LOVING the school holidays (shame about the rain!)

So the irrigation system isn’t working and we’re waiting for a plumber, but at least we don’t have to worry about the plants – it has barely stopped raining all week! New Zealand’s native Christmas tree, the Pohutukawa, is blooming around Wellington city and brings the promise of sunshine soon – hopefully in time for Grandma & Granddad’s arrival in the country on Tuesday (♥ LOVE the ‘Pohutukawa Tree Children’s Song♥).

Meanwhile, the drive is being dug up by the council as they need to fix someone’s sewer pipe, so we’re having to park a distance from the house (not great for unloading three children, in the rain, along with preparing for guests, a Birthday party and Christmas – but, at least we are in our home – there’s hundreds of folk in the Nelson region that have been evacuated due to floods and land-slips).

Renga renga lillies along the drive-way

In other news Alice has been making it to the potty with good results – thanks to it being warm enough for her to run around half dressed. Of course, she’s ‘hit and miss’ and if distracted will stand and fountain spray whatever is in her path. Number ‘twos’ are definitely still a stand-up and let gravity help take care of things – so no potty yet… and she likes to do them in private – I do try to say, ‘Go bathroom’ when she gives me the sheepish, ‘I’m going to have to poo look’. Unfortunately, she runs off and hides some place other than the bathroom and it’s not long before I hear, ‘Mummmmm, Alice has done a poo!’ from one of her sisters, or Alice comes to say, ‘Look! Poo!’. Not bad work for a 21 month old though.

On the Christmas front, we’ve been singing away with gusto. ♥ Christmas carols ♥ are sung around the clock. In fact Alice and Sophie fell asleep to the sound of Olivia Newtown John singing, ‘Silent Night’ on one occasion this week and tonight I sang ‘Away in a Manager’, whilst ♥ rocking Alice in my arms and watching Sophie snuggle up in her bed ♥ (Charlotte and Dan are out enjoying a ‘sleep over’ at Wellington Zoo with some of Charlotte’s class-mates!).

With all the singing, dancing, piano playing and guitar strumming going on we’ll have plenty of performances for our annual ‘at home’ family ♥ Christmas Eve show ♥ (I’m sure Grandma and Granddad will pull something out of the hat too – they’re currently in Sydney, adjusting a little to the time zone and charging up their batteries before arriving here!).

For the first week of the school holidays I’m pleasantly surprised at how well it’s gone. Charlotte and Sophie have got on reasonably well – of course they get sick of being in each other’s pockets a little too – but I encourage them to seek ‘quiet’, individual time, where possible, rather than letting things get to boiling point (which of course does happen from time to time… ‘Mummy! Charlotte kicked me!’…. ‘Mummy! Sophie is annoying me!’….).  As for young Alice, she is loving having her big sisters around – but I’d rather she didn’t parrot some of what they do and say (Alice actually faked a sulk and said, ‘Sophie annoying me!’ in the car today! She then smiled and laughed!). So, I have my hands full (as the man at the dry-cleaners remarked on Tuesday morning at 10am – he actually looked at his watch and gave me that look of… ‘Oh my, it’s not even lunch time yet and you’ve got all day to go!’). I did like that the man at the dry-cleaners and Father Christmas (yes, the real deal! – at Kirks on Thursday morning), both told the children, ‘Now, it’s important you take care of your mother!’).

Surprisingly, I’m actually getting a fair bit done at home – despite having three busy bodies to watch out for! I’ve nearly finished turning the garage into a cool party space for Sophie’s 6th Birthday party on Wednesday, I’ve done my Christmas shopping, I have goodie bags prepared for the party and a timeline of games and activities planned (Sophie called a party planning meeting at 7am on Monday morning, before breakfast).

♥ The house is on target for being reasonably clean for our important guests arriving on Tuesday and the party on Wednesday ♥; though my creative children can turn a clean-home into something entirely different and faster than a cold weather front pushing through (the photographic evidence is all here!). There’s also the unforeseen events – such as the bird that flew into the lounge on Monday and left a few presents on the walls, curtains and sofa before I caught the poor, frightened creature and released it back into the garden.

I’m just hoping for some sunshine after the rain, so that I can keep the girls out of the house a little bit more – in a bid to keep it tidy at least for Grandma and Granddad’s arrival and the party! Otherwise, they’ll find themselves arriving to a home of crazy dress-up costumes, teddy bears on duty at every turn and a dining table turned into a den for picnics on the seven seas.

Dens and dress-ups

Thankfully, there’s the indoor delights of Te Papa, the swimming pool and the cinema as wet weather options. We saw ♥ ‘Puss in Boots’ ♥ with some lovely friends on Tuesday morning. At the end we all danced in front of the big screen making shadow puppets! The movie was so much fun – certainly not the original ‘Puss in Boots’ story, but one about the events leading up to the sword fighting cat’s meeting with Shrek and his friends. Very cleverly done!

There’s also the central library – which we headed off to on Wednesday morning so that ♥ Alice could enjoy a sing-along with her under-two pals ♥. The girls were made up to see the library having a big book sale and came away with a few good reads (and persuaded me to invest $50 in a set of 2005 Encyclopedias… if they dare say they are bored over the school holidays, they know what the answer will be!).

Charlotte & Alice at central library

We spent Thursday morning gaping in wonder at the ♥ Christmas window displays ♥ of Kirkcaldies and the decorations throughout the store.

Window display at Kirkcaldies

The girls were made up with having a good ♥ chat with Father Christmas ♥ (Alice was a little shy in my arms, but all smiles when the man in the red suit brought out the lollies at the end!). Sophie was given a really important job of remembering to put out a carrot for the reindeer and Charlotte was asked to help Mum 🙂

Father Christmas & Sophie

One positive about the cloud-cover and rain is the fairy lights are getting a good showing! Our home is certainly looking very festive and it almost feels a little like a Northern Hemisphere Christmas (without the freezing fingers and toes… I hear it’s snowing over in the UK right now!). The girls have all been ♥ colouring in some nativity print-outs ♥ I did for them (Alice keeps taking the heads of hers though!) and Sophie wrote a lovely ‘♥ Reindeer Poem ♥‘ using some prompts I gave her (which she first wrote up and then typed onto her blog).

Colouring in nativity scenes

The ♥ good ‘ole traditional games ♥ have been dug out of the toy chest and we’ve been playing ‘Twister’, ‘Scrabble’, ‘Monopoly’ and ‘Guess Who’ this week. We’ve made cakes and had ♥ fun with making glittery play-dough… ♥

Play dough fun!

We’ve danced in plates of paint to make a ♥ welcome banner for Grandma & Granddad ♥ and enjoyed long, playful soaks in the tub.

Charlotte's welcome banner for Grandma & Granddad

We’ve been to bed late, with no worries and no alarm clock to wake us in the morning. We’ve breakfasted at leisure and enjoyed ♥ fresh strawberries from the garden ♥. Ahhh, summer holidays – we LOVE! x

Strawberries from the garden dipped in chocolate

Linking up with the wonderful PaisleyJade: Things I’m Loving