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Sunday, December 26, 2004

Bobby, his dad and Stephen are currently wrestling with a drill and a pot rack. Eventually, the pot rack will be suspended above the island in our kitchen. There has been much crawling about in ceilings (to find the beams, as the stud finder thingy seems to be confused by the pink insulation stuff) and much anxious measuring and conferring. The three of them seem to be bonding over the whole process, but I know that this is not Bobby's dream Boxing Day. He is so noble.

Christmas was lovely. Carols by candlelight at church on Christmas Eve, and then mince pies and coffee and Fra Angelica, and the kids in bed early. I was sad, putting out the carrots for the reindeer and Father Christmas's snack ... this'll be the last year that anyone in our house believes in Father Christmas. We'll have to think of some new traditions to replace the old ones ...

We were up at around 8, and the kids each opened one gift before breakfast. The present opening resumed after breakfast, and took quite some time. In Bobby's family, traditionally people opened their gifts simultaneously, so it was all a bit of mad rush, over very quickly, and the giver often couldn't really see the receiver's reaction to the gift. I'm glad that he prefers my family's way of doing things, where only one person opens a gift at a time, and everyone else watches and oohs and ahs with them.

Everyone loved their gifts. After much indecision, we gave Steve and Em cell phones this year. Part of me thought that giving phones to kids was ridiculous, but (aside from the fact that they are deliriously happy with them) being able to keep in contact with each other during the day is going to make life so much easier. Life with big kids is so hectic - there are so many activities and commitments and so much finely timed fetching and carrying - that it's hard to keep track of everyone. The cell phones should make things run a lot more smoothly. Sophie loved her gifts from us as well : she got sneaker skates and a Planet Frog. The frog habitat is one of those toys that one feels embarrassed buying - there's something a little ridiculous about getting a tadpole in the mail as opposed to just watching them in the local stream - but one which Soph will love.

Every Christmas there seems to be one toy that provides the bulk of the Christmas day fun, and this year it was this jump rope from Hearthsong. A big hit with all three kids, and with Bobby and me too.

"Lunch" was only ready at around 5pm, but since it was just the seven of us, it didn't matter. We roasted a turkey, and served it with roast potatoes, roast butternut, peas, gravy, cranberry sauce (pretty good, this was the first time I'd ever tasted fresh cranberries), and salad. And for dessert, my mom-in-law had made a fancy ice-cream Christmas pudding which was (somewhat to my surprise) absolutely delicious. Not totally appropriate to the weather, mind you. It definitely seems more of a Southern hemisphere thing. But very very yummy.

Later in the evening, once the dishwasher was running and coffee was made, we played Cranium and ate chocolate. I love the fact that all three children can now play "adult" games. And afterwards, at around 10.30, we went for a walk round the neighbourhood to look at the lights. More coffee and conversation afterwards, and we all went to bed around 2am. All in all, it was a very successful day. Low-key and relaxed and totally stress-free.

We slept late today ... I think we only woke up at around ten-ish. Everyone - adults and kids - has been playing with their gifts, and eating left-over turkey and Christmas cake. My in-laws went for a long walk after lunch, and I seized the opportunity to clean up while they were out. My mom-in-law seems to have a terribly hard time remembering that the temperature indoors is not the same as the temperature outdoors. The fact that they live in a horribly poorly insulated home may have something to do with this. At their house, the temperature inside actually is pretty much the same as the temperature outside. We froze when we were there last June - had to run out to Woolworths and buy thermal underwear and socks. Anyway, as often as I tell my mom in law - yes, it's 70 in here, but it's 48 outside - it just doesn't seem to sink in. This may explain the fact that she went for her walk in a little short-sleeved shirt and thin cardigan, and came home practically blue with cold. "But Ann, it's cold out there! But it's so warm inside I was sure we'd be fine!" She had to soak in a hot bath for ages to get warm again. Lucky we don't live where Jo does - my mom-in-law would be an ice decoration on the front lawn by now I'm sure.

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