Come on ladies and gents, roll up, roll up and place your bets!
If you want to vote for the Carnival winner you have 24 hours left to do so - click on this link to go to the relevant post if you haven't had the chance to read them all yet (and why would you? Working your way through 28 posts is not the work of a moment, I can vouch for that myself...)
Current standings? At the moment Grit is coming out in front, though Nappy Valley Girl is hot on her heels, and Single Parent Dad is also showing good form.
So go on, you know you want to play favourites. Make a comment and make a carnival blogger's day....
(I hope to post details of the winner on Wednesday).
Now, believe it or not, it's the first day of Advent. The Boys and I pulled the advent calendar out of the Christmas decoration box earlier this afternoon, and after a slight scuffle it was decided that Boy #1 gets to go first on the odd days of the month, and Boy #2 gets the even days. Obviously, Boy #2 disregarded this ruling forthwith and went through the pockets of the calendar, pulling out any and all figures that took his fancy, and using the velcro on the back of them to stick them anywhere but the calendar itself... Democracy is a wonderful thing in the season of Goodwill, I tell myself as I try and shut my ears to the squabble, wonderful.
Not sure I will still be telling myself that when we reach December 24th and the baby Jesus figurine is missing from his little '24' pocket, stuck instead to a cushion or a fuzzy dressing gown never to be seen again however...
But in any case, December. Good grief - what happened to the rest of the year? Well, let's see...
January - Boy #2 had chicken pox and Husband was made redundant from his job at The Bank. Our initial panic was followed by acceptance, followed by 'thank god they're going to pay out', followed by the ultimate statement of denial; 'It's not that hard to find work. How long can it take?'
February - Denial ski holiday. Boy #1 distinguishes himself by not being the loudest cryer on the nursery slope.
March - Yet more Denial. Husband and I take a trip away without the kids, also skiing. Husband hurts his foot 4 days before we leave, so spends the 3 days of our ski-paradise trip sunbathing at the foot of the slopes. Meanwhile, I enjoy the freedom of going up the slopes without having to worry about lost hats, loo stops, and dropped gloves. Oh yes, and without having the kids with me either. (Boom boom!).
April - Still no work for Husband, but planning for our imminent trip to Australia distracts us from the darkening economic skies. On the up -side he is spending more time with the Boys than ever before, and as a result, their Dutch is coming on in leaps and bounds. This is great, but means the time when I cannot understand their whispered conversations gets ever closer...
May - Australia. Bliss. (see May blog posts).
June - Husband starts a 6 month project working 3 days a week in Russia, whilst I finally face up the fact that the porktastic lady next to my boys in our Australia photos is, in fact, me. As a result my gym challenge to go 3 times a week for a year starts. My eating habits, however, remain the same. (A tactical error, in retrospect).
July - The Great British Summer kicks in with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. The holidays are spent in wellington boots and raincoats, and playdates are hard to come by as Expat Central's residents desert our shores for their second homes in France, Italy and christ-knows where. (And no invititations to visit, I note...)
August - still British Summer - or it would be, if you could see it through the rain. But finally, a weekend trip away from the wet to the warmth of Provence, where I am totally underwhelmed by the difference my 2 1/2 months of thrice-weekly gym trips have made to my waistline. Perhaps a trip to St Tropez with it's beautiful beach bunnies was not the best way to build my self confidence?
September - Husband still shuttling backward and forwards between London and Moscow. The possibility of a move to Mother Russia can no longer be disregarded. And Boy #1 starts school with accompanying tears, guilt trips, and gnashing of teeth. He's not too happy about it either.
October - we (or rather, I) take our heads out of the sand, face up to reality and make a fact-finding trip to Russia where we decide a move there could work. The next day, due to the economic outlook, the Russian contract stops. The best laid plans and all that...
November - stress beyond belief. The Russian company are dragging their feet over payment. Since June Husband has been travelling back and forward and staying in hotels at his own expense. The possibility of a complete change of life-style comes knocking at our door as the t-crossing and i-dotting prior to payment gets dragged out beyond endurance by the various parties involved. Eventually, though we are paid, and the wolf retreats from our door - but he's still out there.
December - Advent. Thank God. Finally, something to feel cheerful about. Boy #1 returns from his Sunday catechism class with images of Jesus's love spinning round and round the room like a top that never stops. What the teacher actually said was 'Jesus's love goes on and on, from one person to the next, and it keeps on giving.' Boy #1, however seems to have more of an impression of a whirlwhind you could trip up on. Hmmm... (Better not mention that bit in the blog and give the doubters more to laugh about...)
Overall then, 2008 - whilst not over yet - has to-date been an 'interesting' year... As a result, I am taking no bets of any kind for 2009.