What time did Christmas Day start in your household?
Before 6 o'clock we had Christmas stockings to start our day
While I made fresh biscuits for the neighbours, family
and our own munchies, whaiāipo and the three
bigger kids spent the bulk of their day
doing what they enjoy most
Although I don't tend to include these kinds of photos on the school blog,
I simply can't resist sharing this one of whaiāipo because it
epitomises (for me at least) how happy whaiāipo is nowadays.
Nana Nancy came over from Tauranga just after midday
bearing more gifts
The children set about filling the pool whilewhaiāipo worked
at the BBQ and was able to watch them go about their
labours in complete safety
I feel truly blessed to have a happy household filled with love and laughter.
I can say with hand on heart that this has been the best Christmas I have had in a very, very long time!!!
There's a load of things I've missed out but these photos are merely highlights of a special day; centred around Christ's birth, sharing with our village neighbours
and building strong bonds as a family.
We had a truly fantastic Christmas Day.
This was confirmed when I overheard dialogue between father and daughter as they were walking upstairs to bed on Christmas night. Here's but a very short snippet of their conversation:
Whaiāipo: Wasn't it a wonderful day today?
Tamāhine 1: Oh yes, it was the best daddy! I wish we could start the day all over again!
I'm trying to take my mind off watching the clock, as we wait for whaiāipo to finish work. So what better way to while away the time than have a chat to y'all ...
The children and I are a little bit in limbo this afternoon. I have a lot of things I want to get on with, eg baking more cookies and prepping for our Christmas dinner but we're waiting for whaiāipo to return home from work.
Q: Why don't I just venture to the supermarket on my own?
A: Because whaiāipo holds the purse today. He's (hopefully) buying the necessary connections for the pump for our swimming pool so he had to take the money cards.
Not only that but I have to make a very big decision. Will our Christmas dinner be a roast, BBQ or hangi? ... Decisions, decisions ....
Nothing like leaving things to the 11th hour! lol
At least we've completed our Christmas gift-shopping!
Once there's some presents under the tree,
it really feels like Christmas is-a-cumin' doesn't it?
Have you completed your gift-shopping?
I don't know if you're anything like me, but when it comes to finding Christmas gifts (because I can't claim to be like this all the time, lol) I will do a day's reccy before I make my final purchase. At this time of the year the compulsion to buy can quite often create blinders on people and suddenly they buy everything they see before them and as much as I try to avoid the commercialism of Christmas, to remain focussed on the true picture of what the events of Advent, Christmas etc means, I am quite sure I could quite easily be swept up in the same wave of buy, buy, buy if I allowed myself.
My reccy has now become something of a tradition in itself. It may have sprung from the fact that for many years we were on the bones of our backsides, so finding gifts that were cheap yet looked like we'd spent hundreds of dollars was absolutely crucial. (Okay, so hundreds of dollars is a gross exaggeration! But saying hundreds of dollars sounds better than saying tens of dollars which was the budget in those days!!) Whatever the reason, I'm just glad I still practice it because at this time of year when you try to be cautious and not overspend, too many temptations are bombarding you at the entrance of each store. So before you even make it inside they're coaxing you to grab unnecessary, unplanned gifts. By doing my reccy, I can have a good look around without fear of impulse buying. Because I'm not armed with cash, credit cards or EFTPOS cards, I manage to stay focussed, head directly to the aisle I want to locate certain goods, check the price, write it down in my little notebook, make mental notes of anything that has stood out and then head to the next store.
Luckily we don't have huge malls in Rotorua. I'm sure temptations would be harder again in the likes of big, bright, well-stocked malls. We stick to the Warehouse (aka the Ware Whare), the $2 shop and second-hand stores - especially Save-Mart, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the Urban Ore (our Recycling Cente store).
Yes, if there's one place I enjoy going into, it's Urban Ore. I feel good taking my plastics, paper etc to the recycling centre and then popping into Urban Ore because you just never know what you'll find.
Last week for example we scored a little bicycle for only $4.00. Other than a puncture to the back tyre it looks good eh? -->
Two years ago (or has it been three years now? hmm, I can't remember!) we paid $3.00 for this kiddy bike which is still going strong two kids later. About a month ago we put the trainers on for two year old tamāhine 2 and she loves it.
This year whaiāipo and I upped our budget - not by a huge amount, but we increased it so we could buy food for our Christmas dinner. This is the first year we won't be relying on our parents to feed us and it feels like we've won Lotto. To clarify what I mean by that statement, we are excited to think we can afford to spend x-amount of dollars on our family's Christmas dinner. I was not wishing to sound like we are celebrating getting away from extended family. Far from it actually. I've never had a Christmas without my family, so this is going to mark a major turning point in my life. However, I am looking forward to celebrating in our own home for the first time ever; just whaiāipo, me and our five beautiful children.
At the minute we're trying to decide whether to follow the traditional roast, have a BBQ, or put down a hangi. It's a very important decision to make because I'm very much wanting to devise our own family traditions and it's a hard one to decide how we celebrate this year. As much as I'd love to have a roast, I have to say, in all honesty, if the weather is anything like it is today, the last thing I will want to do is stand in a hot kitchen cooking over a hot stove etc. But I can't deny the fact that a delicious roast dinner with all the trimmings is always very welcoming and festive indeed. Hmm, decisions, decisions ...
What are we up to? Well, at the moment I would call it a term break. I planned this period earlier in the year because I wanted to have time before Christmas to allow the children and I to not only (a) enjoy the summer sunshine; (b) prepare for upcoming festivities; but also (c) have time to appreciate and give thanks for our whānau.
Funnily enough, I haven't actually been completely blog-free since I last posted. In fact it may surprise you to learn that I've created a new blog for the children's Correspondence School. Thanks to my dear friend we discovered we were eligible to take part in an Early Childhood programme through the Correspondence School of New Zealand.
Now, although I've known about the Correspondence School for donkeys years - I've even taken a few of their papers myself many, many, MANY, years ago - it wasn't until recently that I learned they provided the Early Childhood Service.
Creating the new blog has been loads of fun and I invite you to follow the link to join us on our latest adventure. The layout is simplistic to keep it as crisp and fresh as the apples template indicates, lol.
What are your plans for Christmas?
More than likely we won't be heading away from Rotorua for the holidays, but that's fine by us. We will have plenty to keep us entertained right here at home. The biggest thing our family will be enjoying is the pool which we purchased near enough a year ago now. Because it was second-hand it wasn't too much of a shock to find the liner couldn't handle the transfer. By the end of last summer the liner had a couple of tears in it so we decided to save up to buy a new one.
Whaiāipo and the children made a great job of installing the new liner on the weekend didn't they? The installation won't be 100% complete until this weekend as whaiāipo needs to purchase a couple of bits 'n' bobs but we did allow the children to have at least a half hour's splash on Sunday. Considering they put in a lot of effort, we couldn't very well deny them the pleasure now could we?
This year we have been able to do some of the most simplest of things which were previously out of our reach (eg get the public library! buy coloured paper and coloured ink cartridges! Buy groceries on a weekly basis! Pay bills on time! ... there's a long list folks but I think y'all get the drift?!)
I especially give thanks for our (in the whole sense of the word) "beautiful" children. They have brought us great pleasure and I feel honoured to be their mother.
I am filled with warm fuzzies knowing that we will be continue to be better off with each passing year.
Yes, a lot of my December has been spent simply kicking back with thewhānau and recharging the batteries. I have taken stock of what 2008 has meant to me. To sum it up in one word?
Well, if I don't post before Christmas let me pass on my best wishes to you and your family now for a safe, joyous and very blessed Christmas.
had two birthdays in the space of six days. Tama 2 turned four and tama 3 turned one;
emptied the pool in preparation of a new liner which we hope to receive by mid-week next week - or failing that by the end of the working week next week ... fingers crossed.
been busy cleaning around the property in preparation for family coming this weekend as well as being tidy for the holiday season;
dressed the Christmas tree, put up decorations and pulled out the few Christmas music CDs we have. Here's a few of our home-made crafts ...
Granted, snowflakes aren't exactly a Southern Hempishere feature at Christmas time,
but they do look pretty for decorating!
The kids helped me to fold the snowflakes and I cut the different patterns.
For a novice, I think I did pretty well?! lol
received school work for tamāhine 1 and tama 2 which they are enjoying very much;
travelled out of town for the first time in months as a family ... okay, it was only to pick up something work-related for whaiāipo, but it was an opportunity for us all to venture out together. I can't resist adding a photo of our family car ... we must've looked so funny travelling 100kmph ... all we needed were flames coming out the back of the cylinder to look like we were flying or something, lol;
I think I'll keep the post short and sweet today because our week has been full of so many positives and aroha that I simply don't need to say much more . I feel blessed indeed that the Lord has kept us together as a strong, loving family. The events of the past are now history.