Thursday, December 02, 2010

Three signs it's nearly Christmas...

Sign #1 - the preparing and consuming of the Christmas calendar!

Each year I make a Christmas calendar for the boys.  The first few years when it was just Erik, and later Luey as well, I used a wall hanging with hooks on it, to which I attached small wrapped presents, but once Bryn arrived the presents got too heavy for the wall calendar and I started having Christmas boxes or bags on the mantel piece. That was also about the time I started the jigsaw tradition, where each present would contain a piece, or pieces of a jigsaw, that we would construct together as a family leading up to Christmas.  We don't do jigsaws a lot throughout the year (they occassionally pull one of the simpler ones out of the cupboard on a rainy day) so this has become a Christmas tradition for us.

I have tended to help the process along a little by spending an while on the eve of the 1st of December, sorting all the "edge" pieces that form the border of the puzzle from the rest of the pieces and storing them in a separate bag.  I then divvy them up over the first few days of the calendar so the border can be created first, making it easier to put together the middle (because they don't get the box to look at for reference!).

Each bag also contains a lolly or two, on the first of December they usually get a bit more in the way of lollies, to kick start the calendar, and also on the 24th (which is when we celebrate Christmas in this household).

So, then the bags or boxes are put on the mantel piece to be discovered on the morning of the 1st of December, and ever morning thereafter up to and including Christmas Eve.  I don't number the days, as many people do.  I realise that, being a calendar, there should probably be number, but usually we also have a little ornamental tree with drawers under it containing decos that get put on the tree each morning, and that works for counting the days  This year, that is still packed in the garage (oops - it's been a tough year for remembering it's nearly Christmas, hence this blog post!)...

Here are three of the boys getting stuck into their bags!  Ari got his as well (under supervision so he didn't EAT the puzzle pieces).  A couple of years ago, we also received this great puzzle felt for storing the uncomplete puzzles on - which is so great for us because we don't have room to keep a puzzle laying about in semi-complete form for three weeks!

From the first morning we were able to find two border pieces that belonged together.  Over the next two mornings Erik and Luey will be at camp, so then the puzzle pieces will stack up a bit as we wait for them to come back and raid their bags (two mornings worth of lollies and puzzle pieces!).  I expect the border will really start to come together then considering each boy gets 5 puzzle pieces each morning (so 20 pieces are added to the puxxle each day).  And that brings us to...

Sign #2 - The school camp trip.

Ah, yes, for the second year in a row, we have a child in grades 3/4 - in fact, this year we have TWO children in those grades  - and that means SCHOOL CAMP!  Both boys have been planning for school camp pretty much since...  last school camp!

Erik went last year, with mixed reviews.  Sadly, he was subject to a little bullying at last years camp, but ever the optimist that he is, he decided to actively ensure this year's camp would be different!

The first thing he did was enlist Luey's help in drawing up a list of kids to form a group and vy for a cabin!  Erik has a future in project management, I'm sure, because he knows how best to employ people's strengths to his own advantage!  Luey is the people person out of the two of them, so while Erik had one good friend he wanted to put on the list (a boy who would be attending as a day tripper), he cleverly enlisted Luey to ring in the other six!

 Dave and I were a little concerned when we heard the final list of co-conspirators.  But like the other (no less concerned through the laughter) parents, we decided it was best to let the teachers decide what they thought they could handle.  Apparently, they didn't think it was a problem, so late last week Erik and Luey came home triumphantly celebrating their own private victory!
 Erik wanted to pack on Saturday (for departure the following Wednesday morning), but I managed to talk him out of it.  The amount of stuff they have to take with them is mind-boggling, but as I sit here with rain and hail pelting the study window, I'm kind of grateful they have so many changes in their luggage!

Being in different classes, they boarded different buses with their respectively buddies.  Erik informed me that he and J (his bus buddies) weren't calling themselves "partners" but rather "part-nerds" - nerd humour...
Next year will be the last 3/4 camp for a few years, but the following year, Erik might go to the grade 6 camp, and Luey might follow in his footsteps the year after that, and then it'll be Bryn's turn to go on the 3/4 camp, so we have many camps ahead of us yet, though not all of them at this time of year!

I have to say, there aren't a lot of us parent with more than one child in the 3/4 section, so Dave and I had a fairly good reason to be celebrating the "freedom" of not having two extra people to deal with for a couple of day - a holiday of sorts.  But we were, by no means, the loudest celebrants as the buses took off!  There were mums (not so much dads) whooping and cheering as they child left.  It really bordered on the distasteful!  If you're really THAT happy to be rid of the little ****** for a couple of days, just keep it to yourself - how do you thing your child might feel?  Maybe I'm being a bit over-sensitive, it just got up my nose...

Sign #3 - Rosellas munching it up in the trees!

On the short walk home we spotted eight rosellas having a feast in the trees along our street.  Such beautiful birds (and of course, I've probably identified them all wrong, but I'm sure someone will come along and correct me!)...  It's definitely summer (despite the over wet weather - who thought we'd ever complain about too much rain ever again?)...

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Good Job!