Some schools finish really really early in December. And if you are not one of those parents who proclaim loudly and solemnly, "Oh No. Eight weeks holidays with my children is just not long enough", then this L O N G summer holiday can be a challenge.
The main problem with this very long holiday is that during it children are not allowed to go to school.
That's it really.
I think I'm somewhere in the middle. It is lovely to have a break from the sometimes manic school routine. It's great not to have to make lunches and find four pairs of matching socks each day; and spend hours in the car driving back and forth to school. Replacing that with a more relaxed pace, some fun outings and even occasionally the odd hour of relaxation to be experienced.
But it is also a long time to keep four children with a wide variety of interests, happy and harmonious. Did I say harmonious? Cue manic laughing on my part...
So last week on a bit of a whim, we left the wild weather of Sydney, and exchanged it for very wet weather down the coast. My parents were joining us while Husband stayed behind to work - it being early December and all. I haven't done that drive by myself before. Jesse, who has been carsick a couple of times was resisting the thought of hairpin bends on Cambewarra Mountain. I wasn't keen on the idea of cleaning sick from the car, so we took a different route. One I hoped might be a short cut.
Which it wasn't.
Has anyone else ever driven for an hour with the time-till-destination on google maps not changing?
Finally we arrived in a little coastal town that appeared to have more kangaroos than people.
My mum was keen that the kids should feed them and that we should film it on our phones and become youtube sensations. When one roo that must have been close to six foot high when standing attempted to come inside our house in search of bread, I kind of went off the idea. No one wants to be internet sensations for filming their small children being eaten by kangaroos.
So after a few days of torrential rain, in which we were able to fit in one hour of tennis and several hundred games of Monopoly Empire (a particularly nasty strain of the game, which brings out the Gordon Gecko in even the most mild-mannered child), the sky cleared enough for us to race to a nearby beach.
It was just as I remembered from childhood: idyllic.
We went back again the next day (our last morning) and cheered as the sun and blue sky appeared! Beach cricket gave us some happy memories and the wet weather was all but forgotten.
We were all happy we'd made the effort to get away.
And now we've returned to the speedy run down to Christmas. Digging feet in to snowy white sand is no longer an option.
I'm trying to stay on top of things, and trying not to wake up in the night in a cold sweat about to-do lists - cause that would be silly, right?
Decorating has continued apace, and I may even have everything just the way I like it by mid-January.
Thinking too of the poor families who have lost loved ones in Sydney this week. It was a time in Sydney where for a while time seemed to stand still as we waited (and dreaded) the outcome of an act of violence and terror. Our hearts are breaking for the young children left without a mother and the families left without their wife, daughter, partner, son…
Hard to imagine Peace on Earth.. but praying they and everyone will know Jesus' love and true peace.