Dear family and friends,
Wow, what a year! Clearly the biggest news of the year is the birth of our beautiful daughter, Ella Maree on April 17. It was very special to be able to share her arrival with Janet’s parents and to then be joined the next day by Janet’s sister Katharine and Aunty Eenie. The four of them had conspired to keep Eenie’s visit a secret and we were kept completely in the dark until she walked in our front door. With Ella in our room, Sandy and Richard in the nursery, Katharine on the floor in the lounge and Eenie finding a bed in the hotel just up the road, it was a very full house with plenty of helping hands to let us ease into parenthood.
Katharine had her heart set on introducing Ella to the beach, so despite the blustery English spring conditions, we all piled into a van and headed off in search of a “real beach”, but wound up in Brighton. We also enjoyed other day trips – walks into town and exploring some of the areas around Maidenhead which helped to get us used to getting out and about with Ella. She quickly became a well-travelled baby.
The travelling continued after Katharine and Eenie headed back home, as the remaining 5 set off once more on a road trip along the south coast of Wales, giving Ella her first night in a hotel. We were then very blessed to have Sandy and Richard here for Ella’s baptism. Ella was the perfect baby through the whole service and didn’t even cry when having the water poured over her head. Her Godparents Wanda and Alan and many of our other friends joined us afterwards for cuddles and cake at our place.
Not long after Sandy and Richard left, we had our next visitor, Janet’s good friend Laura who stayed with us for two weeks. We enjoyed spending time together, mostly eating and watching tennis. Ella showed early signs of enjoying tennis, being fascinated by the TV whenever the tennis was on.
Since April we have started experiencing many “firsts” – first Father’s day, first solid food, first rolling, first time being baby-sat etc. We have also kept in touch with the couples from the antenatal class, with Janet and the other Mum’s catching up every Monday and seeing each other in their busy social lives at “bumps and babes”, “rhyme time”, baby yoga and more. Ella has almost completed her first series of swimming lessons with Daddy and is very confident in the water, happily splashing, kicking and even being completely submerged.
Our biggest adventure of the year was in August when we flew back to Australia to introduce Ella to the rellies. Not only did Ella fly all that way, she also flew all about Australia to visit Adrian’s family in Townsville and Janet’s relatives in Leeton NSW. Ella is very blessed to have two great grandmothers who she met on this trip. This was also a chance for us to meet Ella’s new cousin Maddie (Madison Eve Giorcelli) – Adrian’s sister’s first child, born 12 weeks after Ella.
The trip back to Australia highlighted the fact that we have a very content little girl. Ella has slept well from a young age and is always full of smiles. She did however decide that the day we flew back from Australia was a great time to start experimenting with making loud noises – at least they were happy squeals…
The trip back to Australia really made us realise just how much we miss our family and how much we want them to share in as much of Ella’s life as possible, so we have decided to move back to Australia in February 2012. It is however going to be very difficult to say goodbye to all the wonderful friends we’ve made over here. We have been busy filling out paperwork as Ella is registered as a dual citizen and Adrian acquired British citizenship as well, so we are now a 6 passport family. Adrian’s citizenship also means that any future children who are born in Australia will automatically be dual-nationals as well. Hopefully one day our kids can come over and have the same kind of amazing experiences that we have had.
Last year we spent Christmas day with Wanda and Alan and their family. It was wonderful to spend Christmas in a family atmosphere and we are very blessed that we’ll be able to do that again this year as Janet’s parents are coming over. Richard is desperately hoping for a white Christmas but the weather forecast suggests this may be the one year we’ve been here that it doesn’t snow. They plan to head over to Switzerland though so should see plenty of snow there. While they’re away we’re hoping to do one last trip into Europe and take the train across to France and then drive up to Belgium. Next year we’re hoping to keep up the adventuring spirit and explore more of Australia.
For those that haven’t discovered it already, we’ve been keeping a blog of our adventures at www.thesuttons.name. You can enter your email address there as well and you’ll get an email whenever we post something new. It will be a great way of keeping in touch when we move back to Australia.
We hope this letter finds you in good health and that the New Year brings peace, joy and happiness.
Adrian, Janet and Ella