Hippolite Herald Christmas 2008

Fiona Writes

As the rain lashes against the windows I can’t help but think God is good, it’s a perfect day to get out our very last minute, Christmas newsletter. For those that get this electronically you will have this BEFORE Christmas this year, however, as I have absolutely no control over the delivery of snail mail the rest of you might get this in time for the New Year. Once again we’ve been slack at correspondence this year and I applaud all of you who have been faithful at remembering birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions. James in defeat gave me a book this year called Archiving for Dummies because my inbox grows daily. It’s the perfectionist in me that doesn’t want to delete that email until I’ve “actioned” it. It’s this time of the year I get caught out on those emails I haven’t processed, coz I usually get a 5% bounce on the electronic newsletter.

So what have we been up to this year? Well we haven’t moved house, church, changed jobs or school in that respect things have been same old same old. Not that we’re stuck in a rut, though as we continue to try new things.

We started 2008 off with house-sitting a friend’s house in Christchurch. What a wonderful treat. The weather was gorgeous and we caught up with family and friends including my parents and siblings and their families. James worked from the Christchurch office for some of the time so we could stay 28 days. A big clap for our friends the Londts who opened their home to us. During this month we completed a lot of our educational visits. We spent a lovely day at Orana Park with my family, courtesy of a very lovely Christmas present from my brother. We spent another lovely day at Hamner Springs taking in the hot water courtesy of my sister. The kids also went to Science Alive (one of their favourites), ice skating, Canterbury Museum, on the trams, up the gondolas, Ferrymead, several swimming pools, Cookie Time, Air Force Museum, Rutherford’s Den, Arts Centre and much more.

Tane at Soccer

On our return to Wellington Tane spent a week at a soccer school, a first for him. He thoroughly enjoyed this and went on to play soccer for the local club this year. Tane also spent the month of January reading his way through all 3 Lord of the Ring books so that he could watch the movies. Since then Tane’s interest in books has mainly been reading comics, Horrible Histories, Star Wars and latterly Dr Who novels. At nights the boys listen to stories like Famous Five, Secret Seven, Narnia and other classics. Tane often reads late into the night.

Hamish Acting

The boys have also attended drama classes with other home schoolers all year. In the third term they put on a drama production which for the first time Hamish took a main part. Hamish has really gained confidence on stage. He has gone from not wanting to be on stage last year (even when he had the opportunity of being on TV) to playing one of the main characters in this years White Sunday production, a modern day version of the Prodigal Son. Hamish had to dress like Elvis and sing as well as say some lines. He looked so cool.


I won a trophy

Tane has also been involved in another production.

Tane Writes

This year I attained grade four at my tap dance class.  I won two medals: bronze and silver.  I am the only boy in my class of seven.  I have just done my first tap performance.  I wear split sole shoes.  I won a trophy for most improved in tap discipline this year.


Fiona Continues

T o keep fit both James and I have played squash this year though I had to stop in October because my arm was getting too sore. I’m hoping to get back into it over the holiday period now that my arm has healed from the carpal tunnel operation I had in September. I also spent time working out on a Pilate bed, aqua jogging or walking with friends. James and Tane are still cycling. James and Tane participated in "Bike the Bays" in February. Hamish played rugby. All three kids attended swimming lessons with other home schoolers every Thursday afternoon during each term. We often join other home educators in parks or at recreation centres where the kids get a good run around. Tane still loves his roller blading and Aimée has nearly mastered riding her bike as well as roller blading. Several terms they also went to gymnastics though we won’t be pursing that again next year, something has to stop!

James and I tried to keep our minds active too. Both of us have read a number of great books this year, with James reviewing these and including them in his blogs. 


James Writes

James play squash

This year I reached a milestone: I turned 40.  Those of you who have already reached this auspicious age will know that it instantly causes several reality checks.  As a consequence, I have:

  • Signed up as an Industry Mentor to a team of tertiary students competing in the Microsoft Imagine Cup http://imaginecup.com/
  • Decided to refocus on further refining of my Microsoft Certified Professional certifications.  Currently I am pursing the new Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Database Developer role (I had already attained the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer qualification).
  • Signed up for Squash Interclub at the Northern Racquets Squash Club.  While I have played squash socially for many years, this is the first time I’ve actually joined a club and been getting lessons.  It’s a whole new experience!
  • Morphed the Men’s Elim Team Together for Learning Experiences (METTLE) into a Weekly Collaborative Blog.  We publish a weekly newsletter here: http://tvornz.spaces.live.com/ called The Voice of Reason New Zealand .
  • Agreed to creating and teaching a Creation Teaching Plan for use in my home church.

Now back to Fiona…

I’m always reviewing topics and planning for home educating activities. We attended a Parenting with Confidence course over 6 weeks and their evening sessions on raising boys and girls. You get so many good ideas from these courses but it seems you can only introduce or change one or two things at a time. For parenting is still my biggest challenge. I occasionally get games of Tri-ominos, scrabble, Upwords and Cranium with family and friends. Puzzles have been great during the winter and the kids love helping out.

For family outings we have; enjoyed socialising with other families, joined Waitangi celebrations, attended open days at the Police College, St Gerrard’s Monastery and Westpac Rescue Helicopter, gone bargain hunting at school fairs, participated in a Passover Feast, toured the Doulous ship, viewed a video presentation on Iran: Seven Faces of a Civilization, gone rock climbing and abseiling, visited museums, dined out at Italian, Chinese, Malaysian, Moroccan and American restaurants, celebrated Guy Fawkes, tried Folk Dancing, attended a book launch, enjoyed mini-golf, attended dance performances of several friends, joined in St Andrews celebrations, cruised on Wellington harbour, attended the Mark extension opening, watched an Oliver production and the Johnsonville Christmas Parade, been entertained by Gravity a Circus group and Global Dance.

As usual James took the day off to spend with each child on their birthday. Hamish was fortunate enough to have his birthday on the same day as the Te Papa 10 year celebrations at which there were a number of special things happening. This year one of the things we’ve done which we don’t usually do is go out to a restaurant for their meal at night. Hamish chose Chinese. On Tane’s birthday this year for the first time he had his Nana and Pops staying so we celebrated at home the night before and then on his actual birthday he had his first go at go-kart racing. Aimée turned 7 this year. We had previously started a tradition that on their 7th birthday they could choose a pet. Aimée got 2 rabbits a boy and a girl. Since one was a boy (neutered) I suggested we call him Stu and the other was a girl, we could call her Gravy, however this did NOT go down well with Aimée. We have invested considerable time in setting up the back garden so it is escape proof for the rabbits, so the rabbits on good days can enjoy the great outdoors and then at night they are safely put into their hutch where it is warmer and drier.


My Rabbit!

Aimee Writes

This year I got rabbits for my seventh birthday.  One is a girl and one is a boy.  They run around our backyard now that we have stopped them from getting into the front lawn, because we don’t like them in the front lawn because it’s too hard to get them.  When we put them in their hutch, three times their door swung open and we had to go and get them.  The boy is better than the girl because the girl bites and scratches you when you try to pick her up and hold her.  The boy is also good because he likes climbing on your shoulder and being held like a baby.  He doesn’t bite you or nibble you.  The girl rabbit is really cute when you lay her backwards and when you put her on your tummy.  She lifts up her head and you can see her teeth.


Fiona Continues

With home educating this year we have continued using the internet maths curriculum called SmartKiddies.  The kids have benefited from education visits including the Colonial Cottage, the Pataka Historic visit, Pataka Textiles, Aesop’s Fables production, a camp where they did a number of outdoor activities, visiting the Zoo, Te Papa and the Science Fair. Hamish and Aimée have also tried free dance workshops, Hamish has been to a drum class.  James has spent 20 evenings with Tane covering an Adolescence study.  Through a free offer Kip McGraith assessed Tane and Aimee’s reading and both of them came out slightly above their age with good comprehension. 

Socially our kids interact with others through their home educating groups, sporting and dancing groups, friends from church, family occasions and birthday parties.  I’ve been really proud of Tane this year as he has stepped out and attended a discipleship group run by another church for intermediate aged kids, gone on a camp up to Foxton with them and attended one of their social gatherings.  He does well at going into a new situation when he’s had time to mentally prepare for it.  At church he has also moved into a new group that meets on Sundays which is for the intermediate age. 

We have thoroughly tried out the NZ health system this year.  Aimée has utilized the free dental care after being referred to a dentist for a root canal.  Tane has discovered the joys of Physio after hurting his knee at soccer training.  I’ve spent a fortune at after care Doctors for bronchitis.  James has endured the process of taking your daughter to the after hours care with urinary infection and been given the second degree.  I’ve benefited from a free carpal tunnel op and Hamish has had his nose cauterized. 


Hamish Writes

Hamish in Hospital

This year I had surgery done in my nose.  I only had it on Tuesday 16 December.  I had to go to Wellington Hospital .  I had to be there at 7:30 in the morning.  I had to wait in a special room.  I had the biggest bed there.  They put on some movies for everybody that was there, because there were several other kids.  I had to wait for them to go first, because they were younger than me.  When it was finally my turn, I got transferred to another room, where I waited a little bit longer.  Then I went into a room where they gave me some special gas to put me to sleep.  When I woke up, I found they had put a tube in my arm, the operation was all done.  Then I had to wait for a little bit longer until I was cleared to go because I was still a little bit dizzy.  That was my Nose Operation.


Fiona Concludes

We’ve enjoyed having relatives, friends and friends of friends stay with us.  One of our hopes when purchasing this house was that people would feel free to stay with us.  Some like my parents arrived when there was only a mattress on the floor in the guest bedroom but I can now say that we have a proper guest bedroom as well as mattresses and bedding for up to 5 people to stay in the rumpus room plus another couple upstairs.  Feel free to stay whenever.  We haven’t done much around the house, just accumulated more books, furniture and now rabbits.  One of the things on the list over the holiday break is to get rid of some stuff.

I’m still involved with Agape Budgeting, supervising new budget advisers, House of Grace running a financial management course for the tenants, Wellington Home Schoolers Association helping modernize their library system and membership processes.  The library project has taken a long time this year.  I should have chosen the finances (which James took on) as I could now say it’s done and finished. 

My two endeavours to be a financial contributing member of the family were mystery shopping (which wasn’t well paid this year if you account for the cost of petrol) and cooking for the Living Waters Camp in July.  Being camp cook is a privileged position and I feel honoured to cook for the LW participants as they work jolly hard all year during the course.  They always pour heaps of compliments over me during the weekend, so it’s very therapeutic for me too, especially when I’m running late or things don’t turn out exactly as planned. 

James Mum

For Christmas this year we are keeping it pretty quiet.  Not much shopping.  I still have a couple of people to buy for but most is now done.  Christmas Day we will go to a service at Elim, visit James’ Mum at Guardian in Whitby, pop into our very good friends The Tansley’s before joining some other good friends the Foley’s for a BBQ.  Boxing Day we will have a few friends over for a BBQ at our place then on the 27th we will be heading off to a Family Camp at Foxton for a week.  James returns to work on 12th January.  If you are around from the 3rd January feel free to pop in and visit or stay.

Over Christmas I hope that you have a lovely time with family and friends, keep safe when travelling and have time for reflection, rest and restoration. 


God Bless

The Hippolite Whanau
6 Maracas Crescent
Grenada Village
Wellington 6037

Home ph (04) 477-9447
Fiona’s Mobile (027) 442-3944
Home email Fiona@manainfo.co.nz


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