Monday, December 22, 2014

I really need to start thinking about Christmas

At what point is it deemed too late to put up the Christmas Tree I wonder? We still haven't got ours up but with 3 days to go I have high hopes that tonight will still be acceptable. I have it all planned in my head. It's just a matter of going outside with the little saw and finding that perfect She-oak to cut down. We'll then sip champagne and delight in the sultry sounds of Diana Krall whilst gazing at our adoring offspring working harmoniously together to decorate the tree in a slow and careful manner. The smell of the pudding on the stove with the brandy infused fruit that I lovingly prepared days earlier will be wafting through to the lounge room as I delight in placing the presents I bought in July under the tree. 

In reality, Daniel will get lost in the messy shed before he manages to find the saw, there are still no presents under the non-existent tree and no pudding either. When the saw is finally found, marital relations will be brought to a head as a passionate debate over the height of the living room ceilings ensues. As always we will come to a compromise and cut the tree to the size I suggest. It will be too tall. Whilst I retrieve the box of decorations from the spot I left them temporarily a year ago the dutiful Husband in his wisdom will cut off the top of the tree instead of the bottom leaving the tree with an unexpected flat top that I won't roll my eyes over because it's Christmas. The offspring will be having their own lively debate and negotiations over who gets to put the 'good' decorations on the tree whilst Flynn sees his first Christmas bauble (a glass one of course) which he thinks is a ball and therefore flings it across the room where it will smash to a million pieces (this happens every year we have a male toddler in the house at Christmas). Precautionary socks will be retrieved from the sock mountain and the dust-buster will now have to make an appearance drowning out Diana's soulful tunes and  thus bringing the Christmas cheer that began so promisingly only 5 minutes earlier to an all time low. There will eventually be tears, probably mine, and to top things off the dog will eat the pompom off the Christmas Bear's hat (it's made of wool you understand) and when one of the kids lets off a squeal of alarm the dog will drop the bear and then nick off with any remaining baubles and take them to his secret stash at the side of the house. We will go and retrieve said baubles and find our missing shoes. The innersoles will be chewed to oblivion but the shoes will be mostly in tact. There's always a silver lining isn't there? At least we don't have to look too far from the source to find the remnants of our comic books.



So what's the cause of the extra Christmas tardiness? We've been flat out dealing with the Strawberry Situation. Those Sweet Annes truly are the gift that keeps on giving. Just when we think we've picked them all, merely a few days later they are back again in all their glory. No one here in the family is complaining about the lack of Christmas cheer within the home. I think it's because Christmas 2014 marks the beginning of a new Christmas tradition for us, one that involves a busy mum and dad dealing with the Strawberry Situation, but one that also involves an abundance of the most delicious fresh berries and a home that smells like the strawberry shortcake doll I had in the 80's.  We're celebrating in a different way and very happy to do so.



To keep up with the oversupply of strawberries while at the same time dealing with the annoying rain of last week that would have ruined them all we spent a day stripping the rows, cleaning, hulling and packing them into vacuum sealed bags for the deep freezer to use for jamming over the winter months. If I had the foresight to know what a hit the vacuum sealer machine would be with the kids I'd have wrapped it in a red bow for Christmas. They would have been thrilled. Here is a 10th of the amount of Strawberries that occupied our kitchen the day we picked 350kg of Strawberries. I stole myself away from the vacuum sealer to snap the sight of not one, but 3 gorgeous men working away at my kitchen bench, it would have been rude not to.



To further ensure not a single Strawberry goes to waste we have also signed up for 2 markets a week - the Twilight Market on Friday nights at Sandy Bay and the Farm Gate Market in Hobart on Sundays. We have done 4 markets in the past 10 days and they have been so much fun but my goodness they are a huge amount of work in the 12 hours prior to each market to ensure the strawberries are picked fresh and packaged to perfection, not to mention juggling all of this with the 5 kids. At least the Teachers gifts were easy this year - Strawberries for all!



This has all coincided with my annual weekend away with Eleanor in Sydney.  This is a trip we do every year, just the two of us, and it is something very special that we do regardless of how busy things are at home. It is our early Christmas present. We go to the Ballet at the Opera House.  This year was the "Nutcracker" and it was absolutely beautiful. We went to just one shop, preferring to see another live show instead of buying clothes and so we saw the musical "Wicked". I had seen it 5 years ago and knew she would love it given we listened to the DVD ad nauseum on our caravan trip around Australia. It was just as fabulous as I remembered.

I think I've created a monster.



The weekend also saw my Grandfather turning an incredible 97 years old. Sadly, just a few days before his birthday he was admitted to the hospital with an infection and too unwell to attend his own birthday party. He was still in reasonably good spirits when we visited him in hospital and it is hoped he will be out of this week. But he is 97 and it is really hard to see him so frail. With  family members coming from all corners of the country to see him on his special day, we made the decision to visit him in hospital individually and then come together at my Aunty's house to celebrate his birthday even though he couldn't be there to blow out his candles. As hard as it was to not have him with us, he would have loved the fact we were all together in his honour.
Finally, this busy time of year has also culminated in the final day of school for the year with wonderful reports coming home for all of the kids, a Presentation Day, and 3 dance concerts in the last 2 days. Aren't these Tutus beautiful?
So that's what has been keeping me away from the computer these past few weeks. I am not kidding when I said to Daniel today "I just need to have a little lie down before I start thinking about Christmas". There's still 2 days left, plenty of time. Anyone else having a slow start to Christmas or am I creating a new record on tardiness?


25 comments :

  1. Oh wow! I'm sure you'll pull it all together and have an amazing Christmas day!

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  2. Good grief Mel I think I need to go and have a lie down - you've been SO busy. But what a thing to be busy with - beautiful sweet smelling strawberries - don't think I've ever seen so many all together! Your comment about discussing the height of the tree made me laugh - it's exactly the same here. This year Mr K decided to play it on the safe side and go for something a little shorter than usual - not happy with this I decided to put it on a small table - now the angel is jammed at an angle between the ceiling and the top of the tree (at least she won't fall off!) You take your time with Christmas - I bet it will be just fab x Jane

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  3. In Germany the tree is only put up on 24th December, with none of the children seeing it until the candles (yes real candles :-)) are lit.

    Those strawberries look amazingly scrumptious!

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  4. Oh Mel, thanks for the giggle this morning with my coffee! It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little marital disharmony or sibling angst would it! I'm so pleased the strawberry farming has started with such a bountiful crop, here's to many more hectic, tiring Christmases!
    Wishing your beautiful family a wonderful Christmas and every happiness in 2015 and beyond.

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  5. I am about the same, but we have 2 days to go! I have to work today (from home while looking after the kids) and we are going away tomorrow...but I can do it. I think....

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  6. My goodness I have NEVER! seen so many strawberries. What a wonderful way to start your new farming venture with such a wonderful harvest. That has to be a sign of great things to come in 2015! I hope that it will be great. As for Christmas, it will be warm and sunny, you can always decamp to the beach and have a BBQ and chill out day - much harder to do that here!! I hope that you will have a great day though and find some time to relax after all the busy of the berries. Happy Christmas! xx

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  7. Your Christmas tree decorating experience had me giggling. I can just picture the fun to come.
    Wow, all those strawberries. It doesn't seem that long ago that you were planting them out and now look at the size of your harvest. x

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  8. My to do list is longer than the time remaining. Things will have to remain undone. The dog photo made me laugh. Falling asleep at the scene of the crime, wonderful. The strawberries look utterly fantastic, you should all be very proud of how well it is all going. What a gorgeous looking cake that is. How lovely that you all gathered together to honour your grandfather. I hope the tree all gets sorted satisfactorily. I'm sure it will be very pretty. Enjoy the next few days Mel. CJ xx

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  9. Oh my goodness all those lovely strawberries! I'm yet to really feel in the Christmas spirit myself. My sister's flying in from Brisbane tomorrow afternoon, so that will probably help. Wishing you guys a lovely Christmas Day - hope you get a chance to relax a little bit as well! x

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  10. Tradition in some countries is for the tree to go up Christmas Eve, so relax, you're not too late;) Love all those strawberry pics:) Lovely you and your girl got to keep your tradition:)
    thought of you when I saw this recipe
    http://www.becomingness.com.au/blog/raw-strawberry-lemon-macadamia-cheesecake

    Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas:)xxxx

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  11. You have indeed been busy! There's still time. And just visualise that huge sigh of relief when you get there (and the huge celebratory drink you'll have earned).
    Fingers crossed for you 😊
    Sarah x

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  12. I loved this post! That 1st bit is so funny :-) Phew, you've been super busy. I hope you get a chance to put your feet up over the festive season! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! x

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  13. Your berries are beautiful, your Christmas tree decorating scenario is hilarious (I can totally see all of it happening, especially the dog!), and it is wonderful that you had a bit of a holiday with your daughter. I think we may have it a bit easier here in the Northern Hemisphere, with Christmas coming at the cold, slow, and dreary time of year. Too much else going on in our summer times!

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  14. Look at all those amazing strawberries...350kg? Holy...well, strawberry!
    Christmas is feeling a little odd this year so far, I've been distracted with other stuff and it being Christmas Eve and all, I REALLY need to get my shit together. Today's distraction? Small boy with pneumonia, sigh.
    As for comic eating dogs, so glad I saw that pic again after insta....nothing short of excellent lovely :-)

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  15. Thanks for the laugh this morning, Mel! It sounds like it's time to create some new traditions, most of which revolve around strawberries. :-)

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

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  16. Our whippet is the same....shameless. Very naught, but very funny!

    Merry xmas. X

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  17. This is just a wonderful post Mel, I would just love to be a fly on your wall. By now Father Christmas will have visited and I hope you are enjoying a great Christmas Day. Lots of love to you all. Christina xx

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  18. Mel, this is the BEST Christmas post I've read. I just loved it!

    Two days is plenty of time to get organised. Enjoy x

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  19. Love your style Mel, I too slid into Christmas Day with too many other events taking priority in the lead up, must be something in the DNA. 'The day' itself was great, as I hope yours was too. Love to Daniel & the kids xoxoxoxo

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  20. Merry Christmas, you have all been so busy. I love the first pic, so funny. The labels for your strawberries look great. Hope you had a wonderful day. Elaina xo

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  21. Brilliant post, although just reading it was exhausting! I never put my tree up before the 21st and often it's later, and never wrap presents before the 24th unless I have to post them, so I think you had plenty of time, I do hope it worked out that way. Wishing you the best year yet in 2015

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  22. Wow, all that strawberry goodness- congrats Mel they look amazing and taste even better I'm sure! For the first time in forever I was very organised this year and our tree was up on December 2nd. Would you believe I have already taken it down, record time for usually unorganised- I like to say 'relaxed' me! Hope Christmas Day with your gorgeous family was wonderful and you found some time to put your feet up and relax with a glass of wine at some stage.
    I love that you take Eleanor away each year. We gave Ruby tickets to the theatre for Christmas, her and I will make a day of it in the City. We are both really looking forward to it. I can't wait until my girls are a little older and I can take them to see the classics and favourites from my childhood like Annie, Sound of Music and Oliver. Take care x Dre

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  23. Your strawberries look so enticing! What a busy time you have had with the run up to Christmas! So sorry to hear that your Grandfather was taken ill and couldn't attend his party. I hope he is feeling better. Hope you had a good Christmas and the tree this year was perfect! Happy new year to you all, Sarah x

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