Happy New Year! Well my plan this year is to keep our family blog going longer than the middle of February - which is all I managed last year!
The few weeks up to Christmas were pretty manic - all the boys' birthdays, plus having a cabin built in the back garden, plus various appliances breaking down, gas leaks, electrical problems, deadlines for making cards for a Trade Show, not to mention ordinary Christmas preparation!
Anyway, we all survived, and on Christmas Eve morning we packed (and I mean really packed in tight) the car and headed up to the Preston Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which is near Chorley. My Mum and Dad are living up there for three years while they serve on the Temple Presidency. Mum and Dad had permission for us to use one of the empty flats in the Missionary Accommodation Centre - the same building they live in.
We arrived after lunch at the same time as my sister Katy and her family, and my brother John and his family. (My other brother, Robin, came the next day.) We were pretty excited to all be together for a few days!!
Us unloading stuff into Flat 1.
After settling in and making up all the beds, Scott and the older kids went to Asda with John, and Katy and I went to Aldi, to get a few bits, then in the evening, Mum and Dad made hot dogs and we all hung out in Mum and Dad's flat. (Out the window you can see the flags representing the nationalities of the missionaries who are currently in the Missionary Training Centre, next door!)
Tom with one of John and Hannah's twins - Viv, I think!
Lucy with Hattie.
Our flat and the lounge were on the ground floor, and everyone else was upstairs. The kids loved running around the place, and using the lift! I took three of my nieces and nephews on a little walk...
Harry having a (brief) piano accordion lesson from Dad.
Dad showed us around a bit, including the big room with storage areas for each flat. Seemed like a good place for Harry! The place is really well organised.
No fireplaces! We had to make do with leaving stuff for Father Christmas and reindeer next to the lift. (The rest of the people living there seemed very patient with us taking over the place!)
In the evening, when the younger kids were in bed, the older kids and guys went off to play Mafia, and Mum, Hannah and I stayed in Mum's flat and watched 'Nativity' - we were all a bit worn out. I'd bought the film along thinking Mum might like it, and she really did!
Before bed, we left all our presents under the tree in the main shared lounge,
and hung stockings on our flat doors.