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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Grade 6 Graduation (the Australian edition)

Hannah's entire school year built to this moment. There was nothing bigger to her than grade 6 graduation.  We had the dress, the shoes and mom and dad pitched in on the day to help decorate the hall. 

The teachers made these great posters of each kid. We used them to decorate the walls in the hall and the kids had the best time finding their poster and posing beside them.
Hannah was very specific when it came to what she wanted in a dress - it had to be blue, it had to have a twirly skirt and it had to be different than everyone else. a little online shopping solved that one, we found this super cute dress for a super reasonable price at a little online shop called One Sunday.

We only had about an hour to get ready after school, so into the shower she went and after a little blowdrying and primping, this beauty was ready to go.

The night had music, slideshows, and lovely speeches written by the kids about their friends.

Hannah's friend Indee nailed her speech about Hannah with comments about her accent, her short stature and how she always seems to be one snack away from being "hangry"!

Hannah wrote a great speech about her friend Kira. I'm always so proud of how well spoken she is! We can't figure out where she gets it from, but I always receive lovely comments about her when she has the opportunity to speak at the weekly assembly.

I got an honourable mention too! I was lucky enough to help hand out the LOTE (language other than english) award. I was lucky enough to be able to spend one day a week at school helping out the kids that had chosen French as the language they wanted to study this year. The award went to a lovely girl who worked hard all year with me and it was lovely to be able to watch her receive the award.

Earlier in the year Hannah came home commenting that she didn't have many family members to invite to graduation. So she invited the Ruighaver clan, they are our Aussie family after all.

Speeches were over, the awards given out and all the slideshows played. It was finally time for the parents to get out so that the party could start!

I was thoroughly impressed with the whole event. The incredibly hard-working 5/6 teachers and all the students made it all come together. Hannah had the night of her life with all of her friends, and we really enjoyed seeing all their hard work become a reality.

We couldn't be prouder of our little graduate. She has done so much over the years, in particular the way she has handled 2 years abroad without batting an eye, and all the amazing leadership opportunities she had taken on this year. She's more confident than ever, well-spoken, incredibly responsible and a great leader. She's amazing funny and sassy little superstar and we can't wait to see what she does next!

Just a couple of days of school are left, and then it's off to high school and year 7 for this class of 2016. We wish them well, they are all amazing, and we can't wait to see what they are all up to in another 3 years! #gullylyf

Junior Rotary Community Award

One of the many opportunities Hannah had this year was to participate in the Junior Rotary Community Award program. 

Only the grade 6's participate in the program as it is quite a bit of work requiring all participating students to complete the following:
  1. 20 hours of community service 
  2. 10 hours of physical recreation (over 10 weeks)
  3. 10 hours towards a new skill
  4. Attend and report on a community commemoration
  5. Attend and report on a arts performance
  6. Attend and report on a community meeting
  7. Participate in a religious experience
  8. Participate in a cultural experience

For her community service, Hannah got in touch with the RSPCA to find out what they needed donated to help out, produced a poster, handed out 180 posters in the neighbourhood over a month and delivered it all the the RSPCA.

She also learned to cook, laid a wreath at the local ANZAC day ceremony, interviewed a monk at Scott's school and attended another school's production and reviewed it, attended a community school parent's meeting, improved her equestrian skills, and learned about some other cultures at a local market. 

Finally she put it all together in the most amazing scrapbook to present to the local Rotary president and members. 

To say that we're proud of her is an understatement. Hannah always works hard, but extra projects are a bit out of her comfort zone and her time management skills could definitely use some work, lol. We hardly had to remind her at all to work on this project, she came up with the idea of the RSPCA and we were just transportation and printer ink. She had a little help from her teachers and some friends, but she got the whole project done with time to spare this term. 

31 kids started this project at the start of the year, only 12 finished it. They're all amazing kids and we were proud of all of them for their hard work.

Friday, December 16, 2016

What a school Christmas concert looks like in the sunshine.

At home the annual Christmas concert is held in the school gym. The gym is full of parents and siblings, it's hot and it smells like wet winter jackets. It's not that I don't love taking the afternoon off to hear my kids sing a carol or two, it's just way better when it's a picnic after school outside in the sunshine!

After a visit and a picnic outside, the kids all gathered on the stands of the basketball court to treat us to a few carols. 

Tyler and the rest of the 3/4's serenaded us with "I Want a hippopotamus for Christmas". 

The 5/6's gave us a sassy version of "Rockin Around the Christmas Tree"

Yes, those are in fact the same sparkly santa costumes from Knox Carols a week ago! The dance academy gave us one more festive performance for the year. 

 It was a great evening out with all the great families of FTGNP, and best of all we were all home by 7!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Knox Carols by Candlelight

The first Saturday in December Knox city council holds a hugely popular event called Carols by Candlelight. We attended the same event 3 years ago too and had a blast, you can read more about it here.

This year was more of the same. 25 degrees, sunny, great friends and Christmas carols!

In 2013 Hannah participated with her dance troupe in a flashmob routine in the audience. This time round she danced on the main stage with the celebrity performers in front of a crowd that was easily 10,000 people big!

There were days and hours of extra rehearsals plenty of photos by all of the proud parents, 
and then suddenly it was time to go on!

Photo credit goes to our amazing backstage dance mom Sally :) 
 (Hannah starts out on the end at the far right and eventually moves over to the left.)
Apologies for the amateur video, I was trying to watch at the same time :)

One of the headliners this year was the winner of The Voice Australia in 2013, Harrison Craig. We only seem to watch this show when we live here so we totally knew who he was! Not a massive celebrity, but a great performer and famous enough to have the kids super excited to meet him and be on stage with him!

The sun went down, the candles came out and more carols were sang. The whole thing finished off with a great fireworks display. 

I admit that there's just something about a white Christmas in Canada, but this is so much fun too. And did I mention that it's warm? I think that wins the night!

And all of the sudden it's December again

There are plenty of things going on that I have to blog about, but I need a moment.

I honestly don't know how it happened. Did I blink? Where on earth did 11 months go? I'm in denial, and nope I'm definitely not ready to face reality!

December brings sunshine and warm weather,  the end of the school year and the Christmas holidays. It also brings our year away to an end.

We thought it might be easier this time, we are after all more satisfied with the time we've spent with our friends and community. We didn't travel as much, instead making more time for bbq's, sleepovers, birthday parties, dancing, basketball, riding and of course each other. Is it greedy to say that it's still not enough?

And so we will continue to pack and clean and get organised for Christmas, but we're going to do it all while refusing to acknowledge the reality that is creeping up all too quickly. We're all happy now - in this moment - and we'll stay here as long as we can.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The sun finally came out!

We could hardly believe it when it happened. By now the weather should be pretty consistently warm and sunny. This year, not so much. So when the sun came out and the temperature went up into the high 20's we got outside quick smart. 

It's warm, it's sunny, I'm wearing must be time for Christmas!

One of the things we look forward to here are the Myer Christmas windows. Each year they are decorated to tell a different Christmas story. This year the story is One Christmas Eve, the story of a grandfather and his granddaughter who spend Christmas Eve together at Luna Park. 

The windows are massive works of moving art depicting the story through the windows.

We also found the city was starting to have a Christmas feel to it. With nutcrackers and giant Christmas trees.

 We love this city on a good day, with Christmas decorations and sunshine, it's even better.