December 2000

Greetings to one and all

I am sitting here wondering where the year has gone and like ever year, both Ali and I say we must get the Xmas letter out early, and as usual it's left to the last and so we wish you all a 'Happy New Year'.

The year has flown but then I suppose that's the way it is when you have a two year old who is going on six - excuse me for a sec - Ali is just putting Maddi back to bed for the fifth time tonight ( her latest ploy is wanting to go to the toilet again! - we haven't got to the wanting a drink of water yet).

The new century has been busy for us all, once again balancing careers, family and a much depleted social life - not to mention trying to get in the odd sleep in.

Ali's job continues to challenge and extend her. Computers are still big in schools, even under Labour, with one of their initiative being to fund Information and Communication Professional Development with cluster schools ( Arahoe is in a cluster with 5 other schools for 2001) sounds exciting but all this being a bit more work for Ali but the possibilities for learning new things is immense.  The school is just getting into producing it's own TV news programmes and video with all classrooms having their own TV linked to the school network - amazing opportunities for the kids of today.  So 2001 will be  busy year getting to terms with yet more technology.

I have also found the year very busy what with looking after Maddi and working with now three schools catering for their network and computer requirements. A lot of the school work is done after hours and in the weekends / holidays when their is a change of shift at home. I also get kept busy with phone calls from all sorts of people querying all sorts of problems regarding their home computers, mind you it is an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family.  I am also on the 'Play Group' committee- an area where being one of the few men means plenty of work with the hammer and screwdriver.

Maddi has probably been the busiest of us all, everything is done at the run (where do they get the energy) and she's up by 6.30 am to get the most out of the day, especially Saturdays and Sundays.  She is involved in all sorts of things from Kindy to Play Group, coffee groups and swimming again now that the weather is better.  She has a full week and seems to relish everything that gets thrown at her.  Talking is coming on thick and fast at the moment - she seemed to have taken quite a while to get going in this area  Favourite activities at the moment include drawing and hand painting ( well lets just say she paints the hands and anything else she can get to before her father takes the brush away), she painted her legs blue the other day while her father chatted with the girls at playgroup.

Stoffie on the other hand wins the prize for the least activity packed into a day, not surprising as she is hitting 13. Is still kept on her toes trying to avoid the youngest member of the household on a regular occasion and now spends half her time at the neighbours where milk is on the menu and they have grown up girls who pat, not push.  

As promised in our last Christmas letter we managed a trip out of the country this year.  We had a very enjoyable week in Surfers in July where we visited theme parks, bird sanctuaries and plenty of parks and beach walks.  We went with another family in our coffee group who has a child the same age as Maddi so that was enjoyable for all.  

Jack continues to enjoy life in Auckland and has plenty of opportunities to spend time with Maddi and I throughout the week.  He is slowing down but at 95 who can blame him.  He will be coming to the Hawkes Bay for Christmas with us and enjoys the trip and time at the orchard.

Chas did give us all a bit of scare a couple of weeks ago with Alison and Maddi making a quick trip home.  As usual, Charlie pulled out of it all and is nearly back to his previous health.  Doris continue to see him on a daily basis but is full on with the life of a retiree.  

We are making our trek to the Bay for Christmas but will only be away for a week.  Back in Auckland for New Year so for those of you travelling this way over January please do not hesitate to call in for a coffee or a meal if you have the time - we would love to see you.

For those of you travelling, take your time and enjoy the countryside.  We look forward to hearing all your news. Take care and we hope you have a wonderful Christmas wherever you choose to spend it.

Merry Christmas and a Safe New Year.

Love Doug, Ali, Maddi & Stoffie.