Sunday, 9 February 2014

Christmas 2013

It was our second Christmas here in Adelaide with my family but it was the first one in our own house so there were no more excuses ...

Our three-level house.  Christmas on top - New Years on the bottom!

 I had absolutely no excuses for not sending Christmas cards this year - so I did - and was delighted to receive some as well.  My Christmas list is somewhere in Ontario so some names didn't make it ! … and even if you did make it to my 2013 list let me mention that the 2014 list will be significantly shorter (non-existent?) …. unless Australia Post reduces the price of their stamps by 90% instead of increasing it, as was the case for 2013.

Last year after arriving at the end of November we were still in dreamland!  This year - no excuses!!  So we dedicated a whole day to shop (we can do that - we are retired now!) something I haven't done in a long, long time.  We agonized (and agonized) over the gifts and i realized how much I miss our store! … and even more so after paying $39 to park the car for the day!!  We do secret Santa for the adults, thank goodness so not so many gifts to buy - but even at that I had some definite misses.

This gift was a hit … sort of!

Since the start of this millennium I've had an excuse for no Christmas baking.  Last year we were in our van so still nothing.  THIS year -  no excuses!!  After I asked Jasper if  he wanted to make a ginger-cookie/Santa decorations for his mum and he cried (!!) I decided to make my first-ever gingerbread house!  I've helped Jane (Keogh) with icing for her daughter Emily's scholarship fundraising houses (well I dump spoonfuls into a bag!)  but I've never actually made one of my own.  To make sure it wasn't a disaster I bought the kit from IKEA!    

On the next babysitting day Jess & James came over to help Jasper decorate it.   All we had to do was MAKE the house so they could start!! Well, I made the icing according to the IKEA instructions but of course it wouldn't come out of the stupid bag and Joseph couldn't get the stupid walls & roof to stay together and then the kids were bored and then when the icing did come out it exploded and there was icing all over the table and floor and  then the kiddies started to eat the candies (which I must admit were pretty-darned good - from IKEA) and so after an hour- we scrapped it!  

I was pretty shattered by this grandmother-failure, so one night all alone I took the icing that had thickened to almost cement and slapped (and I mean slapped) it onto the walls and roof and it stuck!  So then I shoved (and I mean shoved) the candies randomly over the roof and around the house. I refused to make more icing so it really was the most ugly gingerbread house ever and I'm sorry I don't have a picture to prove it - just this one after Jess & James had the pleasure of smashing it on New Years.

Smashed gingerbread house - you'll just have to try and imagine how ugly it was!

                           Christmas Eve supper!

Since the start of this millennium we've had an excuse for not hosting the Christmas meal.  We even resorted to Thyme and Again dinner for a few years!  Last year we were in our van so we still had an excuse.  THIS year - we had absolutely NO excuse!

On the second level - getting ready to go UP!!
 From the moment we first saw this house we decided Christmas meal for the family would be "up on the deck" - the THIRD floor deck.  It's beautiful up there - 360 views and a breeze most times (sometimes gale-force!) and it's only 24 stairs UP from the kitchen so with a forecast of 34c -  that's where 14 of us were headed for our big Christmas meal (lunch) 

Sadly, after the100th time going up and down those 24 stairs I started to hate that deck. There is a sink up there and space for a fridge and (i guess) a stove/microwave but we weren't there yet. We already had plates and cutlery up there - but even if you cooked up there - I can't see how to avoid those crazy stairs.   - And even if you have your darling children to call upon, and even if you can convince (threaten) your nieces and nephews to make a few trips - seriously - it is a lot of stairs!!  

  Regardless of the extra exercise and trauma of cooking for 14 (I know - only 14!!)  it turned out to be a lovely lunch and everybody was happy and we enjoyed our special little crazy place to get together!!!

Resting after lunch - getting ready for supper - back UP the stairs!


I have never (ever) been shopping on Boxing Day and after all those years of getting up early the day after Christmas Day ( still exhausted from the weeks before) to run a SALE  - I'm pretty sure we vowed we never (ever) would.  BUT … poor Cassia lives a million miles from shopping-worthy stores and there was precious little time she was here visiting - so what is a mother to do but get up early and go shopping ... on BOXING DAY!!    We should have done a little homework because, except for the people lining up, we were almost alone on the mall (only downtown stores were open) because the stores didn't open until - 11.00 a.m.!!  urgh! Oh well a few opened at 10 and Cassia did find some nice things and by the time we were ready to leave the crowds had increased to the point where it was almost impossible to cross to the other side of the mall.  

Trying to get from here ...
… over to here!

Pablo is here!

So that was a first (and probably a last)  … but a crazy fun thing to do together as well.
After a nightmare in customs (traces of drugs on his brand-new carry-on luggage!!) finally he is here!

NEW YEARS!! - and with no excuses left  for not hosting New Years Eve - it was yet another party !! 

 This time the party was  on ground level - about 18 stairs DOWN from the kitchen!!  Mum had a minor car accident that resulted in a broken tibia and sternum and needed a brace on her leg that meant she couldn't climb the stairs.  

So we ate outside - right on the dock of the river. 

Sister Jennifer received this as a gift from her employer …  and she doesn't eat lobster1

It was the most spectacular evening (weather-wise) and in spite of the million trips up and down those crazy  stairs it was lots of fun.  Especially the fireworks at midnight and the especially the wedding guests  that came to the dock to watch the fireworks and especially those that eventually jumped in the river! 

This was the father of the bride!!

Cassia & Pablo left right after New Years and drove their "new" (second-hand) little car that was stuffed to the gills, over the nullabor back to Esperance (2.5 days).  Luckily the weather wasn't too hot and the winds were slight so it was a good trip.  

So they are settling into life back together again and with no visitors and no more parties, life for us, here on the dock is back to normal!

Beautiful Christmas gift to ourselves!

My Christmas gift from Joseph ...

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