Time for the hillbillies to head north

I've made acres of shortbread. I've spent lots of afternoons with my elderly cousin, and mornings and evenings emailing her children. I've wrapped the little niece presents. I've stocked up on chook food and arranged the chook feeding roster. I've washed and folded a lot of clothes and written five Christmas cards. Today we celebrated Brighid's final kindy days with a play dough cake and some special kindy rituals. We gave the kindy the three dress up skirts and they loved them. So special they are going in the box with the musical instruments (!). I got another special kindy certificate for my contribution. Apparently they are only rarely handed out. I got one when Fionn left as well. Between the two experiences, I've managed to never ever wield a broom at tidy up time, so really I'm a cheat. A successful one. This time they wanted to thank me for my efforts with the dress-ups for Christchurch kindies after the February earthquake. With Fionn I had done a lot of work with the kindy library.

Despite extensive organisation on my part, we have some magic to perform to be able to leave at 3pm tomorrow. I'd really like an entire day in the garden first.

But now. Now is the time for some wine and cheese and a little chilling out before the next stage in the journey.

What is my favourite thing right now? It is having Favourite Handyman off work as well as me. This morning we talked about what we wanted to do in Auckland. Out of the mish mash of seeing friends, helping my father in law and doing things with the kids, we talked about how we could extend the trip beyond Auckland, squeeze in a trip in the tent. The tents are being packed. It's great to see everyone else, but there is nothing quite so special as a bit of time away just the four of us. The kids clamoured for a certain beach, a certain playground, a certain camping ground, last time we were up north, so that is where we are looking. Before Christmas of course. Boxing Day camping madness is not our thing.

What will I remember about this year?
1. That I cut back my hours at work to spend more time with my Brighid in her last year before school. Totally worth it. Our Thursday "Mummy Days" have been gold.

2. That I got confident enough to sew adult gifts.

3. That through tragedy, I started to feel like my in laws are my family as well as my birth family.

4. I discovered Geraldine Brookes and Andrea Levy. I got back into attending book group.

5. I finally cooked a globe artichoke. More to learn on that.

6. Some paid work things. I don't blog about paid work. But I get to learn a lot about life at paid work.

7. Brighid almost severed an artery and survived. People at Christchurch hospital, back at work just days after losing homes and sleep and grieving and still worrying, are amazing.

8. 29 people dead and trapped in the Paparoa Ranges is 29 people too many.

9. That one day it will be our turn to look after our parents. That my siblings are sane and intelligent and wonderful and I love them and we won't be alone.

10. That I married well. We chose perfectly for each other.

11. That even though I am a useless sideline supporter at rugby league, my boy still loves it and I can more or less remember the right times to shout.

Have a wonderful festive season.

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