Merry Christmas everyone! I hope 2010 has been a year filled with great moments for you, and that you are looking forward to 2011 with the wonderment of a 3 year old:-) I have to smile there, you see, a 3 year old, my 3 year old, views everything as exciting discoveries or major catastrophes that one would need rescuing from (enter stage right Fireman Sam). Our house is an exciting place to be, everyday there is something new to discover. From how high can I (Ella) climb up the wall? If she can move various stools and tables to the right position, quite a long way up! To, “If I mix a bit of this and a bit of that and stir, I wonder what that will taste like?” Mmmmm yum...Actually she is pretty good at only pretending to eat her concoctions, it took me a while to realise it was only pretend, I am a lot more relaxed about it now.

Let me give you a run down of our year. Firstly, we survived, which is always a good thing. We had some highs and some lows. The major high was baby Michael. I spent 7 months of the year pregnant and Ella became increasingly excited about her baby brothers arrival. I became increasingly anxious for baby boy to arrive because I was becoming increasingly sicker with pre-eclampsia. I probably more than anyone else was relieved to be taken off for an emergency c-section at 37 weeks. Enter the world Michael Antony Chapman (30-July-2010). He was quite miffed about being dragged out of his warm environment, but he needed food (something apparently I wasn't giving him). He was given food straight away and put on a warming pad and he hasn't looked back. He is growing, alert and a very happy little boy. He is also the spitting image of his sister. Who absolutely adores him and is extremely helpful when it comes to doing things for Michael. She tells me daily that she loves him.

Miss Ella has grown so much in the last year. Her loves this year have been singing, dancing, drawing, crafts and cooking. Every toy she has will be used for its primary purpose for a maximum of 30 minutes and then turns into some sort of food at a café or party, that we all have to attend. She has a huge imagination and is often making up stories, singing them or telling them using pegs or stones as the people. Her drawings are increasingly becoming more detailed, where she doesn't just draw an object (which are starting to look more like the actual objects) but she draws a whole story.

We have been away on holiday a couple of times. We started the year in Melbourne at my brother Theo's and his family's place. At the beginning of February we stayed with Chris's parents in Taupo for a week. In March Chris went back to Melbourne for the Formula One, he seemed to enjoy his weekend away. In May Ella and I flew to Sydney where my cousin Jill and her husband Kerry picked us up and we drove to Canberra for a couple of nights then back to Cooranbong to stay with them for a few nights. In Canberra Ella and I visited with my sister Allison. It was great to see her and for Ella to spend some time with Allison getting to know her. It was a very precious and memorable time for me. In July Chris spent a week in the USA for work and on his return we went to Taupo for a week, with a main goal of taking Ella to the snow. Her first trip to the snow. We have some great video of her experiencing it for the first time. Unfortunately I didn't get to go to the mountain with them, our week ended very early, I was very sick and by the end of the week Michael was a part of our family. We went to Taupo again in November, this time Chris's parents were also there so Ella got to spend some quality time with the extended family. I felt quite nostalgic as we were driving out of Auckland with our car packed for a family holiday and the 2 kids in the back seat. Our family now feels complete and this was our first holiday together.

I also went to Australia briefly in September. September was a month filled with highs and a lot of low moments. It was my birthday (even though I am getting on a bit in age that was a high), Mum came to visit (high), Jill came to visit (high), my baby girl had her 3rd Birthday (high), but it was all mingled in with the knowledge that my sister Allison was slowly (or not so slowly at this stage) losing her battle with cancer. On the 22nd Mum called to tell me that Allison had died. A couple of days later I flew to Canberra to be with family and to attend Allison's funeral. ...Anyway, moving on, that is hard to talk about but there it is.

15 hours after getting home from Canberra and picking Jill up at the airport on my way, Jill and I managed to pull off a fabulous birthday party for Ella's 3rd birthday the following morning. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep that night for preparations, but we did it.

We have put a montage of photos together from our year which follows, hope you enjoy them. At the end of this are some of the professional family photos we got taken this year. This was my “What was I thinking!” moment of the year. Not getting the photos taken, more the timing. These were taken at the end of September, 8 weeks after giving birth (if you have ever given birth you will get it), right after Ella's birthday and the funeral. Needless to say I wasn't feeling my best, and obviously not thinking very clearly. Steph did a great job as usual and we cherish these photos.

So from me (Paula), Chris, Ella & Michael, Happy New Year.