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Sunday, December 05, 2010
In recent years we have managed to get our Christmas preparations done
relatively early. I was keen to do the same again this year – but with
general busyness we got to the start of December without having started.
Looking at the events scheduled in the coming weeks, I was starting to
feel a little anxious about finding the time to get things done.
We hit the shops on Thursday, again on Saturday, and again for a short
period today, and thankfully got almost the entire Christmas list
covered. There are 2 or 3 more items to pick up, but we know what we
need for those, so it won’t be difficult.
Aside those couple presents, now all that is required is to put up the
tree and decorations, and pick up extra food (which we have already
started). I am feeling a whole lot more relaxed. (Oh, and the
wrapping. Lots and lots of wrapping...)
Jack doesn’t have any really “big” presents to unwrap from us this year
- so it will be interesting to see if he acknowledges that. However we
have picked up a couple things he wouldn’t have thought of for himself,
and I hope / suspect he’ll really like. If not, we have gotten him
several of the items he had specifically asked for to cover for any
Posted by Doug at 11:14 PM
Monday, December 06, 2010
Got bad news from our baby sitter tonight - she is moving to Queensland
in a month. While we don’t use her that often (tonight was the fourth
time this year for example), it was comforting knowing we had the
option, and that we and the kids were so happy with her.
She has given us the contact details of another girl at the same
Childcare Centre who has offered to take over most of her clients. We
will have to give her a try.
Had a meal out with friends tonight, which was nice.
Posted by Doug at 10:36 PM
Sunday, December 12, 2010
We spent a couple nights at Phillip Island this week – one of Al’s
wishes for this year being to go away for a couple nights as a family.
The accommodation was nice enough – although let itself down in a couple
areas with some rather obvious cost and time savings in how they
operated. It did have a good playground that the kids made the most of,
and Al managed to get the kids into the pool on the first afternoon
before the weather turned cold. (Until the Kamikaze duck appeared, doing
well targeted poo dive bombs and swooping, which saw Jack saying we
should never go away to a place with a pool again.)
We paid extra for a three bedroom unit, which was money well spent, and
allowed all of us to sleep better (than if Grace was sharing with either
Jack or us). We visited Seal Rocks, Anzac and Woolamai beaches, the
Chocolate Factory, Amaze’n Things, the National Vietnam Veterans Museum
(did that one by myself), dropped in to see the display at the Penguin
Parade (to find it closed for upgrades), walked around a Wildlife Park
and played some Mini Golf. For the most part the attractions seemed
expensive, worn out, and in need of some major rejuvenation. Neither
child seemed to mind what was in front of them – they were more just
into the notion of exploring.
Grace was a little terror. She insisted on walking everywhere, and threw
screaming tantrums whenever we picked her up or tried to steer her away
from something she had her eye on. Swinging punches, pulling hair, and
trying to bite and scratch - I lost count of the number of times Grace
ended up a being awkwardly carried under arm as she screamed blue
murder. She was also prone to sprinting off the moment the opportunity
arise – and it took Al a worryingly long distance before she could catch
Jack was ok – although obviously was out of his element, so more prone
to tears, and was talking so incessantly it drove us around the bend on
I think we managed to yell at the kids about three times more than
normal. In the worst of cases, at the point in time you regretted the
volume or tone, we would suddenly realise someone unnoticed was actually
in ear shot. (Like the gardener at the accommodation, or a Ranger at the
Penguins, or the tourists at Seal Rock…) Al also resorted on several
occasions to threatening the kids with “If you want your Dad to keep
taking you to interesting places, you better start behaving”.
Having said that, all told it wasn’t quite as bad as I had expected. We
managed to find some of the nicest Chinese food we have eaten in a long
time, Al and I got time to watch some Grand Design DVD’s in the evenings
(helped by no 3G coverage in the area, so no online games for me), and
we were all still talking to each other when we got home.
Grace probably needs another year or more before we are in a position to
actually have a family holiday which could be classified as an actual
Grace under her own steam
Jack at Seal Rocks
Difficult to get family photos, Grace hated being picked up
Posted by Doug at 12:54 PM
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Jack helped put up the Christmas tree this afternoon. I generally only
leave it up for a couple of weeks, a traditional Al doesn't especially
agree with. This year however she might insist it come down sooner -
given Grace's keen interest in it, and the effort required to keep her
Posted by Doug at 7:02 PM
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
It is Jack’s last proper day at his Childcare centre today. He returns
for three weeks next year for their holiday program, but that is held in
a different part of the building, and only about a quarter of the group
will be involved.
A couple of kids are going to the same primary school, and we will
separately keep in touch with a couple of his other best friends, but
today will probably be the last time he will see many of the kids he has
become familiar with over the last four to five years.
I noticed a number of kids talking about it when I dropped him off this
morning, and we can tell by how antsy and anxious Jack has been over the
last week that he is aware of this as well, although not specifically
remarking on it. One of these friendships is relatively new – and to
our pleasant surprise, was reported by his main carer as being
instigated and formed by the efforts of Jack. There was a very sad
little girl when Jack left the room last night, who was waiting at the
door and excitedly said hello to Jack when he arrived this morning. The
pair of them have spent a lot of time playing recently, and his
connection with Holly will likely be another thing lost with his move to
While a few years ago we could not have hoped for Jack to be as well
prepared for School as he is now, it will be with more than a touch of
sadness that we see him move out of the relative safety and comfort of
his childcare, which has helped him develop his social skills and
confidence so much over his stay there.
Posted by Doug at 11:13 AM
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Went out to the shops this morning with Jack to pick up something small
for Al for Christmas. On the way Jack remarked that he had already been
thinking about what to buy, and he thought a Tiffany Ring would be
exactly what Mum would want. (The carer in his childcare room once
remarked that she would love one, and Jack has never forgotten it.) I
indicated that Mum would probably love one, but that it would be far too
expensive. Jack thought for a second, and then remarked "Then we can buy
her a bag of lollies. Mum looooves lollies."
Posted by Doug at 12:09 AM
Friday, December 24, 2010
Jack has asked both of us a number of questions over the last week which
would suggest either someone at his childcare insinuated Santa does not
exist, or his own complex reasoning is already struggling with the logic
On one example he even asked a leading question – how does Santa manage
to visit every single child in the world? When we remarked he used
Magic, Jack retorted that we had previously said magic did not exist.
That brought a smile to my face. I told Jack that the sort of magic he
sees in computer games and on TV doesn’t really exist, but there are
some miracles and special things that happen in life that are like magic.
He also asked a number of times how Santa really knows if you have been
good or bad. Last year Al told him the ants help out by keeping an eye
on all the kids and reporting back to Santa. My response was that Santa
couldn’t be everywhere at once, so he has lots of helpers (the same
explanation I have given regards the different Santa’s in the shops.)
In the end however his excitement at the thought of Santa overwhelmed
whatever logical was running through his mind, and he has let himself
believe this year.
Posted by Doug at 11:30 PM
Monday, December 27, 2010
We had an excellent Christmas this year. The effort to prepare was
balanced well, so that it did not become a focus of the day. We all
liked our gifts, and we had a relaxed and enjoyable lunch with Aunty Lis
and Pa Q. Al was also really pleased to have got the opportunity to
spend plenty of quality time with the kids, who both behaved well all
day. All told, it one of the best we have had.
The kids opening their presents on Christmas morning.
Grace with her baby doll, a gift from Grandma Q
Posted by Doug at 11:10 AM