Our family Christmas

It’s weeks since my last blog post – but I’m not going to apologise… Since my last post, I’ve been swept up in a new level of busy – even for me – including Matt’s 40th birthday, a ridiculous number of activities and events for the children, multiple choir performances, Christmas prep, various volunteering commitments and a whole load of work.

Despite the lack of sleep, we’ve had loads of fun though – we held a surprise birthday party for Matt, I watched Alex and Sophie perform brilliantly in their Christmas plays, I launched a little website for a local community initiative, Matt and I went to two live music gigs, and I managed to sing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with my choir the night after my office party. So with all that going on, I haven’t felt much like spending my nights on my laptop blogging – and I desperately needed a quiet Christmas break.

And I’m certainly achieving that.  I am sitting by the fire with a chocolate orange, sorting out the photos I’ve taken of the last few days.  We’ve had such a lovely time catching up with family and friends.

We started our break with a trip out to Berkshire to visit my brother and his family. After a delicious pub lunch, we headed to The Look Out for a run around in the adventure playground.  Here’s Alex and I with my sister-in-law Sarah, and niece Rose (sporting some rather fine face paints!):

The cousins had a blast exploring the playground together:

Before we left, I tried to get a photo of the four of them together – here are my attempts!…

They were having far too much fun together to indulge me!

This is the best I managed!

Matt did, however, take some lovely shots of Alex who was more obliging on his own!  He looks so grown up now – can’t get over that this is my baby:

As the daylight faded, we headed to nearby Crowthorne to have dinner with Matt’s dad and Michele – during which I failed to take a single photograph 😦

After a glamorous night in a Premier Inn on the M3, we headed off to Southampton for Emilia’s 4th birthday party.  Sophie and Alex went wild in the softplay, before calming down over biscuit decorating!

They had such fun seeing their friend Mimi and celebrating with her.

Christmas Eve saw another journey – this time up to my parents in Northamptonshire for Christmas itself.  We’ve sadly reached the point where I think Alex knows that Santa isn’t real (I thought I had years left!), but he did a good job of maintaining the magic for Sophie who was totally caught up in it all.   She carefully drew a picture for Santa and was meticulous in leaving out goodies for him and his reindeer and was so excited to find stuffed stockings and a little pile of presents from the man himself!

The presents they most wanted were from Matt and I, and Alex was beside himself with excitement to open up a Nintendo Switch (bought against my better judgement!) – cue much Super Mario fun in recent days!

And Sophie – who had been asking for a “walking, talking, real-life unicorn” for months – adored the garishly pink interactive unicorn we found for her!

She pulled off some pretty enthusiastic reactions to all her gifts – check out this face seeing a brilliant Playmobil set from her Uncle David!

After all the present excitement, we headed out for some fresh air (partly to let Alex try the new football boots he got from Santa!)

The rest of Christmas Day passed by in a series of enormous meals, games and opening toys – it was a lovely, peaceful day.

Boxing Day was clear and sunny (if absolutely freezing), so Matt and I took the kids out to the lovely Salcey Forest for a walk. It was pretty challenging persuading the children to hit the trails as there’s a lovely adventure playground on the edge of the car park:

But we eventually managed the get walking. The children enjoyed lots of tree climbing and clambering on all the logs that were dotted around the trails.

They ran and ran through the beautiful woodland, avoiding the formal path wherever they could!

And explored the tree top walkway, climbing right up to the canopy.

Heading back to my parents’ place, we stopped in at Stoke Bruerne for a wander along the canal – and were lucky enough to be invited to help operate a lock for a passing boat!

We even managed a family portrait before we headed home for yet more yummy good and a sneaky trip out to see the new Star Wars movie while the kids were asleep!

Merry Christmas – I hope you’ve all had such lovely, peaceful Christmases x

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