Trust you all had a super time this last weekend with family and friends celebrating this crazy time of the year. Trust your dinners or lunches went off without any hitches and nothing was left in the oven not having made it to the table.

This year with our 3 little ones for the first time as a trio it was a little different. We had running commentary from JM; “its this many sleeps to Christmas and I want this and that for Christmas” and JM would then announce what CG would want for Christmas and poor TJ was a little oblivious to it all, much like both JM and CG last year.

It’s really crazy when one thinks how things change in a year. I mean JM really knew about Santa this year and what he does and how he does it, we as parents didn’t really discuss it and found it crazy how all of a sudden we had to start discussing all this stuff with a 3 year old. It is amazing the level of influence in a little person’s life from her school, yes I know this is all part of her growing up and then on the other hand knowing we can’t wrap JM in cotton wool for the rest of her life.

This did spark the great debate amongst mom and dad aka myself and KM, what do we tell JM, do we tell her it’s a myth or do we play along with the fantasy of some big rather dad looking like character coming down a chimney to deliver presents if one has been good for the year beforehand. How do we begin to explain that chimneys are not part of the modern British home? Then resorting to more fantasy about a magic key. Anyway this debate did cause a stir among the lawmakers of the Botha Household. Obviously as you have probably figured out, it was 1 vs. 1 to begin. In the end I agreed that it was too late, two weeks before Christmas to start the discussion after already playing along with the story about the red fat man. Needless to say the mince pie and Baileys was put out along with some reindeer food!

We made sure that the fat red man was countered with the real reason for Christmas, why do we celebrate and what we celebrate, etc. Yes we celebrate the fact that Jesus was born in a stable and that He had gifts brought to him, much like gifts are brought to us in a sense. Never the less we had a great nativity calendar up, made by my super crafty wife and in each of the days were animals or people who attended that rather famous night Bethlehem. For the record, in our story it was noted that we had Bunny rabbits attending, together with chickens… Ok I know its not Easter yet, but a major shop aka Tesco’s were selling Easter eggs before Christmas… What is this world coming to?

To go back on the whole celebration and birthday of Christmas, our little monkeys will be forever confused about this celebration as we did also wish KM’s mom with a birthday cake and all. So I guess we did sing Happy birthday for two reasons on the 25th. Equipped with cake we sang the tune via skype to a happy Dodo in PE. So those of you out there thinking that explaining this Christmas thing is a piece of cake, spare a thought for those of us trying to explain that their granny shares a birthday with one if not the most influential man that ever walked on this planet.

Back to our celebrations, we did the whole Christmas lunch thing on Boxing day to allow us to celebrate with my mom, gran and Paul, who might I add every year do the noble thing and give meals out on Christmas day to those who are lonely through the Salvation Army. It was great to spend Boxing Day with my gran and our little ones gran-gran. Thanks to my mom and Paul for the drive there and back for this occasion to happen. Needless to say our bellies were full with the normal gammon, beef, brussell sprouts, parsnips, etc. Don’t mention the Yorkshire puddings which stayed in the freezer or the little present boxes with post lunch sweets inside which stayed on top of the fridge. It was great and only a day ago did we finish the leftovers…. probably the best part of Christmas dinner…the leftovers.

We did however do a very normal South African thing on Christmas day, we braai’d. Yes we had Lee and Dave with us and did steak, boerewors, chicken etc on the braai with salad, all done in 13 deg weather. Believe it or not, the hottest Christmas day temp in Britain for some 20 years.

From the present point of view, it was super cool to see the expressions on JM’s face and even that of the speed man of present opening… Mr CG himself. So much so that we had to rewrap Gran-gran’s present twice before it was given to the rightful owner a day later. I must say on the one hand it is nicer to have little ones to see them open their presents and be happy with them then on the other hand not having little ones and opening all ‘your’ presents.

One of the little trips we did recently was going into London where we experienced the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Even though it took us 2.5hrs to do a 30min trip we still had a great time in the cold. It was great to walk around and thank goodness we had a double buggy, which acted as a battering ram as there were hordes and hordes of people. It was great to see the many lights on all the fairground rides, the ice rink, and the little Santa’s grotto. They also enjoyed the singing chickens and the talking tree was a big hit. It was great fun even though we spent more on the car parking in London then we did during the 3 hours at the Wonderland. Only for a friend to tell us afterwards that if we were to walk 5 minutes away it would have been free parking…note to self: Do more research before doing the London thing.

So what else have we been doing, Church is going great and still growing in the right direction. We had over 100 people come to our Christingle Service which was super as well as we were blessed with tickets to our churches first Winter Ball with live band and great food too. It was great to boogie the night away with friends.

Last but not least is to mention that our boy is now a BIG boy, he is sleeping in his big boy bed as noted by his sister JM. She is still keen to tell us in no uncertain terms that she is still the oldest even though CG is now a big boy is his big boy bed.

Well I guess that’s it for another month, I’ll do another one of these next year, sounds a long time away.

Have a super time this next weekend in what ever you choose to celebrate the dawning of 2012.

Another year and another Christmas done…

We’ve had a lovely Christmas, good food, bubbles,  family, laughter, love and gifts! Afternoon naps and someone falling asleep on the couch, left overs and the smell of mulled wine and christmas pudding!

I hope yours has been as good! Here’s our in pictures!

Getting into the holiday spirit with a nativity christingle Explore service!

The stocking ritual!

Bailey’s and a mince-pie for Santa!

Reindeer food, and my son in pink Dora slippers! Hence my daughter is in none!

Guess the fat guy came after all!

It’s not just Jesus’ birthday on the 25th it’s also Dodo’s!!!

Home made Bokke scarfs from Dodo!

My gorgeous christmas girls!

Granny and Paul!

The gift carnage.

How many hats does one girl need.

“oh mommy we’ve got a park in our garden now!!!!”

To Ho Ho or not Ho Ho… that is the question!?!?

With the littlies growing up and starting to ask questions about a certain man in a red suit there has been a bit a discussion recently in our house.

The question?  To Santa or not to Santa?

I have to say it never crossed my mind not to Santa! I always loved the “magic” that it brought! The imagination and excitement it inspires. Yes there’s a reason for the reason and that never forgotten in the fun!

Jenna’s prayer last night: “thank you God for Jesus and His birthday at Christmas and that father Christmas can come celebrate!”.

Weighing up in the other corner is honesty, focusing on the reason for the reason only and never lying to your children.

And there we have it a stalemate! What are your views? What do you tell your kids? How do you do Santa aka the man in red!

Have you say in the poll or leave me you thoughts in the comments section!

A time for giving and giving back…

The whole commercial Christmas thing really gets me a bit wound up.  Now I love Christmas and have nothing against starting a little early but the whole reason behind Christmas just seems to get lost in the manic rush to spend money on stuff! A lot of stuff that a lot of people probably won’t even use again!

With my kids growing up in gift mania that seems to be Christmas now a days I’m trying to find ways to make it mean that little bit more cause if Jenna had her way it would all be about the presents!

Christmas is after all a religious festival about the birth of our Saviour and as such needs to (in my house anyway) revolve around that! But regardless of whether you believe or not Christmas is a time for family, love and giving – not only of gifts either!

Today the children, my mom and I are going to go through all the kids toys and they need to select 2-3 toys that they don’t use all that often and they think other children will like to give to the local children’s charity shop.  They also collected some money on a walk with the child minder to use towards giving a “Good gift“.  The child minder has also put the money she would have spent buying each of the children gifts towards this fund and together all the children will decide what to donate their money towards.

I’d love to give some other little gifts for the kids to share with others. Things like taking a big bag of home-baked Christmas cookies to the old age home around the corner or doing some other good deed; cleaning or sweeping someones icy walk way (maybe we’ll get hubby to do that!).

Let’s make this a season for giving and not just receiving… anyone else got good ideas of gifts to give??

A different sort of birthday…

It’s that time of year again when I add another year to my already pretty big pile! I am now officially IN my 30’s!

My birthday wish this year was to do the Christmas thing; put up the tree, visit Santa and generally just make the house sparkle! Hubby always has a little moan about it and this year I just wanted to spend it together making some Christmas memories!

After a little sleep in this morning I was woken with coffee and some lovely presents from some special people!

We spent a lovely afternoon walking around a shopping centre seeing Santa’s grotto, got to ride on a carousel like a princess in a carriage, rode a mini train and managed to get a photo of all 3 little monkeys with Santa!

Mulled wine warming on the stove we broke open the box of decorations and the tree. Dad decided to do some lamb chops on the BBQ so was standing in the freezing cold around the fire with the little man all bundled up (man I wish my house had a fire place!!) whilst Jenna, my mom and I put up the sparkly bits, dodging Tamsin as she tried to pull down the tree!

All in all a lovely birthday weekend has been had; definitely one filled with lots of precious memories! Next year has a lot to live up to!

Some tree bling!

To go along with the crafty theme that has been going on lately here is some of the tree bling I made recently!

Once again Pinterest inspired me and I thought it would be a good idea to combine this with a gift for some lovely little nieces and nephews living across the ocean in both SA and Aus!

The back and front views – with initials = less arguments!

I was going to make some for my kids and thought “how lovely would it be if all the cousins had the decorations, one for every year until they finally leave home”.  Well we’ll see how long that continues but I think it’s a nice thought!

And add that they’re light enough to post with the Christmas card – which I really must get on and write – or delegate to hubby! And that they were so easy to make with some left over felt from the advent calendar!

What you making for pressies this year?!

All in the name of Teddy!

My baby loves her Teddy of that you can be sure! She was given him for her first christmas and she hasn’t let go of him since!

It’s strange how they attach to something of their choice! Even though they get offered so many others they always seem to go for the one you don’t think they will.

This is a very special teddy, it’s her special Grandpa Teddy! I love that she loves the one present her grampa had a hand in choosing. Grampa just turned 81 this year and lives in South Africa so she doesn’t get to see him much but I thinks so sweet that everynight she goes to sleep with a little bit of him in her arms!

Jenna with her grampa!

Yesterday I accidentally took Teddy to work in the back of my car after dropping her off at play group! I didn’t realise until I got a frantic phone call asking if I knew where he was! I was gutting when I realised, espcially when I was only going to be home at 9:30pm!! Oh man bed time was going to be a challenge!

Teddy under and thumb in mouth = sleep = peace and quiet for mum!

I happened to look across my office at about 5:30 and noticed one of my managers packing up for the night and suddenly realised he lived in the same town as us! I flew across to him and practically begged him to take Ted home for Jenna. He was a little bemused – he has no kids himself, but agreed to the request and soon Teddy was winging it home on the M1!

Oh course my ever confident daughter then greeted him in her knickers and still had the cheek to moan that mommy had taken it in the first place – and after all that effort!

Teddy over the last few weeks has started looking a little sad… he has got a bald patch and a hole! She started pulling his fur to get something out of it and just didn’t stop… takes after mom I guess… and then the hole happened. And the finger had to go in the hole, and the hole got bigger, and bigger! Time to go to mommy’s teddy hospital!

My very overdramatic sad looking little girl with a holey teddy!

Half hour later he was mended… and I had a happy little girl! Let hope this Teddy lasts forever… cause I don’t want to see what will happen when he does eventually fall apart! Oh dear!!

A sewn up and restuff teddy – ain’t he cute!!