December 2003 - March 2004

We have a flash new front garden!

Our front fence has been needing replacement for some time now - but we decided a couple of months ago that we would do more than just replace it! You see, the side fence didn't run along our boundary at all, but rather up to about 4m inside it, and in doing so came up flush against the pathway to our front door, giving the whole entranceway a rather crowded feeling. The high dilapidated fence hid our property, which was becoming increasingly bushy, behind it and we didn't see the opportunity hidden there for a couple of years!
Once we did go and do some investigation, we decided we could extend our garden back to our side boundary, by moving the fence further out to the side and running a small retaining wall along the lower end. We removed three sections of the old fence to get a better look and to clear out the accumulated bush debris, trim back the trees, remove an old tree house from the large tree that was soon to become part of our new front garden, etc.
Right: View of the garden with the old front fence and old side fence posts (centre left in this photo) still in place
Then in early December we got our builder to do the fence and retaining wall, and extend the railings on the bridge to our front door. In January a lot of the trees on the bushy slope beside the bridge were given a long overdue prune which helped open up the area even more, and allowed a lot more sunlight through to the new garden. We planted up the extended garden area after laying down new weed matting, and then added an irrigation system (important in this garden as it is largely sheltered from the rain by the large tree overhead).
And here's the final result - what a transformation! The new fence really smartens the whole place up, and the extended garden not only offers a more generous approach to the bridge to our front door, but gives visitors a better view of our house and property, including views down to our new lower deck. We've given the bridge a big tidy-up, removing the natty Perspex enclosure around the front door and water blasting the whole bridge (plus the pathway and driveway). I then painted the railings in New Denim Blue (the same colour as our new roof and fence posts - these photos make it look a bit more blue than it actually is...). Finally, Brent filled in the new railing at the end of the bridge with more trellis to match the rest.
Below: How the area has changed over the past 3 years!
January 2001
September 2001
February 2004

(Don't forget you can click on any of these photos to see them bigger)

We were planning on revamping our other gardens after this, but our re-roofing project has put an unexpected halt to those plans. You see, we've finally managed to get a more reasonable quote on re-roofing the rest of the house (and carport etc), which will involve a lot of scaffolding and activity around the perimeter of our house. We expect this job to proceed by early April. We therefore decided the gardens surrounding the house should be left bare until the job is completed. I've therefore shifted my focus to waterblasting all the other balconies and decks of our house, and repainting all the railings (and some external doors) in the new denim blue. Still not finished, but well underway... As soon as these are all finished, and the new roof goes on, we'll be left with a much smarter looking house! (We'll probably be able to show all this off next update...)


Emily's First Birthday!

Wow - Emily is now one year old! We gave her a double celebration: The first was immediate family dinner on her actual birthday; the second was a kiddies party including wider family and friends, on the following Sunday. The kiddies party was held down on our playdeck so the children could play on the playgym, ride the trikes etc after their party feast. We had a face-painter come and paint all the children's faces as well. The weather was fantastic and the adults also had a great time catching up while basking in the sun! Even our dear wee Emily seemed to enjoy herself immensely, so a great day was had by all!

Happy Birthday to Emily!

Finlay is Spiderman!

Lydia with her big cousin Kelsi

In just two weeks we'll be doing it all over again, as Lydia turns three! March is going to be a busy month... Until then Lydia is having a great time playing with all of Emily's new toys!!!

Our girls' progress
Lydia and Emily are getting on great together - they love each other dearly (Lydia even likes to tell her this in the bath!) though, like all children they occasionally get into little fights over toys etc, but it soon blows over and they're all hugs again. Lydia insists on dressing up as a fairy every afternoon and pretends to dance like a ballerina (even doing it all properly standing and twirling right up on her toes!) which is so cute to watch! Looks like its time to find some dance classes to take her to... Emily is a real Mummy's girl which is becoming a problem, so we're slowly working on that! She's looking more like her father all the time, right down to the dark curly hair (Lydia's was still straight at this age).
A few months ago was the long awaited Christmas 2003. Lydia had been looking forward to it for the whole of December, asking to sing along to "Jingle Bells" over and over again, see Santa etc, so we were a little puzzled when the day finally arrived she was very demure and didn't even want to open her presents in her Santa sack! We initially put it down to over-excitement, but after a few hours she became inconsolable and a belated check of her temperature (40oC!) sent us rushing off the the Accident and Emergency doctors (yes, on Xmas day!). The final diagnosis was Tonsillitis (Emily had had this about a month earlier!) - what rotten timing! As you can see from the photo on the left, once the Pamol kicked in, she was back to her happy old self!

Emily has finally become a lot easier to live with in the past few weeks - all her reflux and wind problems seem to finally be on the mend. After battling with this for a year I say HOORAY! She's become a fantastic eater (tasting virtually everything we give her), and is also becoming much better at playing by herself. She's not just walking now, she's running and climbing, and in a cute twist, she has recently learned to crawl!!! She's still on two day sleeps and Lydia is still on one, which means they sleep at opposite times, and I'm stuck at home with them all afternoon! I look forward to Emily shifting down to one sleep, but she's not quite ready for it yet... I'm so glad we have the playground downstairs, so that one can play there while the other is asleep. Worth every cent!