boys at ChristmasWhile family and friends were battling a big winter storm to get to church on Christmas Eve and Day back in Minnesota, we were enjoying a beautiful warm sunny day here. As we did the year before, we opened presents on Christmas Day morning, went to church and then had a big Christmas feast with several of our friends hosted at the home of our pastor.

The kids first opened the presents that were under our tree. They were thrilled with all of them, but the favourites may have been the various Lego sets, a special Australian version of Monopoly and really creative fold-up photo books from Grandma Schumacher.

Shed-Game RoomThen we led the boys out to the shed for two big surprises: a table tennis table and a dart board. Lanette and I had been taling about getting a table (they don't call it ping-pong here), but hadn't found one at the right price. Just a week before Christmas I spotted one on eBay that was offered in an auction only to those who could pick it up locally. I jumped into the auction and won (over only one other competing bidder!). On Christmas Eve I was able to sneak away and drive 90 minutes across Perth to pick it up and then put it together in the shed late at night. Along with the dart board from Uncle Kurt and family, the shed which we never park in has become a bit of a game room now.

Boxing Day swimBoxing Day follows right after Christmas Day. I don't think we're still very clear on the purpose for Boxing Day, but we get the idea it's an excuse for another day to relax while watching the really important Boxing Day cricket match (this year between Australia and Pakistan at Melbourne's MCG), watching the start of the Sydney-to-Hobart Yacht Race, and going to the beach. So that's pretty much what we did. While swimming at our beach, Lanette realised it was the first time since arriving in Australia that she really went all the way into the water for a swim... as shocking as that may seem! She claims the water was finally close enough to bath water temperature.