Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2011

I hope Santa visited but you didn’t peek, you remembered to leave out a snack, the Christmas Crocodile didn’t steal it, and you’ve celebrated with family and friends no matter how far or near they might be.

Merry Christmas!

Hyvää Joulua!

Joyeux Noël!

Frohe Weinachten!

Gleðileg jól!

¡Feliz Navidad!

Gaudete! Dies natalis est.

God jul!

Nollaig Shona Duit!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

O Christmas Tree…

December 10, 2011

The children informed us that it was time to set up the Christmas tree.  And so, The Dad got the box down, and set it up in the corner of the lounge:

There you go...

But NO, that was not good enough apparently.  (Oh my goodness, it’s fun to mess with their minds sometimes!).  They insisted that the tree be brought out of its box – despite our protests that it was all neat and tidy like that and we’d only have to put it back later.  There was much hilarity as the children explained the basic facts of the matter to their obtuse parents.  So we got out the tree.

Close supervision

Eventually it was all assembled, and again we stood back.  “Ta-dah!”


Now we had to decorate it as well.  Honestly, the demands these children make.  So out came the lights and the tinsel and the Christmas Goats, and finally they had the ritual they had been craving.

Babess taking it all very seriously

Eventually all the decorations were out of the boxes and on the tree, and we were allowed a real “Ta-dah!”


I suppose I should really get cracking on some Christmas cards, huh?

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

A very soggy Christmas

January 2, 2011

We spent Christmas in Central Queensland, with The Dad’s family, and very nice it was too.  All the uncles and aunts and grandchildren and grandparents in one noisy, happy, food-and-present-laden place together.

But oh my goodness, the rain.  It did this:

flooded recreation area

… and this:

more flooding

By the next morning, the water had risen over the pictures and one line of text.  Just a few days later, the entire sign is under water, and the floods are still rising.

After a soggy but celebratory week, we waited anxiously at the regional airport, as lightning flashed and thunder boomed around us, and the rain was so heavy that we couldn’t see the other side of the runway.  It had been raining off and on (mostly on) the whole week, but this was the worst storm yet. The kids were kept entertained by the various frogs basking in the humidity of the airport viewing area.

[I thought I’d put a photo here, but I don’t have one.  Hopefully one of the aunts or uncles will send one?  They were very cute frogs.]

Finally, the rain eased and the sky lightened, and we could see… a lake.  I wondered whether the airline would have to send a float-plane to get us.  But no, it all drained away, and we left only half an hour or so late.

That airport is closed now, as water from the floods threatens the runway.  Hundreds of thousands of people in Central Queensland have been affected – some evacuated, many cut off.  There are power outages and predictions of food shortages as air and road links are drowned.  It’s cruelly ironic that last time we visited, the region was in the grip of a terrible drought.

Our CQ family live on a hill, and won’t have their houses flooded, but their friends and colleagues doubtless will.

Spare them a thought, this month – it’s going to be a tough few weeks until the water recedes and things get back to normal.

There's a picnic area under there somewhere...

The place I stood to take this picture is now under water, too.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!  May it bring joy and laughter to all of us.

I have lots to write about from Christmas and our travels, and will start posting regularly again soon.  At the moment I have some jet-lag to fight off (mine and the children’s), and there are lots of Christmas presents to be played with, thank-yous to be written, and summer weather to be enjoyed.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Getting the hang of Christmas morning

December 28, 2010

Fainjin was the first to wake on Christmas morning.  He had developed a habit of almost-sleepwalking into our bedroom and snuggling next to me to wake up properly in the mornings, so I wasn’t too surprised to see him wander in.  It was about 6am, so I spoke to him (usually I leave him be to keep sleeping).

“Good morning!”


“Merry Christmas, Fainjin!  It’s Christmas today.  Did you get any presents?”


“Oh, I think Father Christmas might have been.  Want to go and check?”

That woke him up.  “Yes!”  he wandered back to his bedroom, then came back to report, “Nope.”

“Really?  I think you need to check your bedside table.”

Back again, “Nope.  No presents.  Only by Babess’ bed.”

I went with him, pointed out the parcel and helped him read his name.  He went back to our room and told The Dad that there was his name, but no present!  Finally, I had to practically force it into his hands and tell him it was his present and he should open it.  Once he caught on, he was very enthusiastic, especially as it turned out to be one of his favourite books, Leonardo The Terrible Monster.

Thankfully, getting the girls to open theirs was much easier!

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2010
Santa's feast

A feast for Father Christmas

Pearl told me a little while ago that she doesn’t believe Father Christmas is real.  Tonight, though, she’s hedging her bets.


Dear Santa...

Dear Santa...

Merry Christmas!

Hyvää Joulua!

Joyeux Noël!

Frohe Weinachten!

Gleðileg jól!

¡Feliz Navidad!

(add another language in the comments…)

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Never smile…

December 25, 2010

Yesterday was the highlight of our trip, as far as Fainjin is concerned.  Yes, the long-awaited trip to the crocodile farm!

Christmas Crocodile

The Christmas Crocodile... for exceptionally naughty children?

We saw lots of crocodiles, mostly salt-water crocs but one or two freshwater ones (Johnson’s River Crocodiles) too.  The tour guide was enthusiastic and amusing and pretty much put everyone off ever wandering near or around water ever again.  It’s amazing how a humungous crocodile can hide in knee-deep water.

Babess was quite concerned about one croc, which was just emerging from its lagoon.  “Dat cwocodile all wet!” her big eyes full of concern.  “He needs a towel,” she remarked seriously, to the amusement of all around us.

We saw crocodiles lunge out of the water to be fed, and snap at each other as well as the staff.  We were warned to keep fingers, chins, elbows and everything else on our side of the fence – and careless photographers who edged their cameras “just a little bit closer” were quickly reminded by staff.

croc feeding

Doesn't that fence look rather... flimsy?

At the end of the tour, there was a chance to pat or hold a baby crocodile.  Pearl gladly posed with it, but Fainjin didn’t want to.  “I don’t like crocodiles any more,” he explained.  “‘Cos crocodiles are scary and I only like nice animals.”

That was a bit of a worry, as we had sneakily bought him some birthday presents at the gift shop, but he has changed his mind again this morning and decided he still likes crocs after all.

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Once isn’t enough

December 23, 2010

We’ve been talking about seeing Grandma and Grandad for weeks.  It’s so exciting!  Yesterday morning, as Babess snuggled next to me in bed (on a rare morning visit), I said, “Who will we see today?!”, and she replied, “Grandmadad!  And I will kiss him!” So sweet.

And so, and so.  The day passed.  Bags were packed (by me), unpacked (by Babess), re-packed (by Babess), re-discovered (by me), unpacked and repacked again – by me.  And locked.  Bedrooms were tidied, then turned upside down again 30 seconds later.  Dishes were done, only to pile up again just as we thought we were finished.  It felt like we would never win.  But we did, eventually.  Finally, the house was vaguely presentable – I like to come home to something at least vaguely presentable! – and we were all in the car.

We had two hours at the airport, then four hours on the plane (with 200km/h headwinds!), then a transfer, then another 90 min or so in the airport, then nearly 90 minutes on another plane.  The kids were good, but oh so tired.  There were tantrums, as they struggled against the sleep which inevitably overtook them.  They woke up thirsty, disoriented, and grumpy.  We landed in full darkness, rumpled and disheveled, owl-eyed and wrinkling our noses.  There have been floods here, and the debris is rotting – it smells nasty.  You do get used to it quite quickly, though!

Waiting patiently for us at the airport, as promised, were Grandma and Grandad, as well as uncles and aunts.  Pearl gave them enthusiastic hugs and kisses.  Fainjin and Babess, sleep-fuddled and shy, regarded them silently, shrugged under the hugs and tolerated the kisses.

We didn’t spend too long at the airport – it was already about midnight in our home time-zone, and we needed to get the children (and ourselves!) to bed, knowing  full well that we were likely to wake at 4am local time with small ones wanting breakfast.  So we had the briefest of catch-ups with gathered family and took our leave.

We got lucky: Fainjin was the first child to wake, just after 5am local time.  I got him some breakfast, and talked about the day to come.  “We’ll go and see Grandma and Grandad,” I began, and he looked at me in surprise.


I explained that we didn’t have to go on any more planes to see them, we’re here now and they’re just down the road so we can go and see them lots of times before we go home again.  We can see them every day until Christmas!  He nodded.

A little later, when everyone was up and dressed and fed, we were ready to go.  “Come on Babess, time to see Grandma and Grandad!” I said.

She looked up at me, frowning.  “Again?!”

© UpsideBackwards 2010.


December 20, 2010

Babess loves to carry things around in bags.  She’s forever filling up little play-bags with bottles for Baby, or “picnic” stuff, or just blocks, and moving them from one place to another.  A transporter, that girl, for sure.

So when I pack for us to go away, I try to do it when she’s not around – or at least not awake.  She looooves suitcases, or as she calls them, “supercases”.  They are full of treasure that you can take out and move elsewhere when Mum’s not looking, and then you can stash your own treasure in there instead.  If I didn’t keep a close eye on her, we would be travelling without underwear but with a nice set of cushions and a plastic tea-set.

Luckily, The Dad and I packed all the Christmas presents in one suitcase and locked it.  Otherwise some family members might get rather more surprised than we intended on Christmas morning!

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

End of term, end of year

December 18, 2010

So, that’s that then.  School year 2010 is over.

Pearl will be in Year 4 next year, “Standard 2” for old people like me who still need to translate into the old NZ school system.  I have fond memories of Std 2, I had an excellent teacher (all my primary school teachers were outstanding, I was extremely lucky) and a great group of friends.  I hope Pearl will have a year like that.

She will be in a composite Year 4/5 class, which might be good for her in terms of extension and challenge, and she’s excited about her teacher, who is known for his love of literature and writing – very good news for her.

Also good news is that one of her steadiest friends will be with her.  They weren’t together this year because M is a year ahead – but they can be together in the composite class.  M was so excited when she found out, she met me at the door to Pearl’s classroom, having rushed straight there to share the good news.  She’s a lovely little girl, I really like her, so I’m pleased for them both.

I didn’t manage to get those maths worksheets after all, so I’ll be making up my own for us to work on together in the holidays.  I think we’ll do some “basic facts” work and then some fun extension stuff, maybe clock arithmetic…  We’re going to do more Latin, too, at Pearl’s request.  Today I got some books out of the library on Rome and modern Italy for her, so she can compare and contrast.  I think she thinks people in Rome still speak Latin and wear togas.

It’s not going to be all school-work, though, fun as that might be!  Pearl has a list of films she wants to see, craft that needs doing, and biscuits to bake.  I think we’ll probably take walks along the coast and go into the city to visit the observatory/planetarium once or twice too.  (I also need to clean this house top to bottom, there is dust everywhere and I’m blaming the builders!)

That can all start in a couple of weeks.  Christmas and family come first.  Time to kick back, relax, catch up with in-laws and cousins.  There are birthdays, anniversaries, and a wedding to celebrate.

Hooray for summer!

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

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