Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas the Night before Christmas....

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
  These famous words, the starting lines from a very old poem believed to be written by Clement Clarke Moore, pretty much sum up the scene here at our house.

We have a couple of exhausted yet giddily excited girls who cannot contain themselves this Christmas Eve night. They are now sound asleep (I think). Today as the fluffy snow fell silently outside, we had Matt and Emma over to watch the Polar Express movie. They were riveted and in case you have not seen this, the story tells the tale of a young boy who foolishly starts to doubt the existence of Santa Claus. A trip on the Polar Express on the night of Christmas Eve to the North Pole to meet with Santa helps him to dispel all his doubts.

After a short dinner and bath, we then also read the book with the full 'Twas the night before Christmas poem. The house is now silent, all is prepared for tomorrow and we can all relax a little.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Week

I trust everybody is getting their Christmas shopping completed, only a few days left. As we get ready here for the holiday weekend, there are a few things going on. Today we are actually having six windows replaced. Not a great day to do so but we didn’t get sufficiently organized when the weather was more amenable. Today is also Anja’s last day of school so Lynne and myself will be going to their class party.

As Christmas cards come through the post, on a daily basis now, I’m reminded how bad we are at doing this. Other than sending a card to my parents, we essentially don’t. To all of you out there that do, apologies, we send our seasons greetings. We do love getting your cards, particularly these days since many come with an annual update and/or pictures of kids getting older. These are always great to get. I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you don’t really need an annual update from us or updated pictures for that matter.

This time of year always allows one to reflect, on past years, past Christmas celebrations. I was flicking through some old photos from Australia and was reminded of our Christmas in Melbourne with Clive and Tracey. It was a fun Christmas, we stayed with them all week and did various road outings around Melbourne. Shown below is the group of us who shared Christmas dinner that year, and other Australian pictures. These include shots from Port Arthur in Tasmania, famous for it’s convict settlement, the Barossa Valley outside Adelaide, (famous for its wine, Penfolds and Jacob’s Creek for example), Kangaroo Island and the Great Ocean Road

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Outings

We are another week closer to Christmas. Isabel is now finished school and I’m now officially finished work for the year. Lynne and Anja will have to wait until Wednesday.

Brooke took the girls, Connor and Anna and Frida on two separate holiday outings this week (thanks again). For the record, we do not force our girls into these seasonal dresses, they very much choose to do so, get upset almost if you suggest otherwise. First to the big Christmas tree and Gingerbread house at Purdue University and then to see Santa at the Mall. As you can see, Connor’s first experience with Santa didn’t go so well and doesn't Santa look like he's having fun :))

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Connor's 1st Birthday Party

Well the first chapter in Connor’s young life is now complete. Yesterday we celebrated his first birthday. Many thanks to all of you who came, helped out and brought presents. I think all had a great day.  It all went over Connor’s head of course, he had no idea what was going on. He was in great spirits throughout, helped by the two hour nap he had (and was necessary) earlier in the day.

He didn’t like his ice cream very much but he did like his cake though which Brooke baked on Friday (thanks again Brooke). We should also give a mention here to Connor’s outfit for the day. It arrived earlier in the week from Granny Owens (Thanks Mum). She has sent dresses to both girls and now Connor for all of their birthdays thus far. This will get expensive on her now that we have three kids.

I had loads of photos; many of my favorites are shown below. As normal I took many of kids and families, which can be viewed and downloaded, from here. Thanks again everybody, we had a great day!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Toni and Jack Visit

I had a pleasant surprise when I arrived home from work tonight. Toni and Jack were visiting and had been for a while at that point. Most of you will recall that she was looking after Anna and Frida for Kaisa and Kevin before having her own baby. She spent a lot of time over here with those girls and was quite close friends with both Kristina and more recently with Brooke.

Jack is a beautiful and healthy looking three month old boy. It was great to see them both.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Happy Birthday Connor

Today Connor officially turned one year old. We didn’t do much by way of celebration tonight, a school and work night; we’ll do that at the weekend. He did get a few cards from the girls and Brooke together with a present from the girls. He looked pretty excited about it all.

Happy birthday son, we love you. Mum and Dad.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Christmas Party

Yesterday the girls and myself met Lorraine at the Christmas Party they were having at her work. Although it was the first time I had gone, the kids have attended this and loved it for the last three years. They had Santa and Mrs Claus, face painting, caricature drawing, cookie decorating, story telling and lots of goodies. The kids love this every year. Shown below are a few photos but I took many others for those of you wishing to see them.

With this party and the arrival of snow, it’s starting to feel like Christmas. We also put up our tree yesterday!

Saturday, December 04, 2010


The snow has arrived. We awoke this morning, or rather at or around 7am this morning the kids got the entire house up with their excitement about the snow that had fallen. We had about 4-5 inches but the temperature was not very cold.

They were both out there tossing around in it before 9am. All of you out there without kids, think about that for a moment. Saturday morning before 9am in the snow!!

Generally it all went well, I ended up out there with them in the afternoon trying to build a snowman. Disaster really, unfortunately it was the wrong kind of snow, it simply wasn’t sticking!! They were quite upset until I had an inspiring thought. I grabbed the shovel and helped them build "Crystal Mountain". For those of you not familiar with Dora the Explorer, she saves Crystal Kingdom and I convinced the girls that this was part of the story! 

Friday, December 03, 2010

Brewing Beer Again

I had vacation today so I dragged myself away from the iPad for a few hours, it was hard, fired up the brew kettle and made a batch of beer. A Scottish Wee Heavy. It’s been about a year since I brewed so I thought it was time, keep me from getting rusty anyhow.

Brooke took a picture of me with Connor and Isabel. I'll admit it was pretty staged but I wanted a similar shot to that of a picture that was taken back in 2005 with Anja. We weren’t thinking much about a second or third child back then!! 

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Many of you know that today I turned over yet another year of my life. I guess it happens to us all. Many thanks again to all for the cards and happy birthday wishes. The day was generally like most others until I arrived home to hugs and kisses all round. Dinner was ready and everyone was happy. Thanks Love. I had presents and cards from everybody. Gloves and a fleece from the children, which are perfect for this time of the year and a really cool present from Lynne. I’ve been playing with it all-evening, as have the kids before they went to bed for that matter. "We" are now the owners of yet another Apple product, an iPad. It is pretty cool.

Just as treasured as my iPad, however, are the handmade cards the girls made for me. I’m sure 20 years from now I’ll recall the iPad for sure, who knows what will be popular then. I’m positive however, that as I look back at these two cards they will illicit memories that will be both timeless and priceless…… 
Now, I'm about to crack open one of my all-time favourite Oatmeal Stout from Sam Smiths.