Hi njg & NM
I truly feel for you both, and all parents waiting to go through an appeal. I was a nervous wreck last year, and this forum kept me sane, so please come back whenever you need a shoulder to cry on.
I do agree with the idea of keeping the whole process from the kids. My son had no idea of the date of our appeal, and children's time-frames are different from ours, so he floated along, oblivious. I think girls show more interest in the broader picture of life, so it will be more difficult to manage their expectations.
As soon as that appeal letter is posted, work out how you will handle it on the day. Write it down, put it in an envelope in a safe place, and forget about it. Treat yourself to a massage, a new bottle of bath foam, anything, and do your best to consider the whole problem closed!
Worrying about it will not help your child and won't change anything between now and the appeal. Our Christmas was ruined by this process last year, and I wouldn't like to see anyone go through the same thing. It just isn't worth it.
Nervous Mum - if you would like to PM me for more support, please do.