Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wrapping up 2009

Christmas was amazing!

Regular readers know that for one reason or another, Roarke and I don't usually enjoy Christmas as much as we could, so it has been overwhelming for both of us to have actually had an amazing time. We have lots of family memories and treasured things to store in our hearts from this season and it has gone a long way towards wiping out the negative "ghosts" of Christmas Past for us.

We knew Christmas was going to be "lean" and had focused instead on the real Spirit of Christmas. As God promises, when you seek Him first, all the other stuff gets added on - and that is exactly what has happened.

Not only have we found real pleasure, encouragement, even excitement in serving through our church throughout December, but also in finding pleasure in family-created moments, sharing hospitality with friends, doing special things.

On top of that, the icing on the cake, was an amazing gift from another Christian family which turned out to be Guitar Hero 5! This blew us away! It has been an excellent family present with us all getting involved (well, Jonathan would if we let him near the guitar!) and just the fact of such a gift was uplifting.

As if that wasn't enough, we also got given a gift of money, for us to spend on the family for Christmas. It was a significant amount, which allowed us to buy a new television and dvd for the family - another big gift for us all to share and benefit from throughout the year. This also meant being able to pass our old freeview tv on to Josh to use (until it dies) which means his brothers can watch things with him in his room, and he also now can watch the movies, documentaries, and other things he would love to watch if only he could get at the tv (which is mainly Jonathan's domain during the day!)

Christmas Eve we called in to see family friends, and it was lovely to spend a little while with people who have been such a constant source of support and friendship to all of us during the year.

On the way back to the house we decided to surprise the boys with spending the last little bit of the money on a meal out at Frankie & Bennies. It was a perfect thing to do and we all had a brilliant time. My boys are such good company - all four of them - and I don't think we stopped laughing and talking for the whole time we were there.

Jonathan, at 2 1/2, has an incredible sense of humour and is even making up jokes and plays on words, and is constantly making us laugh.

Christmas Day we opened our gifts, then went to church for the Christmas Day service. It was exactly a year since we moved to BCC and made it our spiritual home, and it was lovely to look around the room and see so many people who we have connected with. They have welcomed us as a family, cared for Jonathan, looked out for William and Samuel and given them space to grow in a safe environment (I know some people with SEN kids are not blessed with a supportive or understanding church/congregation so I don't take this for granted at all), and have helped turned Josh into a strong young man. I have a lot to be thankful for.

After we got home the boys got to unwrap the mystery present that was the guitar hero game.

Christmas lunch went well. I was told by everyone that it was the best Christmas meal I'd ever cooked. The timing was perfect, done to the minute, even with allowing for having been out at church. I'd made dauphinoise potatoes the eveninig before so just had to cut it into portions and reheat alongside the trimmings (pigs in blankets and stuffing). The turkey was perfectly cooked, moist and tasty, which was a relief!

We finished off with Mum's legendary (gluten free) Christmas pudding.

Boxing Day was a nice quiet family day, then on Sunday after the two church services we went over to Mum for a buffet lunch with her, my brother and sister in law and kids, and my SIL's parents (over from Hungary for Christmas). The boys got presents from them which gave them some of the books and games that they'd wanted.

I got an ice cream maker, and some doughnut trays! It didn't take me long to use the trays...

I also got the Hairy Biker's Food Tour of Great Britain Cookbook and I have already used several recipes and adapted them to be gluten free!

One of the recipes I tried out for Mum when she came over for lunch on Tuesday, and another one for a friend for lunch yesterday!

Our church is having a "Daniel fast" (going without rich food, and basically sticking to vegetables, fruit and water) for 21 days in January so I've had to experiment with my cooking this week, and we are gradually using up food and winding down preparing ourselves both physically, mentally and spiritually for the fast that starts on 3rd January.

Fortunately it starts the day after the boys have their resheduled party and finishes the day before Samuel's birthday, so that's a blessing!

Tonight we are off to our church to share in a new year celebration. We'll share an international supper (everyone bringing a cultural dish as we have I reckon at least 20 countries represented in our congregation!), have a "BCC's Got Talent" show, a short service, then fireworks and then dancing.

We all stayed up late last night and the boys are still in bed now (sadly I didn't get the chance to lie in!) in order to be able to stay up till 1am :-)

I am so excited about 2010. Again, regular readers/friends know that I have major, major issues with New Year's Eve and even more "ghosts" that haunt me, so for me to be feeling excited is something that hasn't happened for, well, probably nearly three decades...


tiz me said...

awwww I'm so pleased for you all :-)
sending lots of love
dawniy xxx

Jules said...

Happy New Year to you all, hope 2010 brings good fortune, good health, and happiness :)

Lisa G said...

Glad to hear you had a good Christmas, happy new year!