I think having some big changes going on this year has also made me a bit unsettled, so the lead up to Christmas felt really hard this year. I don't dread it as much as I used to, but I just wish I could skip the whole Christmas season as it's such a hard time of the year now.
It's also hard because the Christmas season just seems to get longer and longer as Christmas things start appearing in shops earlier. It's not just Christmas day that is hard, but the whole month of December and even before that. We don't go to the lighting of the Christmas tree in town anymore, but we did stop to get a photo in front of the tree while we were in town one day.
It was then that I realised we hadn't been told that we were not having our usual meeting that week, but were going out Christmas caroling (obviously because no one would've turned up! ;). I am not a fan of Christmas caroling - I like singing, but feel like a total idiot standing at someone's front door singing, so I joked that I needed to get home to the boys. Everyone at ward council are lots of fun though, so I decided to just go along and make the most of it, as we were just going to a few of the older, single members of our congregation.
I was lucky to be in the 'fun car' with my cousin Tim, Luke and our two missionaries - Elder Wade and Elder Jack.
It ended up being a really fun night, and we were lucky to get back and have treats waiting for us afterwards. I said I was happy to go caroling every fortnight if that was going to happen! ;)
Last week we went to visit our favourite Santa (other santa photos from other years can be seen here). He is such a lovely man, and looks so good. Every year he would remember Noah and as we would wheel him up to him he would say 'here comes Noah!' and would have a lovely chat to him. We were so touched when he came to Noah's funeral.
We made sure we got a selfie before the boys told him what they wanted. On the way there I asked the boys what they were going to ask for. Jalen said a girlfriend, Kobe said a trip to New York and Harri said a trip to the USA so he could go to an NBA game.
When Santa asked them what they wanted, they made their wishes a bit more realistic.
We had a Christmas party at church and at the end our friend Scott dressed up as Santa and gave out presents to all the kids. When it was Kobe's turn he went up to him and he said 'what do I have in here for you Kobe? A lump of coal!'. Kobe's body language cracked me up as he just looked at him like he didn't care.
It was lovely to catch up with Alison before Christmas to exchange gifts (sorry Alison - I swear yours is coming in the mail!) and to have a little meal together. We were all spoilt way too much, but the boys were very excited about their cool new t-shirts.
On the way home we stopped to see some Christmas lights. It was great that we were out late anyway, as it meant we didn't have to make a special trip out.
This year all of my family were away for Christmas, except for my sister Nicki and her family who came down from Melbourne. They always spend time between their two families on Christmas Day, so we decided to have our 'Christmas' together on Christmas Eve. I always love the drive out to my Mum's house at this time of the year as all the poppies are out.
It was so nice to see the kids as we hadn't caught up with them for a while. The last time (and first time) I had seen Hyrum was when we went to Sydney when I spoke at Time Out For Women, and he has grown a lot since then.
For Christmas I gave Mum a photo book that I hade made up of photos of Dad from when he was young, to just before he passed away.
All of the kids have one cousin who they buy a present for (to save having to buy 12 different presents) and the kids were very excited to get their presents.
While we were waiting for lunch to cook, we heard a fire truck as well as Christmas music. We were very excited to see that the local fire trucks were coming up Mum's road to throw out lollies to the kids for Christmas Eve. The kids waiting for the trucks to arrive.
My cousin Toni lives across the road from Mum, so their kids also came to meet the fire truck. Gorgeous Tommy just had open heart surgery and was proudly showing off his scar to me. He's such a cutie.
Jalen and Harri enjoying Grandma's hammock while they're waiting for lunch. Jalen is rocking out to 'All I want for Christmas Is You' on his phone :)
Mum and Maddi.
We had a lovely hot lunch of turkey and veggies, and pavlova and chocolate cheesecake for dessert.
Kobe was more excited about the Christmas crackers, than eating.
The weather has been so nice lately, so we enjoyed a walk and swim at the beach after lunch (or at least the kids swam).
Jay absolutely hates the water, but had to walk through water to get to the island we were going to. I was cracking up laughing as he moaned the whole time.
Nicki and Alex and their family were staying with Mum on Christmas Eve, and we were keen to be at our own house for Christmas morning, so we went back home and had some very excited boys who couldn't wait for Santa to come.
Harri was the most excited, and came into my bed in the middle of the night, asking if he could sleep with me as he knew he would get back to sleep easier in my bed. He then woke up at 5:30 because the sun was shining in my bedroom, but I was mean and told him to wait until 6am. Lucky for me he went back to sleep until 6:40 am and then jumped up to wake up Kobe and Jay.
They were all very excited to see their presents from Santa and to open their presents from me. Kobe cracked me up as he said 'I can't believe I'm on the good list Mum! I must've just made it on!'. There was never a truer word spoken by him! They were keen to try out their new Wii U games that they got.
At the end of every school year I seem to crash and get really run down, as my body knows it can finally stop running on adrenaline. Once again it's happened this year again, and I've been feeling really tired and have broken out in the dreaded cold sores (happens every holiday!). I woke up feeling sad and not well, and knew the boys were happy to play with their new games and presents, so I went back to bed for an hour or so.
I then got up and made pancakes and bacon and eggs for breakfast.
We had a lazy morning at home, and then headed out to Mum's after lunch. My cousins messaged me to let me know they were going to the beach, and I was tempted to join them, but wasn't feeling up to it, so even though I had a sleep in the morning, Mum and I had a sneaky sleep on the couch while the boys occupied themselves.
When Mum woke up she commented about how lovely it was having older kids around, as they just let you have a nap.
We had an easy tea of ham, prawns and salads and fruit salad.
After tea we headed down the beach as it was such a beautiful day.
It was 7pm when Harri, Kobe and I we went in the water, and it was so warm.