Friday, January 04, 2013


A couple of days before Christmas, Harriet had another of her money-making schemes.  This one was not quite up to the busking par however.  She struck upon the idea of selling her paintings and some fans she made out of pieces of A4 paper (it was pretty warm).  She then set herself up outside and despite my gentle reminders about the low level pedestrian traffic we receive ("I'm prepared to be patient, Mama") she sat out there in the sun for about an hour.  Unfortunately no sales were recorded on this particular day of trading.  It breaks my heart each time, and she gets dejected each time, but still she persists.  I'm sure I'll be in here writing about another pop-up shop sometime soon.

Of course it was Christmas and all that it entails.  For us it was super, uber,crazy small.  We just spent it with the four of us.  No particularly different food (although I did finally bow to the pressure and made a potato bake after James pleaded with me and those puppy dog eyes of his).  The children requested the treasure hunt version of their presents again this year, which is always handy since it spreads the opening and enjoying of gifts over most of the day, rather than a frenzied rush in the morning.

They had each discussed the regime of waking on the auspicious morning.  Harriet and Ted decided that a slap to the forehead "hard enough to wake you up but not hard enough to hurt" was the best way forward.  Me, I wasn't quite sharing the enthusiasm for face-slapping as they were.  Most opportunities for early-morning screams of anger and ensuing maelstrom are hardly the stuff I'm looking forward to.

However the face slapping did go off without a hitch.  As we laid in bed (and I vowed never to listen to James suggest "It will be fine doing all the wrapping the night before") I heard them rustling through their stockings.  Electric toothbrushes are surely what every child covets in their stocking, yes?  Well, the parents do when their younger child screams blue bloody murder at every oral intrusion. (And as an aside they have worked beautifully at allowing us to get into Ted's mouth and really clean them, I can't believe we resisted it for so long).

We'd had a special Christmas Eve catch-up the night before (actually we had two! Social butterflies!) where Harriet had received a book outlining how to draw certain animals and people, including fairies, in step-by-step fashion.  Now having previously mentioned the apparently genetic deficiencies in artistic talent within our small gene pool, you can imagine my surprise when, on Christmas Day, Harriet hands me this little gem.  Cute as!  And moving outside her comfort zone is always a challenge, so I was super impressed at her tenacity.

The two of them also received these handmade toys from Jan - a fairy for Harriet and an elf for Ted.  They loved them.  In fact when they opened them on Skype Jan and Mike thought they were underwhelmed, when in fact they were quite the opposite - they were definitely overwhelmed at all the work and love that had gone into them. They were played with and slept alongside and generally exclaimed over for the rest of the afternoon.  I do so love that our two really appreciate and cherish homemade gifts for the work, love and attention that has gone into them.

Having said that, this year we really didn't do anything homemade.  November was to be my crafting month and it all went awry with the pox as you may remember.  So I basically let everyone know that I was not making or buying anything for Christmas.  Nothing.  The only exception we made was to buy a little present each for friends down the road and you will note there I said 'buy'.  We bought ethically and mindfully of course, but I decided that those who are my friends would be truly served better by me guarding my health and looking after my own first.

I did, actually make one set of presents now that I think about it.  For Harriet's two best friends at school both Harriet and I worked on a little 'club bag'.  The three of them are in a secret club called TT (I can't tell you what it stands for or otherwise I'll have to...uhhh...get very very cross at you...or something) so I made these bags with TT on them and inside Harriet made up a code, which we then took to get laminated and hooked on to a notepad.  Add some pens, pencils and envelopes, and you have yourself there a VERY happy group of girls.  They were dropping coded notes off to each other in the weeks before Christmas (school breaks very early at Harriet's school, which is awesome) and producing secret squirrel events.  I would have loved something like that myself when I was younger, and totally loved their enthusiasm.  Harriet even received a little silver bracelet which had TT engraved on it.  Awesome!

You may also notice that here she is, sleeping on Christmas Night with her flannelette pyjamas on.  Under the quilt.  Oh yes, it was freezing here on Christmas.  James had bought me this gorgeous dark red jumper, thinking it was just too gorgeous not to buy and lo and behold I ended up wearing the thing in December! Madness!  And do you love Harriet's new quilt cover or what?  She does.  Oh my lord does she ever.  Her favourite colour is red and this quilt cover from Anne (and pillowcases) were a huge hit.  As were the clothes (did you grab an eyeful of that funky dress she's wearing next to the tree up there?  You can be sure that was no op shop find.

 I guess the presents that really surprised me as hits were the sports equipment.  James, after a ridiculous amount of time scouring stores and online, finally found a size 3 bat set (when we were really looking for a sz2).  Ted pronounced that his favourite present ever.  Because it was so cold on the 25th we didn't head out to play with all of their stuff as planned, so had to wait for the next day.  Off we popped to the park across the station where there is a practice net and cricket grounds.  Ted was in heaven.  He really does love playing cricket, so I may not even have to have the argument *ahem* discussion with James about rugby as in never not in my lifetime or his I don't care about helmets or whatever it is you think will protect that little skull.

So Ted loved his cricket set.  Not really that surprising.  But Harriet?  That girl was gagging for her basketball.  Right next to the practice nets is a basketball court.  Bonus!  And Harriet was determined to get it in the ring.  She didn't quite make it that first day but the next?  Woot!  In it went!  Once she makes up her mind about something, well that voracious determination is both awesome and exhausting by turn.

And in case you thought I'd forgotten...It's January.  Photo a Day territory!  I completely and utterly forgot about it because we made a last minute decision to go camping down the coast and in the middle of having a fantastic time I completely let my phojo lapse.  But then I watched this and it returned with a vengeance.  

So tomorrow I start on with our family's start to 2013.  Goodbye 2012!  You sucked!  

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