Week two of summer holidays was focused on celebrating Christmas. We enjoyed time together as a family, time with good friends, and time at church. It was a wonderful week. We even got a little bit of rain!
We started our week with our annual "Christmas in the City" tour with one of my best friends and her two boys. After church we met up at the train station and headed to the city all together.
First stop was Darling Harbour so the boys could eat lunch and also play in the water park. I was disappointed to see that Darling Harbour had ZERO Christmas decorations up. In years past they have had decorations on the lights as well as Christmas themed flags. Whilst Joy, Peace and Love are Christmas related, I was still disappointed. But it didn't stop me from taking my obligatory Darling Harbour flags photo.
For the first time EVER we witnessed the pedestrian bridge opening. We couldn't figure out WHY it was opening though as no boats came through. Still, it was exciting to watch.
Monkey and Munchkin both enjoyed a LONG play in the water park.
Monster deemed it too cold (it was cool and windy) so he amused himself in the playground.
After the water park and a play on the playground, the boys were hungry again so we headed into the shopping centre food court for dinner. By the time we came out again it was dark outside and time to admire the Christmas lights. Whilst not Christmas related, I LOVE the lights on the ferris wheel!
From Darling Harbour we walked to the Queen Victoria Building to admire the GIANT tree there. It reaches from the ground floor to the ceiling (almost) and is covered in decorations made from crystals.
Our next stop was Martin Place to admire the giant Christmas tree there. We have been doing our Christmas in the City tour for about 9 years now and this tree is by far my favourite of them all!
After Martin Place we headed back to Hyde Park to see the light display at St Mary's Cathedral. But on the way we cruised past the David Jones window displays. This year they were based on the book, "Bear Stays Up For Christmas" which was pretty cute.
The lights at St Mary's Cathedral this year were a bit of a mixed bag. My friend's younger son was scared by the music so they didn't even get to watch the whole show. My boys declared the lights the best ever, but they were disappointed that there wasn't the usual story line lights show as well. In previous years there has been one story line light show, followed by the light designs and pictures of Mary and Jesus.
On our way back to the train station we spotted the Brushtail Possum picking hot chips (french fries) out of the bin. I suspect he lives in Hyde Park and is therefore very used to people. He didn't seem phased at all that a bunch of people had stop to admire him and take photos.
Along with celebrating Christmas, the boys and I spent a bit of time playing games... on Christmas Eve afternoon Monkey and Munchkin enjoy a Pokemon battle.
Christmas Day present opening time...
Christmas afternoon we enjoyed a visit from Uncle Ritchie and he enjoyed learning one of the boys new card games (Monopoly Deal). He even beat Monster!!
Later in the day I taught Munchkin how to play Battleship in preparation for the other card game the boys received... Battleship Card Game!
All three boys received new Pokemon cards and a new deck from Monster's Godmother and her fiance, so of COURSE they had to have a battle. Munchkin declared the cards the best ever!!
In the afternoon on Boxing Day, we decided to put together the Gingerbread Train kit I bought at Aldi this year. The three boys worked well together and helped each other. It was a joy to see. The only downfall of the kit was that you had to make your own icing and I had some difficulties with that.
Everyone got a turn with the icing, and each boy had their share of the decorations to place as well.
Their finished product, compared to the picture on the box!!
Boxing Day night we did our yearly tradition of going out to look at Christmas lights. We got a late start so just did a quick driving tour of one neighbourhood and then spent time at our FAVOURITE house. This house is decorated WAY over the top, but we love it. AND, he raises money for the Sydney Children's Hospital. We've visited him so many years in a row now that he recognizes us and we always enjoy a chat with him while we admire and photograph the lights.
The boys taught me how to play Monopoly Deal. I like it better than regular Monopoly, but I've still lost both games that I've played.
A good friend from homeschool group told us about another neighbourhood that did fantastic lights, so we headed out for a second night in a row (much earlier this time) to have a look.
We found a house that we accidentally stumbled across two Christmases ago but couldn't remember where it was, and then ventured through several nearby neighbourhoods that all did fantastic lights this year. Now that we know where it is we will definitely be going back next year.
The bonus of doing our light viewing AFTER Christmas is that we miss out on the crowds of people as well. Apparently before Christmas you have to park the car and walk through the streets as it is too busy to drive. I much prefer the quiet of Boxing Day night.
The boys continue to do stacks of independent reading for the library summer reading challenge. I haven't been as disciplined about photographing all the books, because I've been too busy making sure their lists are correct that they turn in each time we walk to the library! But the following photos give you an idea...
We read these two Advent books and enjoyed them immensely! The book on the right was a random find while doing a Christmas subject search on the library website and we were pleasantly surprised as the story was wonderful.