Friday, 25 December 2009

Joy To The World

As we celebrate the birth of Christ our Saviour, it is with joy that we remember how great the grace and the love of God is. We are grateful for the blessing of having family and friends to share this important day with. And what a wonderful Christmas day we've had again.
It is always a special moment to see your children's faces light up when they are finally allowed to open ALL those presents under the our ever-slowly wilting tree which we didn't think would survive until Christmas day thanks to 3 days of non-watering...Oops. Blame it on Farmville...
The children didn't care. They still tore open their presents with gusto. They are very fortunate children to have so many loving and caring family and friends who gave thoughtful and wonderful gifts. The only one who really couldn't care less about the presents was Jonah, he was too busy trying to get at the banana that the reindeers didn't eat. I was really excited about my new kindle! But perhaps the more gratifying present had to be one from Jonah. The one who only points and grunts decided to give his parents an early Christmas present yesterday by walking three steps! I am still in disbelief today.
After getting the children dressed for the day, I thought I'd take the opportunity to take a nice photo of all three before any food stains took hold of their party gear. Between the non-stop fidgeting of all three (in particular Jonah) and my slow camera, I was unable to get even one good photo. I have attached the only one where you can see the faces of all three, where they are all vaguely smiling, where none of their faces are completely blurred by movement and which doesn't have some part of their head chopped off the picture.
After the Christmas service, we headed to the Swissotel for Christmas Day lunch with Malcolm's parents and grandfather. After initial confusions, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that we had been allocated the only private room in the restaurant! It had a little alcove for the children to play in and a superb view of the St. Mary's Cathedral. Unfortunately, by this stage, we had no idea in which of the gazillion bags our camera was in, so you'll have to wait until we pilfer Mal's dad photos.
It was a feast and a half. The food was superb, topped off by an exquisite and fantastic array of desserts. The creme brulee was phenomenal, as was the creme caramel and the beautiful chocolate fountain. With an endless supply of coca=cola, how could one complain!?!?! We rolled out two and half hours later for Cabarita to exchange more presents. By the end of this, we had more presents that we could poke a stick at.
We hurried off for Pymble for the final meal of the day with Brian, Asha and Michael. Wagyu beef, lamb cutlets, prawn skewers and macadamia ice-cream capped off a wonderful day of feasting. Elliot really enjoyed playing with the nerf gun Brian bought him. Brian enjoyed it even more, having bought himself three. It wasn't long before the only ones shooting each other around the house were Malcolm, Michael and Brian.
We finally reached home after a long and delightful day. Mal is still preparing for tomorrow's festivities while I ponder how I will find a home for the 4 big boxes of presents that we have...

I hope that your day has been as wonderful and joyous as ours. May your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill, and may your eyes, mind and heart be filled with the true spirit of Christmas - JESUS . Wishing you a Merry Christmas from the Albany Family.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A Christmas present from Disney

We received a lovely little present to the tune of $100 OBC per person for our upcoming Disney mediterranean cruise. Yipppee!!!! It was a really nice surprise and unexpected. We not have a total of $1700 in OBC! Thank you Disney!

We're paid in full. Yeee haw! Now I'm super-duper excited and can't stop writing with exclamation marks!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Kris Kringle Kraziness

What a wonderful day we've had. We took a drive to Cecil Park to head to Tanya and Robert's who kindly hosted this years Kris Kringle. The Albany clan had certainly expanded with 58 family members turning up this year! We've never had to buy so many bread rolls in our lives!

It was a great setting for a great party. The mobile BBQ was set up and fired up cooking up steaks and sausages on top of the chicken, pasta and seafood dishes. Shortly after lunch, the kids (and adults) had a go at Robert's pride and joy, the slip and slide. The goats on the other side of the fence sure enjoyed all the bleating and screaming of Auntie Rita!

This was followed by a dip in the warm pool before the kids opened their presents. We drove home weary but happy, stopping at our favourite place for dinner...Mc Donalds! The pictures themselves will tell the story. Enjoy.

The towable BBQ

Luke setting up
The Albany clan enjoying lunch

The kids table

The famed slip' n' slide

Malcolm having a go!

Taking a dip

Mums and Dads watching from the sides

Present time!

Jonah trying to open his present

Calym also trying to rip open his present!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Lula Park and fairy floff

Yes, it was THAT time of the year again. As Lara used to say, "Time to go to Lula Park to have fairy floff". Well, she still says fairy floff...

We were again blessed with beauftiful weather for this all important day of family fun. Sunny, but not too hot with a cool breeze. Sydney Harbour was very picturesque today with blue skies and a cruise ship docked at Circular Quay. I couldn't quite make out the name of the ship.

2009 Luna Park
Sydney Harbour

At the entrance to Luna Park ready for a day of fun with no whinging, whining or fighting...(severe warnings put in place)

Mini Ferris Wheel

Innocent fun?!?!

Once again, the room that was hired was beautifully decked out and packed with goodies for the whole family. The usual favourites were there - face painting, fairy floss, coca-cola galore, coffee cart, lunch, Santa Claus, christmas presents, a toddler area. This year, they managed to squeeze in a jumping castle which entertained Elliot for quite some time. For the first time, we were able to convince Elliot that he should get something other than a "spider" to be painted on his face. His choice was...see below!

Jonah enjoying himself in the toddler area.

Lara after getting her face painted.

The presents for all the children

The real ferris wheel

Coney Island is serious business!

One last ice-cream before home time!
If you're wondering what Elliot chose..."scary monster"!

Monday, 7 December 2009

O Christmas Tree

We did it!

Amongst the chaos that was the weekend with ferrying Lara to and from dress rehearsals, getting her dressed, finding a hairnet, the right shade of lipstick, going to the concert, looking for our video camera, grocery shopping, christmas shopping, going to church, sending off Christmas cards, having 2 extra children over, cooking, meeting up with friends, and eating...we managed to find the time to get our christmas tree and put up our Christmas decorations! This included the lights for the outside of the house. We can't disappoint the neightbours now, can we?

Having the tree and decorations up have made us realise just how close Christmas is! The smell of the pine is just sublime. This year, we will be having Christmas lunch with Malcolm's parents and grandfather at the Swissotel in the city. I am really looking forward to the much-advertised chocolate fountain....YUMMMY!

Oh, and one more thing...I managed to make my very first cruise logo! This required overcoming the lack of many technical know-hows so I am very proud of myself!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Our little bunny

Lara had her first ever ballet concert performance today as a bunny rabbit. What a cutie she was! It never ceases to amaze me how seriously she takes her ballet and how much she loves it. As she recounted her moments on the stage, she informed us how she was always checking her feet and making sure that she pointed them beautifully. She was so excited about getting to put on make-up (an absolute treat for her!) and donning a beautiful white costume complete with bunny ears and a fluffy bunny tail.

Can you see my fluffy tail?

However, I must admit that I was very disappointed with the ballet school. They charged $40 for each adult and a further $2 just to get a home-printed program. This is on top of the $57 that we had to pay for the costume. I really felt for the families for whom this amount is a stretch. As parents, all we want to do is watch our little ones perform. It does not have to be a big production. These are only 4 and 5 year old little girls. I was also quite stressed about getting ready for the concert itself. The hair had to be done this way, the stockings had to be new, she had to have the right shade of lipstick..."a deep mulberry shade, not fire engine red". She must bring hair pins, hair spray, hair gel, foundation etc. We'll be writing a letter to the school but I am not sure if anything will change. We're fortunate that Lara has a wonderful teacher who has the patience of a saint and who is so postive and encouraging. It's a pity the administration/big wigs is so pretentious.

In the meantime, we're trying to figure out how to continue lessons without having to go the concert...