25 December 2010
Christmas Morning! Earl and I woke up early and were showered and dressed before the kids came to call us for present opening at 7:30. We insisted that everybody get dressed and brushed their hair for the photo sessionJ There was more resistance from the parents than the children for this rule which we have unsuccessfully tried to implement for years now. This year we got it right! And for once the children smiled and looked at the camera and I managed to get some half-decent shots.
We gave Jay and Joshua the new electronic banking, South African version of Monopoly. They were over the moon. We also gave them each a stability ball, which they have been wanting for ages. Our plan was to give Shannon and Simon each a pair of rollerblades but Cousin Heather gave Simon a pair for his birthday in November. So Shan got a stunning pair of pink, size adjustable rollerblades and Simon who is passionate about Lego got another box from us. Would you believe that a medium box of Lego costs the same as a pair of rollerblades?
Lisa gave Josh a watch and Jay a gym that attaches to a doorframe and can be used in several ways to do muscle developing exercises. Our boy is becoming physique conscious! Josh who was thrilled with his watch looked a Jay’s gift with wide-open eyes and I wondered whether it wasn’t a bit soon to be giving each boy a different present, competition between them being so strong. I took him aside and asked him if would rather have had the gym. “I like my watch, Gran buy I might use Aunty Carol’s Christmas Money to buy a gym too. I’ll first try Jay’s one out,” he replied. Our baby boy is growing up!
After all the gifts were unwrapped, oohs and aahs were uttered and thank yous were offered up we sat down to breakfast and then went to pack away or begin playing with our treasures. Needless to say, Monopoly was immediately set up and I had to read and help establish the new rules of a new version of an old game – and boy is it different! But like all the previous versions – it takes time to play and all had to be left in place when it was time to go to Glynis for lunch.
Glynis has a stunning new home in town. It is half an acre of ground, has big shady trees, an enormous swimming pool, trampoline and a sloping driveway which is perfect for skateboarding, riding bikes at break-neck speed or go carting. The house is rambling and spacious and Glynis hired tables and chairs and managed to seat 38 women and children in perfect comfort. The kids were in a section off the dining room so were apart but still visible to their parents. There was indoor/outdoor flow to the patio where the food was set out and everybody helped themselves to the main course. The starters were pâtés made by Lauren and they were on the table with savoury biscuits and easily accessible to all. The table was set with lovely Christmas decor, tall candles, crackers, hats, chocolate balls and pretty, Santa Clause serviettes. It was the first time that Glynis and Hilton had hosted Christmas in Kokstad and they have made it a hard act to follow. Well done, the Westerdales.
You can imagine all the washing up 38 people can generate after a full traditional Christmas dinner. Everybody contributed to the production of the food but all I did was the fruit punch and then took over half the washing up! Hilton’s dad, Noel, was in charge of the clearing and kept bringing in more and more dishes. After poking lots of fun at me, he offered to get others to relieve but I was on a role and there were many helpers drying so I kept going until the end. It was good to sit down with a cold glass of coke and chat to the family once all that was done.
It was after 5 o’clock before we could drag the kids away from the pool, trampoline and down-hill driveway. But finally, it was time to get everybody packed into the two vehicles and home to a bit of peace and quiet. Everybody was exhausted and although they wanted to continue the Monopoly, I made them pack it all up and encouraged them to start again tomorrow as some of the rules had been compromised and fights were beginning to spoil the fun. “It’s a new game, guys and we still have to get it right – tomorrow when we’re fresh and over the Christmas excitement we’ll start again.” Eventually they reluctantly agreed and by 8 o’clock everybody was in bed.
Sunday, 26 December 2010
The weather today was not as warm as yesterday, but the cooler weather was better for my energy levels. After breakfast, Lauren and Allan took the kids to Sean and Nicoline then went off to play tennis with friends. We spent the morning reading. I almost finished ‘When will there be good news’ by Kate Atkinson and Earl got stuck into our gift from the kids – “The Poacher,” by Div De Villiers who is a local in this area.
At 12, we piled Lisa, Laurie and Granny Nathalie into the Caravelle and went to have lunch with Sean and Nicoline Baker. A delicious Christmas spread prepared by Nicoline, her mom, Lily and Lauren was enjoyed by all. Afterwards Lily and I did the washing and drying up – it was not nearly as much as the day before.
We were home by 4 o’clock, had an afternoon sleep while Laurie organised the kids in a game of properly organised Monopoly. They are now completely aware of the rules and strategies and I hope will no longer need adults to help with the game.
The kids (our offspring) decided that Mom and Dad would love to watch Avatar the DvD and put it on for us. The younger kids were put to bed but Jay and Josh were allowed to stay up to watch although they’d seen the 3D version on the big screen. I am ashamed to say that we did not see what the fuss was about, after 10 minutes we excused ourselves, and went to bed. I know it’s the hottest movie this century but we both thought it a load of twaddle and found it impossible to sit through to the end.