We ended the week by going to the tree farm, selecting a tree and decorating it while eating Christmas Mince Pies. I always enjoy seeing all the decorations again and recalling the stories behind them - the year the kids made them, the person who sent them etc.
My favourite is "the Platts Lane angel". Many years ago Dh and I lived in Canada while he completed his PhD - in fact Mr 21 and Miss 18 were both born there. We lived in a student housing complex and I made many friends - young Mums like me whose husbands were also studying. The year my husband finished his PhD was also the year many of my friends' husbands were also planning to finish their studies. To mark what would be our last Christmas there one of our friends made angels for everyone using pinecones and acorns collected from the Platts Lane estate where we lived. So hanging that decoration always brings back fond memories of our time on Canada, all our friends there and of White Christmases. I must confess a summer Christmas just isn't the same!
Miss 13 and I went into the centre of town to see the Christmas window in one of the department stores - actually the only department store left in what used to be the centre of town!
While in town we took a quick look around other parts of the city centre.
Miss 13 and I have been reading Professor Carol's advent calendar and have also started listening to an audiobook version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I dug a literature study guide off the shelf (one area where we didn't do much this year so doing a little now is a good bonus) and we're learning about characterisation as we go. I've got lots more Christmassy ideas I'd like to do - both crafty and more academic - but time is running out . As usual December is moving far too quickly for me.
Miss 13 finished her Scouting year with a game of Laser Strike - a good time was had by all apparently, even if the rules were only loosely adhered to! She also had one last Sausage Sizzle - the final fundraiser for Jamboree. They (Dh is attending as an adult leader and Mr 16 is also going as part of the Youth Service Team - he'll be working on the IT base) leave just after Christmas for the 10 day event.
In other news Mr 16 sat and passed his learners license this week and is now pressuring me to take him driving at every possible opportunity. He finally finished the last of his Economics which I'm very relieved about. I had been joking with him that he'd end up furiously trying to finish it on Christmas Eve since "Santa won't come if it isn't finished"! Funnily enough that doesn't hold a lot of sway with 16 year olds. He spent this weekend at camp . The credible and realistic threat of my not driving him to camp until the Economics was finished may just have had something to do with it finally getting done! The camp was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Venturers (the Scouting section for 14-18 year olds) and involved mountain biking, water sliding, a psychedelic party and other fun events.
I had discussions with both Mr 16 and Miss 13 about how they felt this year had gone, what worked and didn't work for them learning-wise, what they wanted to do next year, and (especially important for Mr 16 since he'll only have another two years at most at home) what they thought they should do next year even if they didn't necessarily want to. They both offered some good insights and ideas (he likes work with an applied, real-world focus; she prefers spines which provide her with some focus but leave enough flexibility for her to follow her own interest as well) so I've got plenty to work with when I do so planning for next year - probably in the quiet ten days when half the family will be away at Jamboree!