Sunday, 26 January 2014

2013 In Review

Just a quick review of what has been this past year, covering events that didn't make the blog for one reason or another. I'll post again early next year about what lays ahead. As seems to be typical for our family, we've tried to fit in the maximum amount allowable.

Gaynor has taken up casual, part-time work assisting at local primary (elementary/Grundschule) schools, primarily with high needs students. She's always had a strong interest in, and love of, education and she quickly develops a relationship with whoever she is working. Balancing home life and work -- which is on an as-needed, usually-called-the-day-before-or-morning-of basis -- has been helped by Joshua's flexible schedule and efforts around the house and with his younger siblings.

In addition, she has toughed out the better part of the year without a proper oven in her kitchen. Since the kitchen was about to be ripped out soon (and still is) a new oven didn't make much sense, nor did spending money repairing the old one. Cooking hot cross Easter buns at her sister's and birthday cakes at her friend's meant she still fulfilled her minimum obligations.

Joshua is working on his comedy -- (obligatory plug) upcoming show Josh Glass and Riley Bell - Bicycle Thieves, 6 March, 9:30pm at the Canberra Comedy Festival -- with a number of recent paid gigs in various locations. He has also been keeping his parents happy by squeezing in his first year of full-time study of a Bachelor of Writing. In addition, as noted above, he's been very valuable in his help around the house this past year.

Elijah just completed a year-ish long contract as a public servant, specialising in office duties and over-the-phone work. Primarily, the job has allowed him to save a large chunk of money but I think it has also helped him narrow his focus on what he would like to do for a career. Highlights of the job included many a lunch hour playing a variety of inter-office sports. Nevertheless, he's grateful to the friend who helped him secure the position. He also spent some of 2013 learning more about cars and how to fix them up. Nothing like a inheriting a friend's discarded car, having it fail a vehicle road worthiness check, buying an even more discarded same-model and swapping parts until it passes said check to bring your working knowledge of cars up to speed (pun intended). This hobby was made easier by the availability of Dad's tools, knowledge, very occasional strong arm and a perfectly serviceable car he'd purchased earlier in the year.

Mara had a busy year by many standards; completing Year 12, three ballet exams -- Advanced 1 (June), Grade 8 (August), and Advanced 2 (October), three auditions for places at university, and having a starring role in the end-of-year production of her ballet school. She played the Wicked Witch in an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz and, since the role came so naturally to her, had to do a bit of work with the young children who were initially scared of her. It didn't take long for them to love her though :)

'Ariana did absolutely nothing' was what she said when I asked what she did last year. In reality, she finished her first year of early morning seminary, Year 9 at high school, took up cricket (played in a schools tournament and committed to training with the ACT squad) and trumpet (a birthday gift, at her request) and continued with saxophone and piano. To round out her shotgun approach to activities she also tried her hand briefly at fencing and badminton (though not at the same time).

Bryna enjoyed a lot of sporting adventures this year at school -- cross country, cricket as well and learning an Aboriginal game, buroinjin. She also enjoyed a good year academically as well as continuing with piano and fife. She played a Flying Monkey in the end-of-year ballet school production, enjoying being on stage with her big/wicked sister.

Micah finished pre-school with a lovely report that mentioned how well he got along with the other children. He is very good verbally and, together with his lovely temperament, this means he is usually a moderating influence on his peers, occasionally acting as a mediator when needed. He's also shown a keen interest in learning mathematics, reading and writing. Fortunately for him his older siblings are happy to pass on their acquired knowledge -- he's never really short of someone to play or spend time with.

Fenton pretty much did the usual during the year; busy with church-related responsibilities, kept the cars and motorcycle running, marked my half-life day, and finished the house extension plans enough to receive approval from the local government to build it. Oh, also tried to fit in a full-time job in there somewhere.

Next post ... what's coming up in 2014!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

I Love a Sunburnt Country

The parched grass, the ever-green trees, the sublime colours of the sunset ... I love a sunburnt country.