Well Christmas is all over for another year. When we left Perth 8 months ago we had no idea where we would be for Christmas. We had thought that it would just be the two of us some where but as it turned out we had a fabulous Christmas shared with James, Kristy and Brendan in Canberra. Ken and I flew down to Canberra on Tuesday 22nd arriving at around lunch time. Walking down those steps and seeing my beautiful James and his gorgeous wife, Kristy just made my heart swell. It has been 15 months since we have seen them both - the last time being their wedding. Whilst we keep in touch all the time by phone there is nothing quite like being able to wrap my arms around them both.
After collecting our luggage James and Kristy drove us the 30 minute drive to their house. I must say we had thought that it was dry up here in Queensland but it is nothing like how dry Canberra is. There was not a bit of green to be seen. And because of the water restrictions nobody is allowed to water their gardens or wash their cars. It is amazing how drab it all looked for this reason. I must come back again in the winter to see what it looks like when it is green. After meeting Annabelle (their cute cat) and relaxing for a few hours it was back to the airport to pick Brendan up (he flew in from Perth). And now I am REALLY happy - both my boys with me - god I missed them SO much.
Next morning James and Kristy took us for a bit of a drive around town. We drove through the embassies, past Parliament House and up Anzac Parade, then up Mount Ainslie to take in the view. Then it was time to hit the shops. When asked what I would like for Christmas I had mentioned that I really needed a new handbag so all the kids (ie James, Kristy, Brendan, Ashley and Brittany) decided to pitch in to buy me one. After checking out all the shops I finally chose the one I liked and they purchased it for me. It is a beautiful Italian leather in a soft blue from Saba. At first I thought I wouldn't be able to get it as it was more expensive than the budget allowed but when Ken mentioned to the shop assistant that Brittany managed the Perth store she called her on the phone and we were given a very good discount which made it affordable. Wasn't allowed to have it till Christmas though!!! In the evening we went out for a meal to the local yacht club - food wasn't crash hot but the setting and the company were awesome. We then headed off to trawl the streets looking for Christmas lights which was a lot of fun.
The next day Ken and I decided to go out and do a bit of sight seeing so we borrowed James' car and headed first of all to old Parliament House. We just love this kind of thing - so full of history! We wandered into the offices of past Prime Ministers and all the staff who supported them. We sat in the Cabinet room where we did a mock debate of an issue that actually was debated in that very room in John Curtin's rein. We then did a tour with the guide. After 3 hours we still could have spent more time there but had more sights to see so decided we would have to come back again when we are next in Canberra. Next we visited the new Parliament building - certainly a lot more upmarket than the old! The afternoon was then spent exploring the War Memorial. This is an amazing place where you cannot help but come away feeling such respect for all those who have fought (and those who still are) in the wars spanning our history. We spent hours here but again could not see it all so that too is on the list for when we come back again. We went home tired but happy to one of the many yummy meals James and Kristy cooked for us.
Next day - Christmas Day - YAY!! And it was raining!! Since we had arrived the weather had been very hot - around 33 each day so to wake up to a lovely cool day of 23 and the glorious sound of rain was just wonderful. First the present opening - then a yummy breakfast with berry pancakes. A bit of fun with the new 'Lips' game while the turkey was cooking. A wonderful Christmas lunch, more games, phone calls to and from the girls who were feeling very sad they could not be with us, and the usual afternoon snooze. And of course I had to take what has become the traditional Christmas photo on the couch. Only sad bit was that Ashley and Brittany (and Jaime) were not there to share it with us. What a fantastic day.
Boxing Day meant the sales! We all managed to come home with something nice. Saturday was another lazy day then on Sunday Kristy dropped Ken and I off at the National Museum. We had intended on spending a couple of hours here and then catching a taxi into the city but at 4 pm we were still there - there was just so much to see. Another thing on our list of things to come back to.
Monday was my birthday and boy was I spoilt. First pressies then off to the National Art Gallery. There was a special exhibition of artwork that had been brought over from Paris which we were very keen to see. There were some stunning pieces - each of us found our favourite - and there were some that we just could not get into. We timed this really well as we had gone there right on opening time and it was busy enough then but when we came out we could not believe the size of the queue! Home then for lunch then out again to spend the afternoon playing 'Pitch and Put' - a shortened form of golf. This was great fun made even more special for the company. Home again for a couple of hours then James and Kristy took us all out for dinner to a Turkish restaurant. One of the best birthdays I have had - I felt very spoilt and very loved :)
And then it was time to come home to Queensland. I have no idea when I will see my boys again but I know I will treasure this week as being a very special one. It is so lovely to see the wonderful men they have become - I am so very proud of them. And I am so blessed in my beautiful daughter in law. Kristy went to so much trouble to make sure we had a wonderful time and spoilt me rotten - buying me little gifts and taking care to make sure I had a relaxing Christmas. What a very special family we have :)