Little Penny's first Christmas went well. She has slept a couple whole nights for the first time. That feeling of waking up after six hours of sleep is the best gift. I'm feeling immensely more lively and the whole world looks more bright.

Christmas in Australia is different compared to Christmas in Finland. First of all, +36 degrees of heat and the palm trees swaying in the wind make Christmas decorations mainly humorous . Santa Claus figurines have fans in their mouths and Christmas ornaments hang from the plastic branches. On the table decorations, koalas and kangaroos have elf hats. At the Christmas table, everyone has a big cardboard candy next to their plate that is torn open with a pop together with the one sitting across the table. The one who gets the contents of the candy receives a small gift, a paper crown, and a tasteless joke on a small piece of paper. Christmas food and presents are all on Christmas Day. Nothing else happens on Christmas Eve except finishing touches and wrapping presents. Santa visits every home during the night between Christmas Eve and Day, leaving the presents in the living room. You have to leave cookies and a glass of milk out on the living room table in the evening for Santa, and those get tasted during the night. You also have to leave carrots outside for the reindeer. So no one sees Santa in their home, because he visits during the night while everyone is sleeping.

On the morning of Christmas Day, the kids rush to see what Santa has left under the tree. That happened here as well. The gifts were unwrapped after a lovely Christmas lunch. There was ham, duck, chicken, steak, oven roasted vegetables, potatoes, beans, carrots and peas. Many different types of sauces, bread, salads and crayfish. So Christmas food is pretty similar to that in Finland, maybe a bit more diverse with the meat selection.

Penny got a swimming pool seat where she can sit and kick along as well as lots of toys and clothes. I got a five-day cruise that stops at one of the islands of New Caledonia. I gave Stuart a weekend in London as a present, which we'll do on our way to Finland. Penny's passport just arrived in the mail and now finally we can book flights for February. I'm incredibly excited about our trip to Finland. Little Penny will get to se her relatives and Stuart will see snow for the first time!! Our aim is to also fly up to Lapland to Rovaniemi for a short visit to let Stuart feel the cold 🙂 Ideas are welcome!
My dress by Muotiputiikki Helmi

Christmas went very pleasantly at Stuart's family beach villa with his family. There were five kids under six years old running around and everyone was full of Christmas cheer. The twin boys got mopeds as presents and the little girls got princess stuff. Everyone had a nice day.

Stuart said this has been his best Christmas and thanked me for our daughter. He has now been spending time with us on his Christmas break and has finally begun to see the lighter side of fatherhood. How Christmas feels so much like Christmas when you see the children's smiling faces and here the squeals of joy about a ballerina dress. Stuart saw how all the kids experienced Christmas differently and what to expect in the coming years. Samantha's daughters Layla 11 months sat and walked along holding onto supports, and Bella 2 years ran around fast already and participated in everything. The five-year-old twin boys drove their mopeds in circles in the field like old pros. Kids grow up so fast and already now it feels like the tiniest baby times are behind us.

Penny is learning to grab hold of things, searching for sounds and always smiling sunnily when you smile in front of her. How much your own attitude changes as well when you begin to have some contact with that little human being. Everything isn't so stressful, but rather there is a real person in there that is present more and more each day.

I'm happy and tired. Going to therapy was more or less a waste of time. My therapist said they had never heard of anything like this and didn't really have anything new to give to our relationship problems. We apparently already know how to talk openly and we understand how diverse the situation is. We aren't expecting miracles overnight but are letting time pass so that things settle in place over time. Our relationship is still humdrum, a bit cold. Maybe small steps towards paying more attention to the other, with hugs, kisses and humor more like what it used to be. Of course there are notably more of those tired days than those nice cheerful ones, and on those days nothing seems to go well with fixing our relationship.

We are both aware of the state of our relationship and we are attempting to fix everything that can be fixed. Yes, my breakdown had to happen right before Christmas so that all of goodness could come to light. Sometimes the biggest arguments and blow ups swing the sleigh back on track and it's again a bit easier to travel onwards together. When you weigh all of the good and the bad, you can see which weighs more. Once you've made your choice, which side you want to cherish, you begin working towards it. Nothing in a relationship can fix problems better than communication and freedom of speech.

My best tip regarding talking is to never begin talking of serious matters in the midst of an already ongoing argument. Take the subject up when you are both feeling ok and have a full stomach. It's much easier to get the other to understand your point of view than while yelling at the other and bellowing smart ass comments or accusations. Remember that the problem can only be fixed once it's acknowledged. You can't fix a problem if you don't even realize that it exists. No one is a mind reader.

Merry and peaceful Christmas to all of you. Thank you for the support and understanding we've received! You can follow our life via

Sini Ariell

Translated from the original Finnish text by Stiina Rasimus-Sahari


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