Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Camera

Here are a few photos taken by Brennan with our new Sony Digital SLR camera - a Christmas present for our family! We went for a bush walk with Kevin in East Killara yesterday; and used the opportunity to get familiar with the new machine.

The boys found an old tyre in the bush, and sat happily next to it. I love how this camera is so detailed in it's capture - you can really see the rust in the tyre as well as the details of the bush behind them.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some crazy photos

The boys playing for the camera on the way home from Xmas shopping last week.

Another photo from Day Care Xmas

Keegan recovered enough to have some fun with his friends....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day Care Xmas Concert

A couple of photos from the Day Care Xmas Concert today.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Christmas Layouts

Again, part of Scrapbook Divas 12 days of Christmas Challenge.

Some Christmas Layouts

Created as part of the Scrapbook Divas 12 Days of Christmas Challenge.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Year in Review: 2009

Bill Bryson’s autobiography talks about ‘kid time’ and how time goes slowly when you are small. The opposite seems true as you age, and every year seems to go faster and faster.

Even though I can’t believe that it’s almost Christmas, by a strange contradiction January 2009 seems like it was a long long time ago. Looking through my diary and photos, I see that we enjoyed a visit from Aunty Tash in Jan. We took her down south to Currawong for a weekend of camping, plus did the usual tourist things.

We also enjoyed a day at the New Year’s Day test. All dressed up in pink on Ladies Day to raise money for the McGrath Foundation, it was a slow day of cricket. We had to leave before the end of play to arrive back at Day Care before closing time; and of course, missed 4 wickets!

The end of January was rounded out with a visit from Aunty Caro on Australia Day weekend. One day during her visit the temperature rose to 42 degrees; so we rose early to go to Whale Beach, then home for an afternoon hiding from the heat next to the fan.

February brought Valentine’s Day and a ‘romantic’ trip to Canberra. Known as the world’s most boring city, Canberra wasn’t the most romantic location, especially given the difficulty in finding a restaurant! But it’s full of museums and the like, so we went to the Questacon (the technology museum), Parliament and the War Memorial. The War Memorial is definitely worth another visit, shame the boys were tired and didn’t last long enough for us to see everything. The kids section is cool, with a Vietnam helicopter for them to play in as well as the inside of a submarine.

March was quiet, but we still managed a few outings. One to Cockatoo Island (see photo of the boys being “bad guys” next to a ring imbedded in the rock); and another to the annual Shark Island picnic. This day is organised by the National Parks people and for only $7 each we got a ferry ride to the island (on an antique boat), plus a day on an island in the harbour.

April was again full of visitors with a visit from Grandma and Grandpa from NZ. We stayed in the Hunter Valley for a weekend, and spent a day at the Maitland Steamfest; getting a ride on a steam train from Maitland to Newcastle and back. We spent half a day following Grandpa around a couple of airfields, and stumbled onto a flyover for a legendary Aussie aviator (Nancy Bird-Walton). It was pretty cool as we got to see three tiger moths in formation!

We also did a few tourist things, a day in Katoomba plus an outing to the Sydney Aquarium. Good to catch up with family as well.

In May we went camping at The Watagans for Uncle Nathan’s birthday. Aunty Jaye cooked an amazing lamb roast on the campfire – great stuff.

June was Vincent’s birthday, now a big 4YO! Then in July we went up north for a week celebration of our 5th wedding anniversary. We chose Dunk Island from the several hundred along the Barrier Reef, and the boys loved the ‘two planes’ to get there. A flight from Sydney to Cairns on a 737, then a short 40 minute ride on a 12 seater Cessna from Cairns to Dunk Island. The week was very relaxing, thanks mostly to Kids Club which the boys enjoyed at considerable cost each morning! Brennan and I enjoyed a round of golf in a tropical downpour (completely soaked in less than a minute!), hiked around the island, did some mountain biking and other pursuits while the boys were getting their faces painted, hunting for treasure, dressing up as pirates and generally having a wonderful time. Even in the midst of winter it was warm enough for us to swim, go boat riding (photo of Keegan) and play on the beach.

For some time we had been discussing expanding our family and having another baby. Call me crazy, but one of those discussions included the sadness of the end of cloth nappies. There is something nice about all those white nappies hanging on the line. In August, a pregnancy was confirmed and the new baby is due at the end of May. August was also Keegan’s 3rd birthday and Aunty Caro blessed us with another visit. We went to the zoo to see the baby elephant (see photo), Caro took me to the Sydney Olympic Archery Centre, we took the boys to Cockatoo Island to see where the Wolverine movie was made and after Playgroup on Friday we took the train on the new Epping Chatswood Rail Link out to Brennan’s work for Yum Cha.

At the end of August, we took a day trip out to the Jenolan Caves – a huge underground limestone cave system. Really interesting geology, but at around 3 hours drive it was a big ambitious to take the boys for a day trip! We are planning to go back there next time Grandma and Grandpa come over from NZ; but will probably base ourselves out that way for a day or two to cut down the massive drive.

In September, I was asked to do a profile on a big Hunter Valley stud farm. The farm put us up in a motel for the Saturday night, and we drove way up to the top of the Upper Hunter to see them. I had a really great tour around the farm, seeing all the stallions. A personal highlight was helping out with the broodmare feedup – early in the morning, but a full tour of the farm and got to see some great mares up close such as Al Maher’s dam and the dam of Mnemoysne, as well as Shamekha and her 24 hour old Encosta de Lago colt.

The end of September brought more visitors, with Aunty Tash coming over and bringing Scott with her. The first day of their visit was chaotic as we had planned a harbour cruise for Laura’s 60th birthday. We took the train into the city and waited at Wharf 6 for our boat, but after ringing Laura to see where the other were, we discovered that the boat was at Darling Harbour and we had only 10 minutes to get there. A mad dash in a couple of cabs, a run along the wharf (in our fancy clothes) and we made it with seconds to spare! It was a gorgeous day and a great way for Scott to enjoy his first visit to our beautiful city.

Tash also wanted to see the “baby elphalent” as the boys call him, so we had a day at the zoo. Another highlight of their visit was going to see Wolfmother at the Enmore Theatre; we really must go to more concerts as this was loads of fun! Tash took this photo of Wolfmother in full blast! Tash also took Scott to Katoomba for a day to see the Three Sisters and the awe inspiring beauty of the escarpment; and they enjoyed other Sydney delights such as a concert at the Opera House and dinner at Becasse.

October carried on with the super busy schedule with a quick weekend trip to NZ for Aunty Leonie’s wedding. It was strangely familiar to be back in NZ after some 18 months away, but we were all glad to be home in Sydney with the warm weather afterwards. The wedding itself was fun, catching up with family is always enjoyable, loud and interesting! The boys are quite the travellers now and think that it’s normal to do so much flying about the place. They liked the trip, but they both said that “Zealand is too cold”.

Since then, we’ve been quietly going about our business. Brennan is getting involved in some interesting projects outside his own contract. The Lane Cove tunnel contract is humming along, but with no major challenges for his skills. He’s been involved with a big tender for a contract in Abu Dhabi, plus is currently in Tasmania working on a rescue plan for a contract that is struggling there. It’s the perfect match for his skills and experience and an interesting challenge for him.

My work has been going really well this year, with both my clients very happy with my work. The magazine Breeding & Racing promoted me to Editor-at-large and give me the headline article in the majority of issues. If anyone wants to see what I write, please get in touch and I’ll get a few back copies sent out. My other client is Aushorse, who do all the marketing for the thoroughbred industry in Australia. I’ve done a series of export reports for them, as well as a couple of big research projects. The latest one was to match two disparate databases and discover the number of breeders that are also racehorse owners. The answers were surprising, and the Board are just now discussing how to best use the information. It’s really fun to work in an industry that I love; oh and yes we did pick the Melbourne Cup winner!!

Hope you all had just as interesting 2009 and all the best for 2010.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A couple of recent layouts.