We arrived home early on the Friday morning before Liam's birthday, which was on the Sunday. Friday we spent relaxing, unpacking a bit, and some friends came over for the afternoon and brought Stripey back. Saturday I spent fixing the washing machine and dishwasher which had both decided to have their own holiday, and then getting organised for Liam's party.
Sunday we woke up and did Liam's present giving in the lounge room. Caitlin gave him a wooden cat (to match Millie's) and a ceramic dragon. Tony and I gave him a Tasmanian Devil puzzle, a toy lemur (not Schleich, but a similar brand) and an iPod Touch - exactly what he wanted. I'd loaded his favourite games on it so he was entertained for the morning while we finished party preparations.
|Liam and his Lemur|
|Liam and his iPod|
|Liam's birthday cake|
Eventually we packed up and went for a walk around part of the Sanctuary - we had 13 adults and 13 children there so we were quite a group. We did the wetland walk, the lyrebirds (a couple of us saw the male lyrebird singing), the reptiles and the parrots. We'd invited everyone back to our house because Liam had a piñata waiting - most of his friends came back (actually all our homeschooling friends). The kids played outside for a while then the piñata called - it was shaped like a crocodile and very cool. The tail soon came off and everyone was able to whack it and get a few lollies - and the rest of the body survived so Liam was able to keep it! Everyone stayed and played for a few hours and one the guests provided some dinner so it was a very relaxing afternoon and evening.
|Liam and the piñata|
We were back into our usual routine through the week, with ABA, gymnastics, joey scouts, homeschool gymnastics and guides to go along to. In between Liam did a lot of the craft from his birthday kit, we watched tv and read a lot of books, played games, played with the animals (real and toy and imaginary), went to the library a couple of times and went to friends' houses.
On Friday we had Millie's birthday party. It was almost exactly the same group of people as we'd had here on Sunday - Fi and James couldn't make it and we had one other local family come along - otherwise it was Mum and Dad and 4 other homeschooling families. It was a very casual party, the kids (aged from 2 to 10 and an even mix of boys and girls) played inside and outside, with lego, craft, toys animals, on the trampoline and swings, listening to music, looking for our real animals in the yard etc. We had a beautiful cake and Millie's presents included art and craft supplies, a game, books and a felt board with a pet shop scene. Tony had finished work early, it being a Friday, so he was able to be here for most of it. A few of the families stayed for dinner and by this stage some of the kids were playing Minecraft on the computer and they kept us up to date with their new discoveries - playing as a social group they can explore and discover much more quickly than on their own, they really work well together.
In the midst of the evening part of the party Tony took Liam to Chirnside Park for him to go to the movies with his Joey Scout group - they saw Monsters University and Liam was very excited to go without any other family members, and to be able to buy his own snack to eat and drink there. There were still people here when he got back so he also didn't feel like he'd missed out on the party.
The other mothers (and one dad for a while) and I had a great chat sitting in the kitchen, it was a very easy party to get ready for and a very relaxing one while it was taking place.
Yesterday we had a visit from Pete and Cynthia who are staying at Mum and Dad's for the weekend - great to see them and Liam was thrilled because he'd wanted his uncle Pete to come to his birthday party but we'd left it too late to organise. They'd just visited the chocolate factory and came with gifts - giant chocolate freckles for the kids and a chocolate making kit and fondue set for the family. The kids enjoyed showing Pete all their lego (he was the first one to buy us any lego so he kind of has a vested interest) and the animals and their tree climbing skills, and I loved having a casual chat - we haven't had many opportunities to just visit each other over the last 20 years or so - hopefully we can do it more often.
Today Caitlin is going to an archery day with guides, and we have some friends coming over this afternoon while their mother has something else on. So another social day coming up and looks like this coming week will be quite busy as well - although its the last week of term so then there will be a change in our rhythm for a couple of weeks after that.
|The view out my window this morning as I wrote this blog post on a chilly morning of -5 C|