Here is the highly anticipated annual letter form the Woods of Perth. It has been a year of mostly highs, but a death in the family was a significant low for us this year and made us reflect on the importance of family and life balance.

With the children rapidly growing up and the occasional aches and pains of age creeping up on us, we have focussed on making the most of what we have and the opportunities we have been given and giving our kids the tools to thrive whatever the future may bring.

For those without the attention span to read this essay, here is the Twitter version:

We travelled to NZ and Thailand, work is much the same, and the kids continue to excel in school and sports, and sadly Rob’s dad passed away #yearinreview #thistravellife 

For Christmas this year we enjoyed a large family gathering at Clare’s brother Paul’s house, making the most of his swimming pool on a typical hot Perth Chrissy day. This marked the end of another adventurous year for our family, with not one but two overseas holidays (three for Rob!). We travelled to New Zealand for two weeks in April, a place that had been on our bucket list for a long time. The weather was kind and the place lived up to all its hype, the highlight probably being Queenstown and the nearby fiords, just spectacular. 

International Antarctic Centre
International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch, NZ

We had another getaway in the October school holidays, taking advantage of cheap flights to pop over to Phuket, Thailand. Hot temperatures, spicy food, smelly and noisy streets, tantalising all our senses! 

Other trips this year included camping at Fonty’s pool with the Reilly clan, a long-overdue return to Rottnest with some friends mid-March, and we couldn’t miss the annual winter weekend getaway to Margaret River, glamping with the Mount Hawthorn parents.

Many of our holiday snaps can be seen on our Instagram account. For 2020 it looks like even more local travel, as we have just bought a Jayco Hawk pop-up caravan as a Christmas present for ourselves, so bring on the adventure!

There were big changes to our household this year with a high school student (and pre-teen) in the house. Olive has completed her first year of high school at Shenton College within the GATE academic program. She has confidently tackled the solo travel to school and challenging workload, and after connecting with some great friends early on, she has had a fabulous, fun and rewarding year. She is certainly turning into a young lady, growing even taller although she hasn’t quite reached mum’s height, not yet anyway! We definitely had enough faith in her abilities to send her on a solo trip to Melbourne to visit her cousins during the school holidays, and she enjoyed all the independence she loves. Olive played netball in winter again this year, and has opted for cricket over the summer, always willing to give everything a go.

What Sulpur?
Olive in New Zealand

Jetson has breezed through year 4, streaking ahead in maths and being selected for PEAC (Primary Extension Academic Course) for years 5 and 6, which will open up a lot of doors for him. He endured another major bone surgery, changing the angle of his lower leg, resulting in him being wheelchair-bound for 11 weeks. This was a massive challenge for our household, although in typical Jetson style he learned very quickly how to do wheelies, speed along in the wheelchair, and actually take advantage of the situation. He always gets on with it! Despite the interruption, he is loving his sport more than ever, playing indoor soccer and cricket again this year.

Nothing Will Stop Him
Nothing will stop him going to his beloved Carlton

Casper finished year 2 with confidence, after having an amazing teacher he has had previously, which was a bonus. He has had a wonderful year, making lots more friends at school, which he is very good at. He is Mr nice guy liked by everyone. He surprisingly got his lowest grade in art, which he has always shown amazing skill in, so I guess it is a testament to how good the rest of his report grades were, excelling in everything. He is following in Olive’s footsteps and will be often found with his head in a Percy Jackson book. Casper has performed well again in athletics, being selected for the interschool carnival again! He also played tennis and cricket, showing off his natural sporting skills. 

Ice Cream King
Some things never change – he still loves his chocolate

The kids have all been involved in lots of scout and cub adventures this year, they all love the outdoor adventures and stimulating activities. It’s great for the adults too, as the stars aligned for a combined weekend camp, providing us with a kid-free weekend which we made the most of, getting away for a romantic getaway in the Hills of Perth.  

Clare at Floriade in Canberra
Clare at Floriade, Canberra

Clare has had another busy year working with the WA cricketers, including a trip with the Cricket Australia U18 girls team to Bendigo. She also had several opportunities to extend her sports nutrition and cricket knowledge, with a cricket conference in Brisbane in April, and the Sports Dietitians conference in Melbourne in October. A great opportunity to catch up with dietitian colleagues who she has worked with around Australia. On a personal note, her mum is still living at home by herself but is needing more care and assistance to manage independently. 

Rob on Gilli Air, Lombok
Rob enjoying a coconut on Gilli Air, Lombok

Between holidays and walking the kids to school occasionally, Rob keeps ticking along. He was able to slip in an extra holiday, a looong weekend boy’s trip to Lombok, chilling out on Gili Air. Unfortunately Rob’s dad John recently passed away after suffering from Parkinson’s for many years. The up-side was that the whole Wood family came together in Melbourne, which doesn’t happen too often, for a lovely fitting service to say goodbye to John. May he rest in peace.

Cousins in Melbourne

We hope you have all had a wonderful, exciting or amazing year, and best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy new year in 2020.

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