Monday, December 30, 2013

Our fantastic Year - 2013

2013 A year in review

Well I think that I can safely say that this year we have had lots of changes thrown at us as a family- some good and some not so good but we have come out the end ok!!

The biggest change this year was a marked decline in Simon's health with his MS. He had been struggling with his health and symptoms for months and felt very frustrated and felt that he could not perform his role at Geni- as he wished to. So it was with some relief that he accepted a redundancy payment in May and finished up at Geni. This was very sad in some ways as he had enjoyed his corporate career there working his way up from a call centre operative back in 2000 in Wellington. So he had 13 years of history there and a lot of friends and his business network that he was leaving behind.

But all clouds have a silver lining and he has enjoyed having more family time with the girls due to being restricted to 25 hours work a week by his doctor. He has lost about 15 kg and is looking and feeling better for not being stuck behind a desk and being under so much stress. Thanks a million to Glyn and Val who offered him a part time role as a Driver for their company Appliances for Rent. Obviously going from a full time corporate salary to a part time driver salary was a huge drop in our income. Thankfully we had income protection insurance which has ensured that we can keep afloat and pay the mortgage. With Simon's part time salary and myself also returning to part time office work we have managed to get through so far! With Hollie starting school in March it is envisioned that I may work longer hours and Simon will be around after school to be with the girls. His dream to be a house husband coming to fruition slowly!!

We have been fortunate to have some holidays this year – we took the girls to Dunedin once Simon had finished up at Gen- I in May and had a wonderful week there. We caught up with my sister and partner and even had snow one day! The girls loved the chocolate factory and all the other walks and activities we did there- especially the butterfly house that we visited 3 times!

We were lucky enough also to head to Nelson in July to catch up with Granny and Grandad. We hadn't seen Grandad in a long time – about a year so it was well overdue! We had a fun filled week of activities like visiting Kaiteriteri and going to Ngarua Caves and lots of time at the beach and having fun. It was great to have Simon around so much till he started working again in later July.

The girls have enjoyed a number of parties this year – Kiwiana in February and of course the Halloween and Santa parties that have now become annual traditions and famed at school and preschool!

The girls have been happy and settled at school. Zoe was in her last year of Primary school at South Hornby school and loving the extra responsiblities that brings like road patrol and earning her trusted kid badge etc. She has thrown herself into both her hockey and into the choir. She was VERY lucky to head to Adelaide in October for a week with the South Hornby school choir. She had a fabulous experience and loved her billet and family. She really enjoyed the hot weather and all the time spent at the beach as well as seeing some Australian wildlife up close! She is really looking forward to heading to Hornby High School next year as part of the very first intake of intermediate age children. A separate school and area has been set aside for the Year 7-8 and looks very flash. The teachers seem fantastic and well rounded with lots of extracurricular experience in many different fields such as choir, sport, science and music which will be great for the kids too.

Ella has been settled as usual and has a wide social circle of friends being the laid back character that she is - something she inherits from her dad! Ella has enjoyed Brownies and playing T Ball this year again . The highlight of her year was going to Wellington with me and 2 friends and their mums in September. We took them to the 25th Wearable Arts awards which was fabulous! The girls all had a fabulous 2 days at the Zoo – Cable Car and Te Papa- eating out and of course at the show. Ella had a great time and it was lovely to spend some one on one time with her as she is always the quiet good girl who sometimes misses out on attention!!

Lucy has really excelled at school this year – she is going to be the brains of the family I feel along with ella the quiet achiever. Lucy's reading has gone from a level 9 to 24 and she is already reading journals at age 6 with a reading age of 9 on her report! She is also very strong at Maths and was the first girl in her class to achieve the Smiler Sam badge for showing her school values. She has really enjoyed going to Pippins and starting T Ball this year with Ella. She has already improved so much since the start of the season! She has also enjoyed official swimming lessons and with the aid of our pool has skipped several levels already and is like a mermaid already in the water! She is looking forward to moving into the middle syndicate this coming year!

Hollie has greatly enjoyed her time at Springs Community Preschool but is definitely ready to go to school. The last few months have dragged a little for her as she is the eldest at preschool and ready to go onto bigger and better things. She has also had to get glasses this year like Zoe but has coped very well with wearing them. She has really enjoyed her ballet lessons and we were all so proud of her first performance as Rapunzel in the Christmas show. She has also started swimming lessons and has made great progress. She is already looking ahead to her 5th birthday and starting school with her big sisters.

Simon and I have been very busy this year what with the girls and activities and also both of us juggling part time work around them. Simon has also been appointed the Chairperson on the Board of Trustees at South Hornby school – a role that he really enjoys. I also have been appointed Chairperson of the Springs Preschool that has meant a lot of hours of my time being donated to that cause.

One of the highlights of my year was also turning 40 in October. A whole week of celebrations and I was very spoilt! Simon had built me a scrapbooking room at the back of the garage – a fabulous job that was completed in April. I am so grateful for the escape and peace that it provides sometimes! And very lucky that I have such a handy hubby! Simon also bought me an eternity ring which was a HUGE surprise and totally unexpected. I had dinners out with friends and a daytrip with some scrapping buddies to Timaru and also a family brunch where all my NZ based family came – from Dunedin and Nelson – so thanks to my sister and mum and even dad who came to CHCH for the first time in 2 years! We had a lovely family time which was topped off with an engagement announcement from my sister that took us all by surprise!! Now we can look forward to the wedding next year!

Simon and I did manage to escape for a night in November for our 12th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed our first break from the girls in 3 years and headed for a luxury getaway to Hanmer for the night. We had a lovely time and promised ourselves that we would make doing things like getaways a priority for our marriage!!

Simon has enjoyed his music, his guitar and his new Karaoke system that he purchased. He is all ready for a great New Years and winding up for his monster Rock n Roll 40th in March! Watch out for that one folks- invitations out soon!

I have enjoyed my scrapbooking hobby, the retreats I have been lucky enough to attend and especially the friends that I have made. I am proud of what I have achieved this year and for trying some different aspects like making mini albums and books instead of layouts. Sadly it has had to be put on the backburner quite a lot over the last few months with all the other goings on here! But in New Year I will work on having some more me time!

I hope that your year has been exciting and challenging as ours and that looking back you have no regrets- and can look back with a smile.

All the best for 2014 whatever that may bring

From my family to yours

Happy New Year 2014.


Dianne H said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR. What a fantastic summary of 2013. A super family who make the most of every opportunity. Very inspiring and Best wishes for 2014.

Pauline Parker said...

Happy New Year my friend.I have to say I agree with you about the wonderful friends we make through our hobby. Love the photo of your girls, they look so very grown up.