End Of Year Bits & Bobs

2009 was an interesting year which definitely finished on a high as we were blessed with a home of our own again after 10 years of living in transit. It was also fantastic to be able to unpack our freight, much of which was packed away 10 years ago. We enjoyed reminiscing over our junk and pictures and are delighted to have it all cluttering up our home.

Christmas Day

We both come from very different backgrounds in which Christmas was perceived very differently.
Whilst Paula's family always made it a big occasion and had a sense of the real meaning behind the festival, Dean grew up expecting little of it as he knew it wasn't really worth getting excited about. He certainly had no real understanding of the festival and when it came to presents he never expected much as he knew he wouldn't get much.

This really changed for Dean after becoming a Christian and joining Paula's family. So for the last 20+ years Christmas has been a special and meaningful time in which we like to keep Jesus' birthday central to the whole occasion.

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas one and all!

We hope and pray that you have a really blessed time wherever you are and whoever you're with.

Lots of love

Dean, Paula, Joel & Eli
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Christmas Eve Picnic

We decided to start our Christmas with what is becoming a bit of a traditional treat - a family picnic in Vergelegen forest under the camphor trees. Once again, we were treated to fantastic food and the boys really enjoyed hunting for their treasure using the maps provided! The weather was glorious - and we felt like we chilled for the first time this holiday.

Had to rush home though to (a) check that Rose hadn't chewed or cried the house down and (b) track Santa on his travels via the official NORAD Santa Tracker!!

Rosie Comes To Stay

Today Rosie joined our family. She's a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Border Collie mix although she's missing the ridge on her back. So far she seems very playful and affectionate.

After much discussion around names the semi-finalists were Mutley and Rosie with Rosie being triumphant. The boys are delighted with Rosie although Eli is far more taken with her than Joel who is quite scared of dogs. This was part of why we wanted a dog so Joel would get over his fear, but we know it will take time.

4 Today! - Pt 2

Eli had a great day celebrating his 4th birthday. He was delighted with his presents (he didn't seem to notice the absentees due to the late post) especially his chainsaw & safety goggles. The goggles were later put to good use as he was tearing around the garden on his bike looking very pleased with himself.

Daddy & Eli had a little chat over lunchtime about where Eli would like to go for his birthday tea, not where Joel had told Eli he would like to go, so Eli chose Col'Cacchio which also pleased Mum & Dad!

4 Today!

Happy 4th Birthday Eli!!!

We were woken at 5.45 to the sound of the boys discussing Eli's potential presents!!  This then deteriorated into an argument and Joel saying he would buy Eli "the boringest present EVER..."a book full of lots and lots of words".

Thankfully, Eli was spared and got what any self-respecting 4 year old boy wanted - a chainsaw!  He was thrilled and spent the next while cutting everything down in the house and garden.  He loved all his presents and cards and did actually love the 3 books that he was given by various folk!  Thank you to everyone for your cards and gifts.  We are now busy building Meccano boats and people - deep joy!

Christmas Tree

One of the problems of moving house so close to Christmas is that the usual preparations get somewhat pushed aside. Actually that could be a blessing! Anyway, after much nagging from two small boys we managed to put the Christmas tree up much to their delight. This year Joel did most of the decorating as Eli lacked the finesse to put the baubles and bits on the tree so threw a strop and wandered off into the garden. Bless him.

Joel loves the tradition of decorating the tree and is beginning to understand the real meaning of Christmas. We had a bit of a chat about Santa and the real St. Nicholas and why he loved & served God.

This afternoon we had the privilege of joining Aunty Mona and her crew for the Firgrove kids Christmas Party. Each year she runs this party simply to bless the kids in the community. Wow what an afternoon. The turnout was fantastic and the kids had a brilliant time with the bouncy castle being the main attraction.

We were really impressed by the turnout of volunteers too which meant that Aunty Mona and Cindy (her daughter) had plenty of help. There was a also a fairly good turnout from Grace which was excellent. It's good to see church members getting involved in community events.

Family Fun Night

Last night we had a church Family Fun Night in Macassar and a fairly wild time was had by all. Sadly for us it was too late for our boys and Eli spent most of the evening asleep on Dean.

Despite this we had a fun evening and it was another great opportunity for getting to know more church folk in a relaxed setting. What was particularly good was the turnout of our youth group as they're a really good bunch. They were all very competitive so they really livened up the games, especially the coke drinking game which was a particular success!

We also hired a bouncy castle so the smaller kids had a great time playing on that. What is it about those things?

As ever when moving to a new home junk accumulates which needs to be sorted and invariably something major breaks down. Here you can see some of the excess junk waiting to find a home in the garage. What surprised me about the size of the pile is the fact that we're not hoarders by any stretch of the imagination and are quite ruthless when it comes to getting rid of stuff. But still junk accumulates!

Moved!

Last night was our first night sleeping in our new house so finally after what feels like an eternity of shifting boxes and furniture all of 100 metres it's beginning to feel like home. As with moving to any property it's only once one is in that one discovers what is or isn't so great about the place. This morning I tried the shower only to discover it is truly pathetic! That's going to have to be rectified as a matter of urgency.

Moving Day(s)

We're already exhausted and we're only half way through our move. There's a lot to be said for only moving 100m but it does bring its own challenges. Moving the 10ft trampoline was an interesting experience! Also moving a week before Christmas in 32° is not great.

Michael has been a legend and we couldn't have done half of what we have without him! He's coming again tomorrow morning when we'll move our beds and the last few bits. Then on Friday & Saturday we'll clean our old house before handing it back.

Weekend

Suddenly the decision to move just before Christmas seems a bit daft as jobs keep piling up and life seems to get messier by the minute. We're now living in chaos in two houses! Thankfully it will all be over on Friday this week as we will be fully moved in on Thursday which will give us a couple of days to get the old house cleaned up before handing it back to the landlady.

School finished today for the summer holidays and were our boys delighted! Joel has just finished Year 1 and will go into P8 in January whilst Eli has just finished Pre-Nursery and will go straight into Reception next year as the school re-jigs all the early years primary classes to fit with the International Baccalaureate system.

We marvel at how well the boys have done and how they've blossomed through the year. Joel's reading is really good and he adores books which is great.

Eli just had a year of playing but in the midst of it actually learnt quite a lot. He often amazes us with just how much he knows and can do.

To celebrate the end of year and how well Joel & Eli have done this year we took them out for their tea to Primi's. Joel devoured a huge plate of spaghetti whilst Eli did serious damage to his pizza.

Nativity

This year we were really pleased that the boys' school decided to put on a proper Nativity after avoiding it for a couple of years. Sadly they felt the need to send permission slips out to ensure that no-one was forced to take part that might not want to. We don't recall them doing that for Diwali.

Joel was really pleased to be a king with Calvin & Jason whilst Eli was one of Santa's little helpers (not sure where that fits with the Nativity) and showed no sense of being intimidated by the stage or audience. If anything, he played up to the crowd!

The production was great and really well done and as to be expected the evening was not without a few priceless comedy moments. The best being the miraculous birth of a white Jesus to a black Mary, truly a miracle!

Turner Prize

I saw on the BBC News website that the Turner Prize winner has been announced. This year the prize was won by painter Richard Wright. Wright was presented with the £25,000 prize by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at Tate Britain in London, with judges praising his "profound originality".

Hallelujah! Our freight was delivered this afternoon. Apparently it cleared customs very easily which is a great answer to prayer. We weren't expecting problems but you never know with customs.

The delivery guy was really helpful and thankfully Michael was already with me at the house so he too got stuck in with the unloading. Even the boys had a go at carrying some of the lighter boxes.

Weekend Sans Enfant

Just as we had planned, on Friday evening we sat out on the veranda overlooking Pringle Bay whilst sipping on an ice cold ’09 sauvignon blanc. 2009 really is an amazing year for sauvignon blanc and we look forward to a few years time when the reds are released.

We made the most of our weekend sans enfants and went to Pringle Bay where Peter & Gloria at the Wild Olive have an amazing way of making one feel at home in their guest house. Gloria is the perfect host and Peter is a phenomenal chef, so one doesn’t even have to go out for dinner.

At some point later today we'll sit down on a balcony enjoying spectacular views over Pringle Bay looking out towards the Cape Peninsula whilst sipping on a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc, sans enfant. Bliss!

However between now and then we'll be running around like lunatics as there's a mountain of stuff to do which began with Joel & Eli's graduation ceremony. Whilst Dean feels it's bordering on the psychotic to celebrate the end of each school year quite so formally it was a really good service with each of the children getting a certificate.