Thursday, December 22, 2005

Michelle's blog challenge - Christmas week

Has 2005 been a good year or a bad year for you, maybe you got a new job, had a new baby, or maybe you went on that trip you always dreamed of taking.....

I've decided to post my entire Christmas newsletter - hope it's not too much. This past 6 months has truly been one of the best periods of my life. The 12 months to April were pretty stressful but we have turned the corner. We (DH, me and kids) are so happy with our life. It is such a blessing. I hope 2006 brings more of the same.

"Where has the year gone? I swear it passes more quickly each year. We will be at home for Christmas Day with all my extended family – Janine and Sean, Katrina and Tim (Tim, due home from 6 months in Afghanistan on 15th December) and their families, Mum and Dad and maybe the odd stray. We are not planning on going away although Darryn has 3 weeks off work so we may do something on the spur of the moment. We quite like staying home and being tourists in our own town. Elliot keeps asking if we can go back to Rarotonga like we did in January this year. We hope to do that again 2006. It truly was the best family holiday we’ve ever had and we would love to repeat it. Sun, sand, snorkelling, island time, crab hunting and big game fishing – just an awesome time.

I have had an amazing year. After 22 years working in the Public Service I resigned from Land Information NZ in January. And in April I decided that my hobby scrapbooking business was imposing on family life way too much for my liking so we closed the doors on Tuatara Tales. It has been so great to have time for Darryn and the kids. Our home life is so much less stressed. Darryn was just saying the other day that it is the best decision we’ve ever made. And I actually have time to do some scrapbooking now. I listed my occupation on the electoral role as ”Domestic Goddess” – what else should I be called? Time is a wonderful thing and one thing I found time for this year was a photography class. I thought it would be a simple ‘how to use your digital camera’ class but it turned that it was taken by 2 photojournalists and we had assignments to complete and night shoots and studio shoots and all sorts. Caitlin was a model one night (they needed a redhead!). It was such fun and I learned heaps.

Darryn’s had a really good year at work. AMR Consulting ( is doing really well. Look out for the February issue of Unlimited Magazine as Darryn has just found out that AMR has been shortlisted in their annual competition as one of the 10 best small/medium sized companies to work in New Zealand. They now have around 35 consultants. We are looking forward to the Christmas functions in a couple of weeks one of which involves an afternoon of clay shooting (says she who has never fired a gun), dinner and a band and another which is a kids Christmas party at Wellington Zoo.

Darryn and I both turned 40 in June. It was so heartwarming for us to have such good friends and family travel from around the country to spend the weekend with us. The 80s theme party was fun and Darryn outdid me in the costume department (who would have known he had a secret penchant to be a punk?).

My other significant news is that because I have more time on my hands I joined a gym. Since June I have lost nearly 25kgs. I still have a lot more to go but I am truly amazed that for once I am finding it easy and really enjoying the exercise. The gym I go to recently had a 10 week “Midwinter Makeover Challenge” that about 50 of us signed up to. Eating programme, weights and cardio training, weekly personal trainer sessions, seminars etc. At the end of the 10 weeks they awarded a prize for the most improved and I won! The prize was a day spa treatment. I am so looking forward to using that. Darryn has been inspired by my progress and has joined a gym and working his personal trainer is losing lots of weight too and (more importantly) feels heaps better. His gym is much cooler than mine – white leather couches, toiletries and towels provided and his trainer is a former US pro-basketballer. Call it a mid-life crisis but we’re looking forward to carrying on with this next year.

Best gym experience of the year – working out on Sunday morning in the weights room with one other person – just me and Tana Umaga – true story. He is such a nice guy. (OK, name dropping!)

Caitlin, turned 10 this year. She loves school – she is still our maths geek – and is upset that it is nearly holiday time! She is an avid reader (she loves Chicken Soup books and non-fiction about people’s lives in other countries). She loves pop music, hip hop and rock, Girl Guides, netball, touch rugby and her latest passion –seido karate. She started karate in the middle of the year and is one of only 2 girls in her karate class. Caitlin recently entered her first tournament (against people from Wellington and Palmerston North). She came 2nd in the individual kata event. She was really pleased with herself. She has first grading this weekend. We are all learning a few Japanese words as a result of all this which is fun. Caitlin and her cousin, Sophie, shared a very special birthday this year. They both got to go behind the scenes for an encounter with the Red Pandas at Wellington Zoo – it was an awesome day. Cait changed schools in Term 2 this year and now goes to Sts Peter and Paul school which she’ll remain at for the next 2 years of intermediate.

Elliot turned 5 and started Boulcott School in April. It was a huge adjustment for him and at first he would really rather not have been there but he is doing well now and really likes his teacher (“I love Mrs Powell. She is a princess.”). His teacher recently told me they refer to Elliot as the class CEO – as he’s always sorting everyone else out. He is a really good reader (which surprised us as he certainly didn’t show any inclination of that as a pre-schooler). He will be in year 2 next year. He doesn’t want to join any team sports yet but he loves running round outside, collecting bugs, PS2 games, watering the garden and just being a boy. His greatest pleasures are creating art projects (Disney’s Art Attack is his most frequently accessed website) and dancing and all sorts of music. His favourite music (no longer Hi-5 or the Wiggles!) is Simple Plan. He honestly knows all the lyrics to their entire CD (and plays great air-guitar!). He makes us laugh a lot. He adores Caitlin and she is so kind to him.

We hope Christmas finds you well – however you spend it."


lianne said...

Wow I totally love your Xmas newsletter. Cool, working out with Tana. You've done alot this year and sounds like you have a happy family thing happening which is the main thing aye.
Love your art work and did you make all those hearts.

Yolande said...

WOW cool xmas letter Mel - and well done on going to the gym - I hope 2006 brings you as much joy and success. have a great Xmas Mel and thanks for all your kind words of encouragement - you're a lovely lady!

Delys said...

...thats just a lovely newsletter and WTG on the weight loss and are inspiring me here! (wonder if Tana comes up to Actually my gym often has the NZ 7s occasionally and other big name people...never seem to be there when they are there though!
Your family is enjoying having you home too by the sounds of it! and thats a definate plus having more time to scrapbook!
Have a very Merry Christmas Mel!

nic said...

how about that - I lsited myself on the electoral role as a domestic Goddess also. :o)


Anonymous said...

What a Great Memories!
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