Sunday 26 December 2010

Rowan the shredder

Santa did arrive. Sean apparently checked his stocking in the middle of the night and took the presents out but it was sometime after 6am when the upstairs contingent could contain themselves no longer and began opening their stocking presents. Sharon and I got up when they advanced on the sitting room, diverting them back upstairs so we could see what Santa had brought them before waking Angus and opening his stocking gifts. The boys all got CDs, Sean and Finn got headphones, there were books, Smarties, wash toys, some little Lego, LED balloons, chocolates and the ubiquitous tangerines.

Santa had taken the milk, biscuit and carrot left out for him on the stairs by Sharon (the boys had been too eager to get to bed to do their festive chores), left a chalk message on a red love-heart on the bannister, knocked over a plany by the fireplace and left three sooty footprints on the hearth and carpet!

Once unleashed into the sitting room, the boys literally tore into the piles of presents, with Rowan particularly severe on anything in wrapping paper. He was indiscriminately shredding paper in a present-crazed frenzy, disregarding who presents were from, whether they were actually his and what was inside the paper! He almost had to be physically restrained!

Angus got a wooden Noah's Ark and a Dinosaur "Happy Valley" set as well as a bank and a turtle back-pack with rein attachment. Rowan got swamp monsters, a pinball machine (very noisy, which he loved, not surprisingly), a light-sabre, "Yoshi" (a soft-toy dragon from Finn), some clothes and a Fireman Sam set. Finn got a collapsible ball like the ones he saw in Hamleys in London in October, a Scooby-Doo card game, a Rush Hour Safari game, Magnetix, blow-pens, a light-sabre and a human torso 3-D jigsaw. Sean got an electronics set, a Lego Creator car, an Origami set, a human eye 3-D jigsaw and a pizza fractions game. Star of the show was the present from us, a Nintendo DSi XL and a game for each of them. They also got a Just Dance 2 game for the Wii from Nana and Papa. I augmented the Wii collection with a Wii Fit Plus and Balance Board as part of my fitness-oriented present to Sharon (and myself). There were various other books and stickers and stuff too.

This year the boys had made a point of getting each other and us presents, either by persuading us to purchase them or by wrapping up their own toys to give to each other. I received a bottle of cider that had been much deliberated over, according to Sharon. They had wanted to get me beer, but had to revise their plans when informed that I couldn't drink beer. I also got a box of chocolate truffles. Sharon got a brooch each from Sean and Finn that they had made at Alison's and a high visibility running top.

After pancakes and breakfast muffins, things calmed down a little as the boys took stock of their new additions. Needless to say, time on the DSi was the most cherished and sought after! Finn especially likes the camera function and being able to distort and manipulate pictures. The Magnetix was another popular plaything. Sharon "skyped" Tralee and Athlone to have some sight and sound of the rest of her family on Christmas Day, with Angus and Barry featuring as screen stars.

Our oven is on the blink. (Bit of a saga: thermostat wasn't working so oven was too cold. Man came about a month ago, said it needed a part. Took payment of the part, ordered it, didn't take note of who it was for, i.e. us. Finally returns with the part once Sharon gets a hold of him, cuts the wire to the thermostat in the top oven that was working OK and fits the new part in the bottom oven (we presume). Bottom oven is now too hot. Top oven has no thermostat control. Just what you want over the festive period.) Consequently the turkey was rather dry, having been cooked at too high a heat. The boys weren't great over lunch - I don't like this, I don't like that - which tests your patience and makes you seriously consider macaroni cheese with a sprig of holly for next year.

The day petered out quietly thereafter, save for some playing on the Wii Fit with Sharon and I doing slaloms and skateboarding. My main highlight of the evening was to see the start of the 4th Ashes test from the MCG. With the series level at 1-1 despite England's dominance, this was going to be crucial encounter. As I went to bed after the first hour's play, Australia were on 37 for 1. If only I had stayed up a bit longer...

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