At Home with the Harlands                                                               Christmas 2004

Well, yet another whirlwind year. At the end of last year James celebrated the dreaded 4-0 and Linda was not much after. Thanks to Linda’s parents and her sister Wendy we were able to head off into the sunset, literally, without children for a week on Daydream Island in Queensland. It was the first time in ten years or so that we could honestly say that we were child free longer than a 48-hour period. We had a fabulous time including a helicopter flight on Linda’s birthday to Whitehaven Beach along with champagne and chicken for dinner. We had dessert at the restaurant on the resort on our return to land. Then we returned to reality…….

Text Box:  Jeremy is now nearly four, and quite often gets the moniker ‘monster’. He is into everything and quickly picks up on conversations even the ones not meant for his ears! He has had an excellent final year at the local crèche and will start in the Early Learning Centre at Haileybury in January. He climbs everything - scaring a babysitter by climbing one of our fig trees. It is not unusual to find him perched in this tree with one or other of his siblings. He has a well-developed love of books, and is very quick to demand that a book be read at least three times, inevitably in the ‘reading chair’. He loves riding a bike but steadfastly refuses to use his brakes; why bother when shoe leather can be applied to the ground?

Text Box:  Emily has had a wonderful year in Pre-Prep. She has matured a great deal but can at times be quite bossy and a bit ‘know-it-all’. She even gave her teacher advice on what to wear in cold weather when wearing a skirt in winter. Her ability to play I Spy in the car with Mum has developed to the point of asking wether the animal starting with D that lives in the ocean could be found in the Arctic or Atlantic Ocean. Mum stayed on the road but only just. Next month will begin a new phase for her at Haileybury as she enters the Junior School in Prep. As she has begun reading and is quick with numbers we are sure she will be quite comfortable in this new environment.

Text Box:  Timothy has just completed Grade 2 at Hughesdale Primary School and is also ready for a new beginning at Haileybury next year. It has been pleasing to see his reading skills develop and he has also fought against his inferior paternal handwriting genes to develop a more legible script. He has an ability to remind us of an activity coming up at school and the necessary forms or equipment required. Book Week saw a very keen Indiana Jones head off to school. Mind you the whip made by Dad before heading OS broke and Mum had to search for rope and suitable sticks at 10pm the night before. We are convinced Timothy is an engineer in the making. He loves making things out of Lego, K’Nex, boxes, egg cartons etc. Each has a purpose and function clearly explained by the builder. He also remembers at times to put his constructions out of reach of sticky inquisitive fingers.

Text Box:  Joshua has completed his final year at HPS. He has worked well and enjoyed his graduation. His mother was quite happy that Book Week did not require a hand made costume. Nonetheless he looked very cool in his black suit and dark sunglasses. Who was he? MIB when he left home, James Bond sometime during the morning and then I think it was MIB later in the day. His piano playing has continued although practicing is not his forte. Unfortunately he did not perform in the end of year concert as he was knocked over in the playground during recess and needed to be picked up and taken home. A real highlight for the year has been his involvement in basketball and winning the winter grand final. He is looking forward to Year 7 at Haileybury and will be able to help Mum round up the troops in the afternoon.

Linda has had a good year at Haileybury. At the start of the year she was given the opportunity to start learning the intricacies of the school reporting system. At the start of July this was formalised and she is now an Associate Dean. Essentially this means she gets a time allowance that will reduce her teaching time by one class. It may also open up some avenues into timetabling. For some this may sound like sheer madness but this sort of promotion was one of the reasons for moving to Haileybury. She was also very excited to see a student from her Year 12 Maths Methods class last year top the state with his VCE results and appear on the front page of The Age. Saturday sport has been interesting, with supervision of the top Year 9 tennis team in the summer and proceeding down the slippery slope to the bottom senior soccer team for winter. One gain, if it can be called that is that she now knows what the offside rule is. For next year a stroke of luck has meant that she will supervise the players in the 10A Tennis team and not have to supervise a winter team.

James has had several trips this year. The first one in January to New Zealand. This caused some problems because Linda started work before he returned and the children were still on holidays. The next trip was to Ireland, the UK (to visit David and a quick trip to see Jane), Belgrade (to see Tanja) and a conference in Finland. Soon after returning home there was a trip to RMIT in Vietnam. Finally just to round out the year a trip to Kuala Lumpur recently. Linda lives in hope that one day she may be able to ride on his coat tails! He is still singing with the Astra choir and is often off at rehearsal in the frenetic lead up to Christmas.