Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere...

is frankly more to my taste than the Northern Hemisphere!  Obviously, this is not including spending time with family.  I'm not a snow person, so despite the Christmas season feeling a bit odd, I loved it!

We started out having Christmas Eve dinner with friends on the beach.  The kids ran around and swam while the adults watched and chatted.  Dinner was excellent - pork stuffed with figs, roasted sweet potatoes and leek, strawberry and mandarin salad, coleslaw, and Christmas pudding for dessert.  All of this was capped off with two of the local dolphins swimming incredibly close to the shore.  No big deal, just another day in paradise!

In the US, the trend seems to be going to church on Christmas Eve.  Here in Oz, everyone goes to church on Christmas morning.  So, we let the boys open their stockings and one present from my parents, handing them the ones that I knew had nice new polo shirts to wear to church.  They looked quite handsome, if I do say so myself!  Although keen to open the rest of the presents, they were also excited to head to church and see lots of their friends for Christmas.  It was a lovely service and we were wished a Happy Christmas more often then a Merry one!

Bri and I also opened our presents from the kids, but alas no pictures were taken.  The boys got Bri propeller cuff links that actually spin.  I got snorkeling gear as well, which I'll explain in another post.  Will was still working on a present for me, which we'll get to later.

Santa put harmonicas in the stockings.  Possibly not the smartest thing he's ever done, but they have had so much fun that it's worth it!

The boys also received UK shirts, because even though Santa wears red, we all know his favorite colors are blue and white, baby!


and back

After we got back from church I pulled out the tripod and made everyone pose for a family picture in front of the tree.  Here is the first take:

What do you mean I have to wait to open more presents?

The next one was much better!

I will keep taking picture until everyone smiles!

And then it was on to prezzies!

The kids big present from us was a Wii.  It was quite an ordeal buying this.  I went back to the US about a month ago and knew I would be bringing presents back from our family.  Bri and I finally decided to buy a Wii from the US and use our US tv and stepdown boxes to make it work.  While this will be a bit of a pain buying new games (their regionally coded), at least we will be able to use it in the US as well.  So I got to lug back a Wii system from the US.  I had enough stuff, plus added weight, that I had to borrow another suitcase from my parents.  Luckily I was upgraded from plain old Skymile status to silver on my way to the US, so the extra bag was free.  Everything was well worth it, as you can see from their reaction!  What we do for our children.    Also, Christmas day was rainy, so we spent lots of time trying out our new games from family members.  At least those were easy (and light) presents to bring back!

Thanks, Aunt Elaine!

This is actually his concentrating face.

Will playing Just Dance

This is the first year we had the kids "buy" presents for each other.  The both actually put a lot of thought into the selection - Bri and I were very pleased with both of them.  Will received Trash Packs and Nathan got a Nerf gun.  Here is another perfectly captured moment:

They really do love each other

I won't bore you with a ton more pictures of presents, I'll put those on my Facebook so they can be looked through without being forced.

*Total side note - Brian just remeasured the boys height.  In the past 3 weeks, Will grew 1/2cm and Nath grew 1cm.  Slow down, boys!*

We ended our day with a yummy dinner.  Plans were originally to barbecue, but the weather prevented that from happening.  We adapted, and cooked our Jerk Chicken on the stove instead.  It was a nice dinner, but the topper was my Pavlova - yummo!  

A Pavlova is a traditional Australian Christmas dessert named after the ballerina Anna Pavlova.  Their is a bit of disagreement on whether it was created in Australia or New Zealand, but we'll go with creation in Australia.  It's a bit like a meringue, with the addition of Corn Starch.  Apparently that gives it a crunchier texture on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside, but also makes it more finicky to make.  It was very clearly stated to let it cool inside the oven, which I did.  You serve it with whipped cream on top and garnish with whatever fruit you want - but they usually have passion fruit as one of the toppings.  The boys have decided that they want Pavlova for all special occasions now.  I wish I would've taken a picture of mine, but it was eaten fairly quickly.

We all crashed into bed later in the evening.  Today has been fairly lazy, since it's Boxing Day and we don't have to do anything.  I did make the mistake of going to the shops for a few things - big mistake!  I'd say it's the equivalent to Black Friday in the US, lots of sales plus rain equals a crowded shopping centre!  We spent the rest of the day playing on the Wii and other Christmas presents.  

Will finished up my Christmas present, proving once again how sweet of a boy he is:

Seal Rocks Sunset
My sweet boy painted a beautiful picture of our family at a beach nearby Port Stephens.  He knows one of my favourite things is sunset at the beach.  He painted us each in our favourite colours.  He even mixed colours to make sure they were exactly what he wanted.  I especially love the two dolphins in the background.  I'm currenty looking for a frame, but it will be going up in our house soon!

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