Tuesday, 6 December 2011

December Daily - Day Three and Day Four

This weekend was our Christmas with the Hodson side of the family...my sister goes to New York on 22nd December for 10 days so it's a bit different to normal when we all congregate in Surrey at some point in the festive season.
My sister Ellie, husband Ollie and Freddie arrived here mid morning on Saturday. I had been up and out at Tesco's by 6.30am which was a good move - well stocked shelves and tills were open which they aren't always when you shop at night. We weren't going for a big Christmas dinner - just a Mexican spread on Saturday night and Jamie Oliver's beef stew (from Jamie's Dinners) on Sunday lunchtime. So the shopping was minimal.
Chelsea were playing Newcastle - couldn't have planned it better if we'd tried! So the boys went off to the pub and a few pints and Ellie and I took the kids to Barleylands for a wander. They had a baby market running with cakes, Santa and face painting so that went down well!
Heading back home in time for another feed for Isaac and the arrival of my mum who got here just in time for Matilda's tea and all the kids being bathed and sorted for bed. Once that was done we could get on with the serious business of the evening - food, Secret Santa pressies and Lee Evans on DVD!

It was a great night, relaxed and fun, and a great start to the festive season! In fact, I thought we should pretend that one of us was going away for Christmas every year as an excuse to get the party started!!
Sunday was a busy one for Andy especially, after a week of late nights with essay writing, labyrinth prep and festivities last night. He headed off to church around 8.30am and the rest of us relaxed at home, walking into Shenfield later on for a coffee before returning home to have lunch by which time Andy was back too. We exchanged gifts for the kids - Matilda was very pleased with a Sylvanian families car and Meerkat family as well as a new dressing gown. Freddie was all kitted out for his trip to NYC with a snow suit and an etch a sketch to keep him occupied on the plane!

As always with Christmas, it was over too soon - but looking forward to hearing all about Ellie and Ollie and Freddie's travels in NYC and hoping they get some snow and get to ice skate at Rockerfeller!

Friday, 2 December 2011

December Daily - Day Two

My day started at 6am when Isaac woke for his feed...the little button is gradually dropping the night feed by sleeping longer after the dream feed at 11pm...normality is resuming!
Matilda had a non-uniform day at school today and instead of paying for the privilege, her class had to take in sweets for the school Christmas Bazaar next Saturday (tangent thought - why is it called a Bazaar at Christmas but a Fete or Fair in the Summer?)
Andy had been up late finishing his first essay for College and so we slightly slept in...but Matilda (and Andy) made it to school on time, dressed, washed and looking presentable! I, however, didn't get moving quite as quickly - we had a visitor, Heather which was lovely and after catching up with her, Andy wanted my help with preparation for the Labyrinth this weekend. So it was after 12 by the time I got dressed...
The afternoon has ticked by with the school pick up, Andy heading off to set up the Labyrinth and tea, bath and bed routine. Now that both children are in bed, I'm starting to get ready for our visitors this weekend. Clearing the spare room of Christmas stuff, gifts and what not, wrapping some gifts as we'll do an exchange on Saturday night and putting up a few decorations. We usually wait until after Matilda's birthday to do the big 'decorate' of the house but since this will be our Christmas weekend with my side of the family, I have hung a wreath, some fairy lights and we will get some candles going tomorrow evening.
I'm going to do some cooking prep, make some gingerbread and depending on what time Andy gets back later also head out to a 24 hour supermarket. Much easier than with the kids in tow!
Isaac has been almost laughing today - as expected, this is directed mostly at Matilda! She was sitting on the low windowsill in the lounge watching TV and swinging her legs and he let out a loud but very happy gurgle...it's coming!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

December Daily - Day One

In the nearly 10 years that we've been married, Andy and I have cultivated our own series of Advent traditions, which are almost more important than the Christmas traditions which are kinda like everyone else's.
Having an Advent Candle and an Advent Calendar with Bible passage or reflection as part of that time together.
Eating a meal together every night.
Giving thanks in different ways - sometimes through giving donations or sending special gifts to people or acts of service (Andy was Santy one year at my work Christmas 'do!)
Last year we added Andrew Peterson's 'Behold the Lamb' album to that list which I had discovered on my trip to Tennessee in September. It has been played a few times already!

When Matilda came along 5 years ago, those fluid traditions gained a different and clearer perspective and now with Isaac on the scene, we're excited to have this first Advent together as a family of 4.
Last year I attempted, with some success, to blog daily on what was happening, our reflections on the season and telling some of the funny and important stories of our day. You can read them starting here or click on advent or december daily labels to the right.

So today - December 1st. Our niece Ellie's 10th birthday first of all - can't believe she is 10! She was just a babe in arms when we got married...time has flown and she's a wonderful, clever, kind girl and a very talented gymnast - tipped for Olympics in the future!

The day started well as Isaac slept til 6am - he's gradually stretching the time he sleeps in the night and currently has a dream feed at 11pm and wakes for an early morning feed, sometime between 5.30 and 6.30am.
Matilda was very excited about the first pocket in her Advent Calendar - made for us in 2006 by my aunt when she was just born. Today she got a shiny chocolate coin and a tag saying 'Family prayers and thanks with candles'. That will be our activity over dinner this evening.

After Matilda had been taken to school and Andy had taken to his study, I got on with some preparations for Smith Lane Hodson Christmas weekend. My sister Ellie, husband Ollie and their son Freddie are going to New York this Christmas so we're all getting together at our house this weekend to exchange gifts and have some family time together with my parents too. It's a collective effort with us all bringing different elements of the meals so it should be fun.
Andy had a break from essay writing and came with me on a visit to our local butchers, just a short walk away, to get meat for the weekend and we enjoyed some fresh air with Isaac in the papoose on Andy's front.
Matilda had a play in the park after school with her friends Oscar and Alfie.
Pray and give thanks night with the Advent candle at the dinner table went well, with Matilda wanting to pray first and praying for children who don't have a nice school to go to or have enough food.
Tonight, I've been helping Andy with ideas and planning for an Advent Labyrinth he's setting up over the weekend while he has been squirrelled away Essay writing - something about Athanasius!