Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas chaos

Truly the week has been pretty shocking so far... Thomas has got some dreadful virus and been up at 39 or 40 degrees for most of the week. He has settled into a bad cough now and is at home with his Dad today. Gaye dropped a tin of paint in the driveway of a pub (after just buying it) and the guy came out and took photos of the number-plate and threatened to call the police, which left her in tears and sobbing (she is SOOO pregnant) before a big meeting.

The bank have valued the new house at a very low price after the renovations (I’d like to see them buy a three bedroom home at that price in that area!) which means we have to scale back the job so we don’t end up paying mortgage insurance (this is probably a good thing as it means a smaller mortgage while Gaye is off work so we are okay with it, but Gaye just wanted to have it all done and off her plate). We will be able to have the house re-valued post renovation and then get the extra money anyway... But will leave it now until Gaye is back at work.

I brought the dishwasher from the new place around to our current place to have it installed (and paid $145.00 for the plumbing) only to find it won’t fit in – seriously I sat down on the kitchen floor and would have cried had it not been so ridiculous.

Gaye's dad decided to come up this weekend to do a bit of painting on the new house. We were thrilled that he wanted to paint… we just wouldn’t have chosen this exact week. He has done A LOT of talking (and swearing much to Thomas’ initial shock followed by fits of uncontrolled giggling each time it happened) and not all that much painting. But I think he has really enjoyed being up here He hasn’t done the only bit we really wanted to be done – but is planning to come up in January to finish up the job.

In amongst it all we have managed to keep up our Advent activities going (thou we gave the Carols a miss on Saturday night due to the temps) and Thomas and I have cooked shortbread, home made our Christmas crackers and told plenty of Christmas jokes.

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

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas is coming ...

Thomas has enjoyed Christmas for the last few years, but this year you can already tell it is going to be big. (And from the amount of questioning about the big red man, the last year Santa will really be believed in). We decorated the Christmas tree on the weekend, which is always joyful and was especially so this year. He was much into the filming of Gaye's belly and talking about a baby being in there.

He came to work with me on Monday afternoon after a trip to the dentist and spent the best part of 3 hours making Christmas decorations and covering my desk in glitter. He has a Christmas ideas book and is keen to make as many things as possible in the lead up to Christmas. We already have many traditions - stirring the pudding as a family with my Mum and making shortbread in the shape of trees.

This year we are going to add to the list by taking a combination of a friends Danish tradition of an Advent bowl (where each day to Christmas is counted down with a small present or chocolate and Loobylou's idea of a family events advent calendar. So a box of cards with family activities for each day and a small choccy. They will go from very Christmassy (like make our Christmas Crackers and take a walk to look at the lights) to just family fun (like dance like crazy and have a family race up the street).

He can't wait... I can't wait!!!!