Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Our Christmas Letter

Gaye has always been a big one for the Christmas letter. I have always avoided it. This year we did one together. Here is 'tis without the photos ....


We have had a really busy happy year, with lots change and more to come in the next year.

After 10 months of looking we have finally found our new home. Recognising how bad the average renovators taste is (or maybe they have the good taste?) we stopped looking for a completely renovated place and bought our own renovators delight. We are currently in the process of designing and understanding (well trying to) builders quotes, kitchen designers, distinguishing between different white tiles and the intricacy of recycled water. The house is in a great street, close to everything that is vital to our day-to-day lives and we are really looking forward to moving and having more space in late March next year.

Clare is no longer preventing violence against women, but has moved to greener and somewhat saner pastures at the University. It is a new position with lots of autonomy and so she is enjoying moulding into something good and working out the idiosyncrasies of campus bureaucracy. It seems a bit like a fiefdom at this point, with separate entrances for staff and dignitaries at the recent Vice Chancellors Christmas do!

Gaye has continued to thrive on the thrills and spills of her role and is looking forward to having this particular view of the election process in March.

Not only did Thomas continue do very well at soccer this year, scoring lots of goals complete with the essential victory lap with his shirt over his head, Clare became an honest to goodness soccer-mum taking on the very important role of team manager. We all got very involved in the Socceroos World Cup crusade, including decorating the house in green and gold streamers and waking up in the middle of the night to watch the games, dressed up in appropriate fan gear, each with a set of red and yellow cards in hand to aid our cheering and jeering.

Now that the soccer season is over Thomas has moved on to circus classes somewhat inspired by our trip to Cirque de Soleil. This event has since been surpassed by Aunty Louise taking him and his cousin to see Kylie M***’s recent Homecoming Tour. That this was his first pop-concert was somewhat mitigated by the fact that he had afternoon sleep so he would last the distance. Gaye and Clare had a taste of things to come sitting outside Homebush stadium at close to midnight to pick them up.

He has continued to enjoy XXXXXXXX School and gained his learning medal this year. For the uninitiated this means the culmination of nine red awards and three blue awards - a combination of academic achievement, effort and good citizenship. His most amusing perhaps includes an award for ‘trying to solve his problems peacefully” He is very much looking forward to being the top of the school next year in year 2.

Gaye visited Tiwi again this year and enjoyed the cultural and sporting experience – coming home with five lovely pieces of art – three of which were from the disability workshop. It was great for her to catch up with friends in Darwin and to visit some of her former haunts. She continued her obsession with a lovely painting from a Far North Queensland artist at the University of NSW Art Show where proceeds support Aboriginal health and allied health students. Thomas, who now has a keen eye for Aboriginal art, actually picked it from the collection.

Thomas and Clare started the year with a trip to Heron Island where he learned to snorkel and she learnt all about the day spa. Later in the year we all travelled across to Western Australia for a couple of weeks campervanning up the west coast. The best day started at 4 am (we were sill on Sydney time) with a dawn visit in our PJs to the spectacular Pinnacles followed by warm porridge and swimming in our undies at Hangover Bay. Western Australia really is quite beautiful and very different from our coast. We had five lovely days at Monkey Mia where Thomas got to feed the dolphins and we were able to see and survive lots of different sea creatures – even stingrays! (NB this was around the time of ‘our Steve’s” sad passing)

Gaye is really enjoying her pregnancy – she has popped out and is looking gorgeous. Thomas is full of good advice informing Gaye that she would be best not to stand on her head right now (which she is of-course known for doing) as it might come out her nose, and assuring us that ‘we will all get a bit of a break when the baby is sleeping.”

The year as always has been punctuated with visits to and from family and friends. Gaye’s nephew Lee graduated from year 12 this year, and Gaye attended the swanky event to celebrate with him and extended family. Clare’s folks have made the most of their retirement visiting regularly for school concerts, grandparent days and sausage sizzles. Gaye was very proud to become El’s godmother this year (Thomas is sure he is her god relation as a result), she even wore angel wings to the celebration lunch. We have a lovely time ahead with our annual pudding-stirring visit to Clare's family and a Boxing Day lunch with Gaye’s folks and a camping holiday planned for January.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and happy 2007.

Gaye, Clare and Thomas

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