I do try very hard to try to separate the seasons festivities from the birthday celebrations. It's certainly not easy, with all the Christmas decorations and the excitement - even the children forget it's their special day!
Joseph became a teenager this year. 13 years old and so kind, caring, funny, and helpful. He loves football and gaming - Playstation and Wii. 2010 has seen him interested an all things "punk" - so that was the theme I went with for his birthday cake. A Union Jack flag with punky penguins :)
Christmas Day was so wonderful - pure unadulterated family time. This year was a strange one. With my parents now living in Spain, we had the day to ourselves. It was actually nice to be able to run to our own routine, not having to make sure we arrive somewhere at a stated time, being able to make our own rules and start our own Christmas traditions.
We were well and truly spoilt by our friends and neighbours present wise. We are very blessed to have such kind and generous people in our lives.
I'm really pleased with ourselves this year as we didn't get carried away with the whole "my children must have the most expensive/the latest/the most/the best presents" malarkey. In the past I admit that we have fallen into the whole commercial Christmas trap. We have, on more than one occasion, spent an absolute fortune on gifts that the children love for a short time and then get buried in the dark depths of forgotten about - also known as the toy box. We have bought the latest games console or two, thinking it would make the children happy and thus better their lives. Oh dear - how sad I am to read that sentence! With the console set up in one of their bedrooms, it actually cut them off from the family, not something to celebrate on Christmas day. My children can get mind numbingly transfixed by the screen - bright lights and action scenes are much more interesting than making conversation, obviously :) This year we went down the less is more route - we did buy everything on their lists and a little bit (actually a fair amount) more, but we kept within our budget. We paid for everything with cash, no credit cards, store cards, or catalogues. We actually didn't get into debt at all this year, not for the presents or the food. I'm mightily proud of that. It's the first year ever that Christmas hasn't had to be paid off the following year. It means that we will have more money to play with in 2011 - yahoooo :) I certainly don't think that any of us feel we have gone without anything. Our fridge, freezer, and "party table" are still heaving with edible goodies!
I didn't take as many photographs as I would have liked to, and the ones that I did take were of pretty poor quality I'm afraid. We have little Taisia to blame for both of those issues - she is an absolute cuddlebum, wanting (needing) to be held practically 24/7. Holding a full size (rather large) camera and a baby isn't easy, so camera use was limited.
Santa did visit, look at all the pressies he bestowed upon us! Callum thought that he must have been at the very top of Santa's good list as he had sooooo many pressies!
Tiegan loved this Hello Kitty - it's rather large :)
Callum only asked Santa for a packet of dinosaurs. He ended up with this, erm, little fella...
We all love him!
With a dinosaur island toy, Callum was in dinosaur heaven!
But, do you know what ol' favourite Callum keeps coming back to? Good ol' trusty bubble mixture. No matter how expensive gifts he gets given, or how flashy or noisy new toys are, he just loves his bubbles!
He also adored his new torch (in the shape of a Lego man, it's very cool!) and he has been putting it to good use. Callum leads us into the kitchen when it get's dark, he points it under the sofa to search for lost game pieces, he uses it help us find kitten Harry if he is in the Christmas Tree or under the bed - definitely a useful bit of kit ;)
Taisia just didn't know what to make of it all. Just what is it all about mum?
Her first Christmas was all too much for her, she spent most of the day looking like this...
We all went for a walk after dinner, the weather was dry and very mild. I couldn't take any photographs as the very excitable and definitely not lead trained mad Springer Spaniel came along. I was on lead holding duty which was certainly - erm, interesting and erm, fun. . Then home to an evening of family game playing. We got out the new "Quelf" game, it is soooooooo much silliness! It is played like a traditional board game, of moving counters around coloured squares. Each square you land on has a corresponding coloured card. Each card has a task to complete. Some ask a trivia question (mostly silly questions or ones with a twist), some tell you to do a silly act. I had to be a ballerina and "show off my dainty moves", Callum had to be a cowboy riding an Ostrich - you get the idea. I haven't laughed so much whilst playing a game for a very long time! If you think you and your family might enjoy it, buy it from Argos now whilst it's half price!
The kids enjoyed the games time so much they have requested a family games night - we have picked Tuesdays :)
On to Boxing Day - which is Tiegan's birthday, so another party! Our annual 3 day of partying is wonderful, but oh so tiring!
Another cake had to be made (oh how tempted I was to nip out and buy one!) The theme Tiegan asked for was a Hello Kitty lookalike, this is what I came up with...
In January sometime we are hoping to head back to Caseys Diner to treat Tiegan to late birthday dinner out, but we spent this Boxing day at home playing games and feasting on delicious goodies :) We tried out another of our new games, this time Wabally. Think Jenga, where you have to remove pieces of the tower without it toppling, but using balls instead of bricks. I really enjoyed playing it, and the kids did too - Callum was the best at it would you believe?!
I can't believe that my darling daughter is 9 years old. She is such a beautiful soul, so kind and caring towards others. Tiegan is the quietest of my tribe. Sometimes excruciatingly shy, she is the one I worry about the most. Tiegan is always eager to please, helpful, a proper little homemaker in the making, and just utterly gorgeous in every way.