The christmas letter follows. I will try to add the photos into an album so you will be able to see them. They will be on my facebook page for all to look at.
Well the Christmas season is coming up fast and it seems not long ago that I was preparing to travel to Ewan’s for Christmas in 2008. We had a wonderful family holiday and it was unfortunate that Neil and family could not join us for the excitement of Ice Hockey games, winter lights and decorated houses, Marilyn learning to ski and watching the others go off every day. After the new year mum and dad shouted all four grandchildren, Marilyn, Terry and myself to four nights in Los Angeles to visit Disneyland, Universal Studios and California Adventure. It was a great time and the four kids all get on so well it was neat to see. Marilyn, Terry, Dad, Alice and David travelled home and mum and I stayed an extra week. We went off to San Antonio in Texas for four days and had a wonderful time. The weather was quite warm when we arrived (80 deg F) and then the next morning it was about 42 Deg F. most extremes but no rain so that was great. We had a day trip to the Lyndon B Johnson ranch (mum’s family name is Lyndon) so that was good and we found the most wonderful bead shop in the middle of a small town where we stopped for lunch. On our trip back to the airport we stopped at another bead shop (cost $2 more for the two taxis) but about $150 in beads. We then had a couple of days at Ewan’s and then home. I arrived home on 17 January at 10 in the morning and Raewyn, Kim and girls arrived about 4pm to stay for several days. Good timing all.
Raewyn and Kim’s visit meant that we had a house warming party so that was fun with quite a few in attendance and I could show people the new house. Unfortunately the garden was not done and it became a bit of a mission. The concrete pavers were down but that was about it. The saga continued and finally in April I had someone else lay lawn and tidy up all the edges etc. it looks reasonable now and not too bad. I did have a lawnmower but the old push mower is not the best so dad is still doing them. Shellie’s son Keith did the edges of the garden with the left over pavers from the old house so it looks quite nice now. Still have to complete the lawn and planting of the gardens but they are happening slowly. I have a few rhododendron’s in and they are mostly flowering so that is good.
March saw me travel to northland with the netball team once again as no parents could go. I had a great time but not very successful at driving the van so have to have more practise. Alice was also on the trip so interesting to see her with her friends. We had two great games of netball but one was close and the other a whitewash really so it was a shame. The kids did really well with the heat though and performed on the Marae wonderfully when we were welcomed on. We had lots of fun, especially making them go op shopping and then out to dinner in their outfits.
April – Stephanie and I went to Sydney for the weekend and had four fun filled days. We climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge which was amazing. I am so proud of myself and would like to attempt it again but will have to see what happens. We ate at nice restaurants, visited lots of attractions, mostly for free as we had a Sydney pass and even went to the movies “The Reader” one of the great movies of the year I think. Term two at school was fairly much the same as usual but we did have the building start on the renovation of the Tech Block so that was neat. Finally it has happened; after 13 years the school board have been trying to get it done. Now in November it is nearly completed and all classes have moved into the new areas.
June - mum and I went to my cousin Karen’s wedding in Auckland (mum was staying in Tauranga, so I did a lot of driving that weekend), while the rest of the family went to the all blacks game in Wellington. Also had two embroidery birthday parties so a very social month as well.
July was busy with a trip to Wellington with Shellie to see “Starlight Express”. Quite different to the London version but I really enjoyed it. I then went up to Tauranga to stay with mum for the last five days of her break up there and then came home. July saw the sale of the old house and then the tenants that I had moved out. The new ones are friends from school so that has been good and they are a nice couple so that is good. I miss the house sometimes but still love the new one more. Also in July I had the new teacher, Gemma stay with me for a couple of weeks. She arrived from the Bolton area of England and is a really lovely young lady. Most enjoyable time with her and she is a big Harry Potter / Twilight fan so managing to go to a number of movies and things with her.
In August I went to the secondary principal’s PA’s Conference in Hamilton which was loads of fun and caught up with a few friends. September was really busy with Marilyn, mum, Alice and I going to the World of Wearable Art in Wellington, then my friend Cathy came and stayed one night. October was the theatre month with Miss Saigon in New Plymouth, Mama Mia in Wellington (with Stephanie and Shellie), Hawera embroidery guild 25th birthday, guild weekend retreat and regional day for the opening of the regional embroidery exhibition. As well as all these events I went with Marilyn to Auckland to see El Divo. We stayed with one of Terry’s nieces and caught up with out cousins Maree and Karen so that was great.
The Lithgow clan have had a bit of success at the regional embroidery exhibition with Marilyn getting a second place for her mat, Alice winning the secondary school section, while I won the Home Décor original design section and also got a judge’s choice for my second piece. Mum was the only one who did not get any awards. Our friend Maree won the other judge’s choice for her apple needlework accessories set. It was really wonderful and I will try to put a photo of it on my blog www.didi-beadwork.blogspot.com
As most of you will be aware I have now been in the new house for a year and it certainly has been different. No chopping the wood and lighting the fire when I get home the house is already warm (too warm sometimes). I have bought new linen and thinking about a new television but I keep looking at the cost. I also fell in love with the Nintendo Wii when we were at Ewan’s last Christmas and thinking of buying one of those as my gift from Santa for myself. Not certain but going to talk to David about it and see if he will go shopping with me possibly. Some good deals on them at the moment and it looks as if it would be about $700.
We have just had the senior prizegiving here at school and Alice was the Proxime Accessit – runner-up to the Dux but she won the cup for best in Mathematics and Science which was great as Andrew (Dux) did not do well in either of these subjects. She is all signed up for Otago University for Health Sciences for 2010, on her way to going into medicine and becoming a doctor. The only thing she has wanted to do as far as I can see.
This month has also seen a big shock at the school with Warren, resigning from his position as principal and leaving in two weeks. Think that losing his father in September was the catalyst for this but I personally will be sad to see him leave. He has been great to work for, a real fun sense of humour and interesting in his approach to lots of things in the school. Still he may be back in the district one day.
December will be busy again with Neil coming from Melbourne to share in Christmas. Neil my brother was here in October for a few days and I think he was shocked to see how much his parents have aged after two years. It was interesting to see him at home as he has not been here for a long time and quite different to when Ewan and family come.
I have just put the entries into the art society show so hoping that they sell well. Then I can make some more although having to make a number of Christmas decorations for presents and currently trying to make a stocking for Neil for Christmas day. It should be a fun day as we are planning breakfast at mum’s, lunch at my place and then Marilyn and family will be off to the Walshes for their dinner. Boxing day will see us visit the Burnnand family as usual. I hope that the new year will bring lots of fun and prosperity to you and your family, and that your Christmas break was fun without too much added to the stress levels. May the blessings of the season be with you always.