The beginning of this year brought us a small, cliff-top place to call home for several months. That it was to be demolished to have a bigger, better home built in its place, probably gives you an idea of the quality of the house itself. But we felt so blessed with the panoramic views overlooking the waters to Waiheke Island. We enjoyed the ever-changing vista that changed from mirror-like smooth waters to storm, raging seas from one day to the next. It was definitely a great place to be, though, during a 3-month drought, enjoying the outdoors for rainless weeks on end!
While we loved our view of the alps in Switzerland, and the wonderful access to walkways and car-less roads all over the countryside there, we've equally enjoyed living near the coast here. Particularly Eti, who has taken the girls on many adventures to the playgrounds, making beach swings over the waters, small trips in the kayak and to places where small bikes can be ridden freely. Our outdoor-loving girls have had a ball!!
Our girls have grown so much over this past year. It often amazes me to observe the learning ability and process of a young child. All they absorb through listening, watching and experiencing. We often giggle at the funny sayings that they come up with, or secretly watch them playing either together or alone. They are great friends, for much of the time, and their imaginations are wide and delightful. They have wonderful senses of humour, generous hearts, amazing memories, and can assert themselves quite effectively (and strongly, much to their mother's exasperation at times!). I have to remind myself that their determination was something we celebrated in their early days, and we will, no doubt, celebrate through out their lives, even if it also leaves me wondering how to best deal with the challenging moments...and questioning myself afterwards! Parenting is, for sure, the hardest thing I've ever done, but I wouldn't trade the privilege for all the world.
Later this year we were given another amazing provision of a new place to call home, as the date that we needed to leave our current home closed in. We are now living in the countryside and loving that!
This year has held its share of celebrations and sadness. We loved being around to celebrate my brother Matt's marriage to his beautiful Jomine. We've loved getting to know our cute little cousins born over this past year, and living so (relatively) close. On the bittersweet side, my Grandma died this past week. Her health had deteriorated somewhat steadily following the death of my Granddad several years ago. Her death leaves a great hole because she was such a warm, loving, hospitable, wonderful woman to so many people. But to know that she is now free from discomfort and a body that limited her in so many ways during these last years, and is in the presence of Jesus (and Granddad!), that knowledge more than cushions the blow of our loss. Early in the morning I will take a flight down south with Théo and Dad to honour her life, leaving Eti to man the ladies of the house. I perhaps didn't ask the right question this morning when I asked the girls if they'd miss mummy. "Ummm...not really" was the thought-out and reassuring response (said in a very proper English accent - cracks me up!) :o)
So, 2014 awaits us in a mere 3 hours! No doubt it will also bring joys and challenges, but there are several things that we anticipate. In the coming weeks we really look forward to visits from friends from Switzerland, then to our visit to Switzerland later in the year. Time will continue to roll on and threaten to sweep me up in endless lists of things-to-do, but I'm determined to let go of what's not necessary and to enjoy the moments of these precious years with our small children. We look forward to being more settled, after moving 6 times in 5 years, and making friends...which is surprisingly one of the hardest things to do when starting out somewhere new. We look forward to simple things like starting a vege garden, sharing meals with others around our table, adventures out and about and celebrating whatever we can. And this is our hope for you, too. That your 2014 will be filled with plenty of simple joys, times spent and enjoyed with others.
Let it begin ;o)