21 December 2009

Days like yesterday

We had a wonderful time yesterday.  We celebrated Christmas early because our family is full of chefs, and chefs work on Christmas day.  Our visitors arrived just as loud thunder cracked right over our house and the rain started to fall.  The front and back doors were open to let the breeze through and while we exchanged gifts, ate lunch, talked and laughed, the rain continued as a pleasant backdrop to the day. It was fairly dark outside, even though it was early afternoon, but the fairy lights surrounding us twinkled and the candles on the table glowed and we all had a lovely time.  There is a lot to be said for a simple Christmas.  We had very few decorations and a tiny tree but lots of love made it a very special time for Hanno and I, and I hope for everyone else too.  Thank you to all those who sent special thoughts to us for our Christmas day.

I took a quick photo of the table while everyone was serving themselves from the kitchen bench and Hanno sat beside me watching the scene.  Our menu was nibbles of St Agur blue and Mersey Valley vintage cheese with crackers,  cold roast chicken and beef - organic and local, a garden salad and potato salad mainly from our dwindling garden supplies, pickled beetroot and cucumbers bottled up from the abundant harvests a few weeks ago.  Dessert was a hazelnut roche and chocolate truffle ice cream cake - made locally.

Everyone was hungry, they hardly ever eat breakfast (grrr), so it wasn't long before we were all sitting around the table enjoying our feast.  The rain continued to fall all afternoon, there was great conversation, and at one point we all went outside to visit the chooks and to see our new chook feeder. Ha! Homesteading, rainfall, chickens, soap, bread and cordial recipes always creep into the conversation when people live simply.  I don't think it's odd any more, it's normal for us and our kids.

I have never been the type of woman who, when young, hoped for a particular type of girl to marry my sons.  In fact, I don't recall thinking of them being grown up and married.  I guess the only thing I remember is that I always hoped they'd be happy in life and pleased with the choices they made.  Now I can tell you that I cannot think of two finer and more suitable women for them.   Both couples are happy - I can tell by their words as well as the body language and that makes me one happy and proud mother.  These two girls have slipped quietly into our lives and have made our future brighter.  I rarely think I'm a lucky woman but when I see Shane and Sarndra and Kerry and Sunny together, I often think it.

I doubt there is a more difficult task in adult life than to raise children to be happy, productive and ambitious adults.  I remember all those days of nappies/diapers, sleepless nights, combining work and parenting with varying levels of success,  the years of teen angst, first girlfriends, the discovery of alcohol and drugs and the hard work of consistently living the values we wanted to instil deep within our boys.  Days like yesterday are the payoff. 


  1. Loving your posts - they bring sunshine into my home each day, thank you. I have a suggestion if that's ok - Wiould you be able to post how to clean the outside of your house please? My home is weatherboard and we often have dusty rain that leaves the verandah and windows in an awful mess. Any ideas and suggestions would be appreciated, Thank you, Vanessa x

  2. What a lovely, heartwarming scene of a wonderful family Christmas. And given your generous descriptions of your sons' partners, I am sure there are many younger female readers who would secretly love to have a mother-in-law like you! :-P
    Your menu and decorations sound lovely and are yet another inspiration to us all. I have not been in a "Christmas mood" this year, but with four children, ages 11 down to 5 months, know the importance of establishing traditions and creating memories. You have reminded me that I have much work to do!
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  3. What a happy yet peaceful Christmas picture you paint Rhonda! You must feel so very blessed to be able to spend such joyful time together as a family. I am wondering whether you recall consciously forging a relationship between your two boys so that they may have a strong friendship as adults, or whether it was just nature at work? I have only one brother and following a rather difficult childhood we have very little to do with each other. As a mother of five I find myself trying to provide opportunities for my children to work together and learn to rely on each other somewhat - with no idea whether it makes a difference or not! I do find myself fast-forwarding and praying for them to remain close as adults and being involved in each other's families. I hope that you are still basking in the happy glow of your Christmas by the time the rest of us are catching up next week.

    All the best,


  4. I have 3 boys under 3 and I often think about the wives they will marry. Not a control thing, but more that I pray that a special girl who is honest, nice, etc will be brought into their lives. I also pray for those girls now and for their own parents who are raising them. I look forward to when my boys marry them and I can tell them I have been praying for them for 20 odd years!!

  5. You're living the dream! My boys are 17 - 13, and I hope in the future when I look at them I'm thinking the same things as you were yesterday.
    Merry Christmas.

  6. Sounds like you and your family had a wonderful, blessed Christmas! I'm so glad.
    Rain is such a calming sound...and I love the smell that comes after, along with the fresh feeling outside. Hope you continue to have a loving season!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  7. Hello everyone!

    Tracey dear, I hope you're allowing the older children to help you. Not everything should be done your way, many Christmas things benefit from being custom built by children. Allowing children to help build their Christmas helps you on a day to day level but it also gives them a feeling of self confidence because you trust them to do it. Merry Christmas, love. I've enjoyed your interesting comments during the year.

    Leabea, Shane and Kerry were born just 12 months apart and have always been close, almost like twins. They developed their own twin language when they were little and even now are firm friends and well as brothers. They often socialise together, Sarndra and Sunny get along really well too. That happened naturally and it was only later that I realised how special their relationship was. What you're doing with your own children will make a difference but I think the thing that makes the biggest and most significant difference is for you and your husband to consistently be the type of people you want your children to be. They will always take more notice of what is, rather that what they're told.

    Frogdancer, I think year 17 was the toughest one, for both my boys. I hope your future holds many days like ours yesterday.

  8. This weekend I had one lot of family over for Christmas and next weekend we will have another lot of family. Busy busy busy! I discovered this blog this morning after my brother suggested (over Christmas Pud) that my chooks may be off the lay because I have been giving them melon scraps. I am currently investigating! You have been put into my favourites and I will be a regular visitor. Well done on encouraging a more 'simple' lifestyle...not to mention that it is very timely given the current economic climate.
    Kind regards,
    MAC - Cedar Creek (Gold Coast)

  9. I was thinking of you yesterday Rhonda I am delighted to hear the day went so well. How pleasant to have rain falling, I've almost forgotten what all day rain sounds like. Love the pic where the four young people are serving their lunch and The Lovely Alice smiles on. Of course she wasn't waiting for something to be dropped, of course she wasn't. ;-)

  10. What a lovely feeling of family harmony you convey. That´s what parents strive for but the path is sometimes a rocky one. Enjoy your rewards and think of the possible joys in store.
    I am so looking forward to our family gathering. In spite of our 30+ years in Sweden, we still celebrate Christmas on 25/12 not the 24 as Swedish families do. Our little granddaughters will fill the house with joy and laughter.

  11. Hello Rhonda,

    I'm so pleased it all went well for you. You'll have a lovely day today just remembering the conversations and the joy of it all. Perhaps you might even get a chance to put your feet up for awhile.

    Blessings Gail

  12. Sounds like a lovely day with the ones you love and who love you. We got some of that rain here yesterday on the Gold Coast too, lots of lovely rain. At first I thought it was hailing it sounded so loud and felt so long since it had rained! It cooled everything down beautifully. :)

  13. Rhonda, your blog today just oozes contentment and peace. I could sence it with every word you wrote. A precious time to add to your collection of memories.

  14. Hello Rhonda Jean, Hanno & family

    Thank you for sharing your early Christmas Day with everyone - just lovely.
    Merry Christmas to you all,

    Cheers - Joolz

  15. Happy Christmas, friend.

    Signed, mum of two boys,

    Devonia xxx

  16. It really is the small things in life that make us happy. Family around us, good food, children that have grown to be wonderful adults. Bravo to you and your husband.
    PS..funny to see one of the boys wearing shorts and having Christmas dinner. It was snowing here all day! LOL
    Merry Christmas

  17. Your posts always touch hearts, and this one was a tender one from your own heart.

    Thank you for sharing your lovely family Christmas.


  18. It sounds like a wonderful day.

    Best Wishes,


  19. I can't tell you how good it is to read a post like this. With my two little boys being only 3 & 5 and quite the handful, I need a good pep talk like this. They might just turn out to be fine young men who chose fine young women to be with after all.

    Actually, I do trust that they will be great young men, but sometimes, some days I do worry! :)

  20. I'm so glad that your Christmas day was so fantastic.

  21. Rhonda I so loved and related to your post today. This will be our first christmas in 31 yrs without any children at home. Two of them offshore, 1 visiting her man on a minesite and 1 spending time with his girlfriend's family. My Mum,91 yrs old, arrives on the bus from perth today to spend christmas with us. My heart aches for Mum's going thro tough times with their children but offer them hope, that it mostly works out in the end when they grow into responsible young adults achieving their goals and enjoying the good things this life has to offer them.

  22. It sounds like a wonderful day. I love christmas even more since we've simplified. So much nicer than all the stress I used to feel. :) We're keeping it lovely and simple this year too - especially the food. And I'm so proud of myself. I haven't bought the kids one single thing that takes batteries this year. Yah!

  23. What a wonderful day you describe!
    The rain seems to me to be that much more special, I love rain when I can stay inside and visit or read or just piddle about in myhouse and get the little details of things done.
    Your table is beautiful and the menu sounds fantastic.
    I am so happy for you that everything is happy and comfortable with your sons and their paartners!

  24. So pleased you had a lovely day Rhonda as we also did. Your added bonus of that fabulous rain must have just topped it all off. Where we are on the Gold Coast seems to miss any decent rain. We had a very light shower which would have dried as soon as it hit the ground.Very disheartening.
    I am on baby sitting duty today having a fun time with my three year old grandson.

  25. What a great day for you all. The weather was a blessing and I am sure it made your day more pleasant. Happy Christmas to you all.

  26. A lovely family celebration, I thought your table looked very pretty!

    It's such a blessing and so much fun when our "kids" start bringing home partners, and the family expands and becomes new again.

    And....just a side note...our daughter Jen started Pen Friends at the forum...thought you'd like to know :)


  27. Glad to see you had a wonderful Christmas feast. I am working so hard to get my sons to this point. The oldest is on his way, and the youngest if fighting it tooth and nail. I look forward to the days of family celebrations with wives and grandchildren.

  28. wow, handsome looking lot! You're one lucky lady and they are very very lucky children! (well, grown ups, more of) Nice to see other people's christmas, especially a sunny one!

    lots of warmth,

  29. Huh, NICE!!!!!!!!!

  30. What a sweet post... and I agree, that it's truly wonderful to see that someone can love our sons and daughters as much, if not more, than we do!


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