I am also LOVING that my life is so full that I  have no time to blog...)
As I write this there is two days remaining in the Countdown to Christmas Eve. OOOooohhh!!! Exciting! Two days til mum and dad arrive for Christmas. Two days to get all my baking and cleaning and wrapping done (oops)... two days til we can hang the stockings!

So many secret surprises hidden away; so much laughter and fun waiting to be had... (so much good food to look forward to)...

LOVING what the kids come out with...

I watched Dash through a crack in his door playing football with his soccer cards. He picks the players and lines up the teams ... (you know, like at an All Black Rugby Match).
"Are you doing the Formation, son?" I ask, trying to sound knowledgeable.
"No mum, it's the National Anthem!" he replies... then I hear:
"Geordie Boys, we are here, wo-o-oh, wo-o-oh! Geordie boys we are here! Slap wor lass with a Christmas tree..."!!!

Another time I'm on the phone to my Aunty and Princess comes up, being annoying and trying to get my attention.
"Luv, I'm on the phone! Whaddya want??"
"Mummy, It's my tummy. I think it's having a growth spurt..."
Again, Priceless.

LOVING the Secret Plans Afoot

Me and the kids have been secretly working on a project for Daddy's Christmas in the garage. I can't say what it is (in case Mr G reads this) but let's just say it has come together rather well.

And best of all the kids have pitched in and we've had some golden moments together. There we are painting and sweeping way, and Princess starts singing this song: "I love my mummy so much...! She is so wonderful... I love her so much..." etc. Mr G was in his outside office and could hear her singing. He said it nearly brought tears to his eyes.

Then there was Dash, my practical hero. After I kept bumping my head on a stupid chair hanging in an awkward place from the ceiling (?!) he handed me a hard hat.
"Here mum, wear this!"
But did I keep it on??? Well, after a few more things fell on my noggin and I tried hard not to say some naughty words, Dash stated in an I-told-you-so manner: "Mum, I told you to keep your helmet on!"
Yep, you did. Can't argue with you there, son!

LOVING Church Kids' Christmas Play
Totally loving seeing my two up on stage. OK, not starring roles (watch this space in years to come) but very cute, dontcha think?? (Photos by Amy)

LOVING the Kids Christmas After-Party

Our awesome inspirational lovely Helen decided that the kiddies needed a good party after all their hard work. Helen is the mum of our senior Pastor, and her hubby is also the leader of our national church. She travels and speaks internationally; she's a senior leader, she's worked hard in ministry for years and is well known and respected. If anyone could be expected to sit on their laurels and not get their hands dirty it'd be her. But no. This fabulous woman emailed me and Gail and asked would we make some cupcakes to help her with the party she was planning for the kids, so the leaders could have a break. Did somebody say party???

Well, you can imagine the ideas flowed and we put together a pretty great bash for the kids, complete with Mr G as Santa (of course). Of course I am loving a party. I am loving working on it with my friend Gail and my inspiration Helen... and particularly I am LOVING Helen Monk. Talk about Christmas Spirit?? This lady is Christmas the whole year round. I am LOVING that.

Loving Small Miracles

On Sunday night I stood in Church in the front row, right in front of the stage. Big deal, you may say, if you haven't been reading me for long. Yep, it is a big deal. This is me, who couldn't even stand in the foyer once the music started just a few months ago. This is the girl who had to hide in Starbucks every Sunday to avoid the noise and crowds causing a major panic attack. As I stood there I was so aware of what a miracle this was.

The band was playing, my kids were jumping up and down, Mr G caught my eye across the kids heads and he grinned at me when he saw me smiling, from ear to ear. That's my own little Christmas miracle. Little maybe to you. But BIG for me. I am LOVING how God answers our prayers. Not always right away. Not always the immediate answer we want. But in His time, in His way.
You can read about my journey on this here.

I am also rejoicing for my friend who is having a miracle Christmas this year.  Just two Christmases ago she had to hide away from people; the pain of seeing babies was just too much to bear after so many heartaches and disappointments; seven long years worth of trying for a baby. But this Christmas??? This Christmas she is laughing, smiling, singing! She has a little boy, a precious adopted son, now one year old. And she is also 20 weeks pregnant. Miracle of miracles. I am laughing and singing with her. I am LOVING that God has made a way for her when it seemed so hopeless such a short time ago.

Loving The Unexpected...

I am also LOVING that miracles usually come to us in ways that are small and unexpected. Like Jesus. People had waited for Messiah for thousands of years. They expected a King in a Palace. Nobody would have imagined the Prince of Peace would be born in a stable!
Then the angels announce world peace. OK, so what - he's going to raise an army? Take political office? Assume the throne? No, nothing like that. And the people he gave the task of spreading the Message? Fishermen and such. So where is the Peace?? Why are we still looking for it? I was asking myself this question the other week. What were those angels on about??
Our Pastor Sam spoke about it last Sunday and a lightbulb went on for me: His Peace is Crazy Peace. Not what you'd expect... the kind that keeps your heart at rest when you are facing terrible circumstances; the kind that keeps you trusting when everything tells you to give up. This is the Peace he promised to give us.
Miracles rarely come to us fully formed. Usually it's just a tiny seed.

NOT loving so much... My list of things still to do
  • Finish wrapping presents tonight!!!!
  • Make Christmas Cookies
  • Make Jamie Olivers' Mince Pies (mmmmm)
  • Make Rocky Road
  • Glaze the Ham, Defrost the Turkey, Make the trifle
  • Hang up the Christmas cards (oops)
  • Clean the house from top to bottom

Hmmmm, so I might be pretty busy til Christmas Eve, and you know it's all downhill from there!

In the meantime I am LOVING these two cool-as fun Christmas links
You HAVE to click on this gorgeous link:  http://portablenorthpole.tv/
Fill in the details and the cutest most lovely old Santa will send a video message to your kiddies. Mine sat there with eyes wide and mouths hanging open as they watched theirs! Enjoy!

And if you're really really at a loose end with all your presents wrapped and baking done... have a go at this (hilarious)... http://www.elfyourself.com/

What are you loving/not loving about the Final Countdown??