It's a race against the clock to file this year's Schmidt report. Every year I vow to make Christmas stress-free, but it just never happens. With the renovations in full swing, and our schedule including a Boxing Day departure (heading south) I’m definitely not getting my Christmas wish this year.
So here I am on Christmas Eve tapping away at the computer when I should be doing a kazillion other things. But what would Christmas be without the self-indulgence of a Schmidt family recap? As I say every year, I do it for reasons of personal nostalgia, but I hope that others might enjoy catching up with our goss as much as I enjoy the Christmas/2011 newsletters that have been arriving in the letterbox and my inbox these past few days!
I got a bit carried away this year too. So much for thinking we were light on for photos. I’ve been having too much fun in photoshop, so it’s turned into a 2011 pictorial. (The challenge is on to keep the words to a minimum!)
We had our adventure time in late January with a canyoning trip for all five of us - with long time friends Kim and Andy and their three kids. There just might have been a point in the day where Kim and I came over all D & M talking about how cool it was that twenty-odd years on from the canyoning heydays of the eighties not only do do we still 'have it' :D but we're doing it with all our children. We did Bowen Creek north - (or the north bit of Bowen Creek south - I can't remember!) It was off Mt Wilson - one we'd never done before. Perfect canyoning weather and a great canyon!
In the same trip we managed to take the triple and tandem and do a 60km return ride from Kyeemagh to Kurnell with the Wade/Gardner clan. It might also happen to represent our last family tandem trip together. Alison is less than keen these days, so family tandeming/cycling dynamics will have to change if the rest of us want to keep riding together in any way.
And then it was back home and down to business for the year - one dominated mostly by the renovations finally, actually, visibly, really happening. That, and the netball, consumed most of our time and energy this year.
We got started with excavations front and back on New Year's Eve, but it wasn't till April that we finally had the slab poured. (Best not to get us started about contractors in the building industry...) From that point on we've divided the project into stages. We are doing the front first - double garage with new bedroom, bathroom and loo on top. There has turned out to be more room in the roof void than the building designer considered - luckily Marc thought to ensure it had appropriate flooring. So we're putting a roof window in - and will use it for .. something! All new roofing and cladding means mega-scaffolding - and that's where we're at at the moment (and resigned to paying the weekly rate for it to sit there between over xmas/new year - the red against the old pale green of the existing cladding makes it look somewhat christmassy though, don't you think?!) Marc is eeking out his rec and long service leave so as to project manage the whole shebang - employing a couple of builders to do a lot of the stuff, plus some roofers to do the steep roof pitches. It all hasn't been without its dramas and frustrations, but all those stories would take far too long to recap here!
Well, too much netball is never enough in this house. This year Ali and Zoe played rep again for Woopi, and Cait coached the 13s (Zoe's team) again. We had two trips south - one on the June long weekend for the u17s at the State Championships at Kellyville, and the other the first weekend of July for State Age at Wollongong. I was insane enough to agree to be treasurer this year (and, shoot me now - I've been sucked into doing it again in 2012) I also managed the canteen ordering and tried to keep the website going, and keep swearing to walk away from it all one day.
I also allowed myself to be talked into taking the court (for the first time in my life- unless you count primary school sport where I didn't have a clue what I was doing!) We have a mixed social comp on Tuesday nights the second half of the year, and we made it a family affair with all five of us playing together. It's a whole new ball game being out there on the court and trying to make your body do what seems perfectly obvious as a spectator. I don't think I'll push my luck with it again.. my joints (and brain) are too old to be taking it up at this age! We did win the comp though - I'm sure it was my contribution at Wing Defence that made that happen! *cough cough*.
Ali was selected into the North Coast Academy of Sport netball squad which has involved a few training weekends. Fortunately a few of them were in Coffs and Grafton, but she's also had to go to Port Macquarie and Lismore, as well as to the NIB games in Maitland in the July school holidays.
Zoe started high school, and has 'excelled' in the Excel class. Excellent reports and academic and merit awards, her teachers sing her praises, and she's one of the SRC reps for next year. Apart from the netball she continued with tennis lessons until this last term, and was earning herself money with a paper run until the papers unceremoniously dumped all their 'walkers' for an alternative method of delivery. She's "defected" to Coffs netball with their rep squad over this last term, looking to challenge herself more with her netball. Tryouts for the actual team are in early March - so it remains to be seen what 2012 will bring in that regard. Lucky she has the netball to get her outdoors and for fitness. Other than that and the once-a-week swim squad, it's hard to get her outside. There's not much calorie burning in reading Harry Potter more than 20 times is there?
Ali cruised through Yr 10 - rather too nonchalantly for her parents' liking, but she thinks we're a bit unreasonable. We just hope that she is timing her run for Year 11 and 12. And hopefully she times that better than her run for the bus each morning! For going anywhere! Ali's life philosophy is 'why get ready and have two minutes to kill? That would be a waste of time.' I guess she's just more a typical teenager than Cait - with more of a focus on socialising, and spending time and money on hair and clothes! Netball is still her passion, though, and it's been a great experience for her with the academy, taking her netball to a whole new level. She's still swimming once a week, which is a good thing for her fitness. (At least this year she bothered to go in the races in the school swimming carnival, so she nailed herself 16 yr girl swimming champion.) She has also just signed up to do surf club and her bronze medallion. Her motive is purely social, but at least it's good 'wholesome' stuff. Like Zoe she lost the paper run. She's had a couple of stints with some local small businesses, but has been treated pretty poorly in both. The way she spends money she needs another source of income and fast.
Cait's 'gap year' working at a local cafe had its ups and downs. She has seemingly had either too many days work, or not enough. It took till August for her to pull her finger out to get her licence. (Not for lack of us nagging her to get out of bed on her days off to go driving to get her hours up!) But hallelujah, she got it - on a manual (and actually at short notice on the Landcruiser because the Laser broke down on the way to her driving test!!!) She now has her own car, and needless to say we are milking it for all it's worth (getting her to drive her sisters here and there, or run errands for us) and getting some payback before she heads up to Brisbane to uni - in a few weeks time! (Gulp!) She has been playing touch and netball (two nights a week each) - but I don't think she'll jump into coaching netball again any time soon. Can't quite believe our firstborn is officially an adult (and even gradually behaving more like one and less like a teenager! You have to laugh when she rolls her eyes at things her sister does -I have to point out that it's kinda exactly what she was doing at 16!) Just when she is becoming almost reasonable, she's going to be leaving home! I think I may even miss her! ;)
Marc has been a busy boy this year, trying to juggle the renos with work commitments, along with always supporting the girls with their netball. (He understands the game waaay better than I ever will.) He missed a lot of Touch this year due to the comps in town being cancelled due to all the rain, so he made sure he didn't miss out on the opportunity to go and play in New Zealand for a weekend again. He's still on the committee for Woopi Touch (between us we are certainly doing our share for the local sporting community), so does all the admin, draws etc, in all that spare time he has. (Ha!)
We got into our riding for a bit there, training up to do the 100km Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge in August (and winning the tandem section thankyouverymuch!). He is very much enjoying the fact that our tandem is about 17kg lighter than it used to be, and so we are riding harder and stronger than we ever did. He also very much enjoyed wearing a mullet wig to an 80s prom theme party the other week. I am still wondering about that - and was quick to point out that if he'd had hair like that in the 80s we probably wouldn't be married now! :D
2011 was a pretty good year for me. I lost some more weight (a bit more than I even dreamed possible) and am now pretty happy where I am, and so much more content in myself (and with what I see in the mirror). I can now run, and so built up to a 10km fun run in Coffs in September. (The last couple of k's I was in agony and just about shuffling, but I did it!) I still love my swim squad twice a week, and I've been trying new things like a Bodypump and Bodyattack class at a gym (may as well do something constructive for the 2 hours that Zoe had netball training in Coffs each Monday!) I'm in constant touch with other 12WBTers on twitter, which keeps me inspired and on track. I snuck (flew) down to Sydney for the current 12WBT end-of-round finale workout and party the other weekend and got to meet up with and hang with everyone that I've been "talking" to for a year. I now have a big bunch of like minded active friends from all over the country, who are all into active challenges, which is right up my alley.
I played tennis again on Thursdays, and enjoyed being able to run around the court so much easier, but we struggled with filling a team each week, so that will be the last of my Ladies Midweek experience.
I finally got to ride on the triple this year, seeing I now don't break the load limit for the middle seat. If we do it again I'm changing the saddle - I don't know how the girls coped with it. The 60km we rode that day nearly killed me - thought my bum would never recover.
In August I landed some work through Council with the brief to produce a bike route booklet for the Coffs, Bellingen and Nambucca shires. I'm pretty proud of the outcome achieved (working with a great graphic designer), although it was a bit stressy trying to get it done in a limited time within funding constraints. Now all I need is for it to lead to more work opportunities!
Our plan for Christmas Day is beach time and seafood on the BBQ. The weather and surf conditions ("dangerous") might not come to the party, and we have to do just a little bit of packing as we are heading off on Boxing Day to Marc's mum at Tea Gardens and taking Chrissy dinner with us. (She has had a bad run this year - with two knee operations - the second to reattach a tendon - and yet more hospital time and surgery with an infection in the knee in the last few weeks.) So it's not quite going to be the lazy, relaxed day we really would like.
We're then heading through to the Blue Mountains to get our annual canyoning fix, and then, a big treat for NYE - Goat Island on Sydney Harbour for the fireworks before heading home around the 3rd.
Then it's back to more renovation madness which I am sure will take us right through 2012. We are treating it like a marathon and only focusing on each stage (so don't even ask about a completion date!) With a bit of luck we might still be married this time next year.
So... that was us in 2011. How about you?!
A Happy Christmas to one and all, and here's to 2012 !!