It's a belated greeting but we're finally back in Red Dirt Central after a whirlwind couple of weeks.
We had a great holiday. We caught up with family and friends, shopped, celebrated, drank and ate, fought fires, did lots of tourist-y type things with the kids and have come home absolutely exhausted. We've unpacked and I'm working my way through the washing, the kids have been busy finding homes for all their new toys and joyously greeting their old ones after a two-week absence (was it really only two weeks?!) and hubby has put up the shade sails and returned everything to it's rightful place in the yard while nursing a summer cold. I also returned to work today so have spent the day doing the 5 hour round trip to Port Red Dirt, just what I needed after the two-day drive back to Red Dirt Central!
First of all we had a wonderful Christmas. The kids were spoilt rotten. We gave Offspring #1 a new bike as he had rather outgrown his old one and Offspring #2 got a Dora art desk. Both were a big hit. Santa was also very generous giving #1 an electric racing car track and #2 a Wiggles guitar along with a very full stocking of bits and bobs each. I was also very spoilt and received a new mobile phone - completely unexpected and absolutely wonderful - a Bill Granger cookbook I had asked for and a 2 year subscription to delicious. magazine.
It was wonderful to see all the family. We visited my brother's new farm two hours south of 'home' and got to admire all the hard work he and my sister-in-law have put into renovating the farm-house. They have done a spectacular job and I am both deeply impressed and insanely envious, especially over the gorgeous kitchen. There was a total movement ban because of the high temps the day we were there so we didn't get to have a look over the farm but the air-conditioned living room was pretty darn fine by me LOL. We also caught up with as many friends as we could - sadly we didn't get to see everyone we wanted to but time got away from us - and the kids had a wonderful time playing with all the other kids they have grown up with.
I had to limit my shopping this year as we had to fit everything onto the roof-rack but I still did pretty well. I got a few new bits and pieces for the kitchen, a slow cooker being my new pride and joy, as well as clothes, shoes and stuff for the kids. I also managed to pick up a few scrapbooking supplies at various stores and was quite shocked when we arrived home to see just how much I had collected. Oh well, at least I know I'll use them all!
While we were down the suburb where our 'real home' is was caught in some terrible fires and we had some drama with our street being on fire and being evacuated. We were in regular contact with our neighbours (the across-the-roads, for regular readers) so knew what was going on and Hubby headed over to our house to turn on the sprinkler system on the roof that he had set up for just this event. We do have tenants in the house but certainly didn't expect them to stay and fight the fires. Sadly the house at the end of the street burnt down, it literally burnt to the ground and within a very short time there was just nothing left. The fire jumped the road and was only four houses away from ours but luckily the fireman contained it and stopped it from getting any further. Our street has one acre blocks with lots of bush, scrub and trees so we were incredibly lucky. The fire also swept around the front and burnt out a 10 acre block about 100 metres in front of the house - the two houses on that land were water-bombed by the helicopters (I can't remember what they are called) with the fire burning right up to each house but not getting hold of either of them. It destroyed everything else on the land and it's just 10 acres of burnt stubble. It was a very stressful situation and I'm so glad our house is okay while being so desperately sad for the family who lost absolutely everything.
In brighter news we also did some lovely tourist-y things with the kids. Sci-tech visited #1's school in 2007 and he had asked if we could visit "the real Sci-tech" while we were in Perth. It's too had to explain so please Google 'Sci-tech + Western Australia' if you're and out-of-town-er. We spent a great afternoon playing there and Hubby was in his element trying all the stuff and then working out how it all worked and/or launching into long explanations of how things worked. The Offspring just had a great time trying everything and making them light up, lift up and make noises. We drove through the city so the kids could see all the tall buildings - living in a cyclone area we only have a couple of two storey buildings so this was cause for great excitement - and all yelled out whenever we saw a bus/train/taxi/police car/any other vehicle that was worth getting excited about! We also visited the zoo and had a wonderful morning checking out all the animals - I'll share some pictures later in the week. The kids were very excited by all the animals and when we asked #1 which was his favourite he named them all so I think we can count that as a successful outing!
Anyway, I have work in the morning and still have chores to do around the house. I'll be back later in the week with pic's from the trip. If you've made it to the end of this essay-like entry here's a pic to reward your efforts... some sibling love on Christmas Day. Please note the very cute outfits from Santa - he really knows how to choose good stuff!