Sunday, 23 January 2011
The phone call was from a man, asking me if I was still looking for a job. My heart stopped for a second, then started beating double time. He said he had my CV, and he wanted to do a phone interview. For a teaching job. That I hadn't even applied for. He'd call back in an hour.
We were at the shops, buying a Dorothy dress and hat. I rang my husband. Mum and Mayana and I rushed home, and waited.
It was longer than an hour, but the phone rang again. The man told me that there was a job, for a distance education teacher. He asked me a couple of interview questions. Two to be exact. Then he told me, that if I wanted it, the job would be mine. It would mean moving away from the coast, another new start-over. But it would mean a job. A real-life, full time teaching job in a wonderful Christian school. How amazing is that!
It's such an incredible opportunity. The job is at the same school that my little sister just started her teaching job at. She has a year 1/2 class. I didn't even apply for this job... my new boss (can you believe I have a boss!!!) found my resume after I had applied for the job my sister got, last September. He told me that no one had ever even seen my resume, and that as soon as he saw it, he knew I was the one for the job. I will be facilitating the learning of nearly 80 kids, probably from prep to year four. I will also be able to do classroom teaching for five sessions a week, probably year three, which I'm grateful for.
God's hand is in this in so many ways. Like in the way we had applied for rentals here that got turned down. Like in the way that the meeting my husband was supposed to have to sign paperwork and start a new full-time job in a factory that same morning - got cancelled at the last minute. Like the fact that my resume went unseen for months, and then just showed up like that. Amazing.
So it means another move. We'll be closer to family than the last time. One-and-a-half hours, instead of three. We can do day trips for that. My husband will the stay-at-home parent, and he's so excited. Mayana will love it. The distance education job means that most of my work is done inside the hours of 8.30am and 4pm. When I come home, I can just be Mayana's Mama. And I LOVE that about it. For the first time in our marriage, we will have money, and I love that, too.
I am nervous. Mostly because we don't have a place to move to yet, and the truck is booked for Saturday. And because change is not something I do too well. But I'm trying to be brave, to try and ignore and breathe through the occasional anxiety attacks - not give into them. Because I know this is amazing, and it's so clearly what God has planned for our next step. And that means He's got the house thing taken care of. He's got it all figured out, how I will cope with missing my girl through the days. And that my husband will be able to get work, enough to get his 200 days in two years and get his full teaching registration.
It's exciting! Scary, too, but right. A new adventure.
And that's the other reason why Tuesday was so amazing.
Saturday, 22 January 2011
Tuesday morning, at 1.40am, it was exactly 2 years since I sat bolt upright in bed with my first contraction. I was scared, and completely elated all once: I was going to meet my baby. And just over eight-and-a-half hours later, there she was. My red, wrinkly, cone-headed, teeny-tiny, 5lbs 2oz baby girl. “Her name is Mayana Joy Shanae!” I announced to the world. I was in love. And I didn’t even notice the cone-head until I looked at the photos later. You’ll be pleased to know it didn’t last long, and her head was perfectly round and gorgeous only a few hours later.
And on Tuesday, my tiny 5lbs 2oz (2.3kg) baby, who is now a tiny 20lbs 4oz (9.4kg) toddler, turned two!
Can I just say, I love having a toddler. I have honestly loved every stage my girl has gone through so far. Watching her grow and learn is so exciting. I loved her babyhood, but I don’t pine for it. Toddlerhood is such fun. Sure, we have the occasional tantrum and sooky moments, but her voice is tiny like her, so we can deal with it. She’s displaying her independence in every possible way. She also is speaking HEAPS. We can hardly believe how much she adds to her vocabulary every single day. Even people who haven’t seen her for a week will notice how much it extends even in that short amount of time. She is able to communicate most of her needs to us now, and says some very funny things. For example, today I took her to a shop, and she was touching something she shouldn’t have been. I said to her, “Mayana, we don’t touch things at the shops. We put our hands on our hips, and we look with our…?” “Eyebrows!” She answered, emphatically. It was very funny.
Like I said, she is still little. Two kilograms lighter than her cousin who is over a year younger than her! She still wears size 00 or 0 clothes, and fits the occasional 000. But I don’t worry so much these days, and the doctors have backed off, too. Anyone who knows Mayana knows that her size doesn’t stop her doing anything. She’s one of the healthiest, happiest, loveliest kids around.
We spent her birthday fairly quietly. She had opened most of her presents at her birthday party and only had her big one from us left. We got her an awesome slippery-dip/ball-pit set. She LOVES it, and has spent any moment that she can sneak outside playing on it.
We did some shopping, and Kami bought Mayana a Dorothy the Dinosaur dress and matching hat for her birthday present. Another big hit for the Wiggles-lover, of course! It was while we were shopping that the exact moment she turned two occurred…. and I missed it! I have a good reason though, which you’ll find out if you hang around long enough to read An Amazing Tuesday: Part Two.
In the afternoon, we drove to Montville, which is one of our favourite places to visit. We had lunch, meandered through the gorgeous little shops, and had afternoon tea. It was lovely.
So happy birthday to my gorgeous big two-year-old, who I love more each day than ever before. You fill my life with joy, and you make my heart full. I love you so much!
Can you believe it? I hardly can myself… but my baby is now two years old!
Last Sunday, we celebrated this milestone with a small party of family and friends. It was a lovely afternoon, and Mayana was very spoilt! I feel very blessed to have our special family and friends there – especially the few that were still here from Perth.
On Saturday afternoon, Mayana and I made the birthday cake. This was very exciting for her.. she loves helping out with anything in the kitchen, and was even more excited that it was her “happy birthday owl cake!”. Yep. I made her an owl cake. And I was pretty darn proud of it, too!
Mayana wore a gorgeous new outfit for the afternoon. I bought her the most beautiful bright pink pettiskirt from Ok Charli, which she wore with a white singlet which I embellished with a very cute flower button. She looked super girly, and super gorgeous. See for yourself.
When it came time to sing Happy Birthday, Mayana was very excited about blowing out her candle. The trouble was the breeze not allowing it to stay lit for long enough!
We got there eventually though, and Mayana got to blow out her candle. I was concerned that she wouldn’t take too kindly to us cutting up her beloved owl cake, but thankfully the fact that it was covered in sprinkles, and that she got to eat a piece trumped that in the end, and she was quite happy to share him out between her friends.
Mayana got very spoilt indeed with presents, and it became quite overwhelming for her. When we would tell her who a present was from, she would take it and try and give it away to them! She took a bit of convincing that they really were all for her!
I think one of the problems was that she was opening these exciting and fun toys, and having to put them down straight away without playing with them to open the next one!
It was such a lovely afternoon – the perfect way to celebrate my gorgeous daughter’s birthday.
The cool thing about having interstate family over is that you get to see your hometown through new eyes. It’s kind of fun going to all the attractions that locals just don’t really take advantage of, as well as showing off your favourite haunts.
So it’s been lots of fun day-tripping to Australia Zoo, Underwater World, Montville, Kenilworth, and lots of other fun places.
Here our some of my favourite pics from our touristing adventures…
I hadn’t been to Australia Zoo for easily ten-ish years, so we were very excited when my cousin Jake and his wife Louise asked us along for the day. Their daughter Sunny is two months younger than Mayana, and the two of them are very alike. After some initial disagreements, they settled in to an easy friendship. Our day at the zoo was our final day with them, and they really enjoyed looking at all the animals together. Especially the otters!!
We were lucky enough to be there while Terry, Bindi & Robert Irwin were home. Bindi did an all-singing, all-dancing show with her “Crocgirls”, and Terry took part in the croc show. It was good fun.
We had a little bit of rain throughout the day, but it kept things nice and cool and didn’t get too intense.
The girls loved the otters, and would squeal with delight when they swam close. Mayana tried to pull her shirt off and asked me if she could swim with the otters! Not sure how hygienic this is, but Mayana was insistent on giving the “ka-roo” a cuddle.
Mayana was totally zonked by the end of the day, and fell asleep safe in the arms of my lovely cousin Cameron.
Underwater World is a great place to spend a rainy day. It’s not particularly expensive, and almost all undercover. Mayana loves fish, so we knew it would be a huge hit with her.
One of the fun things at Underwater World is the ‘touchy-feely tank’. The kids are allowed to handle some of the sea creatures, like Sea Stars (apparently they’re not called starfish anymore!) and Sea Cucumbers. I did have to remind Mayana to be very gentle, but she was very excited to be holding this lovely, bright blue sea star.
We had a lovely few weeks playing the tourist. I would recommend both of these places for a visit, though be forewarned, Australia Zoo is not the most affordable place for a family to visit.
Thursday, 13 January 2011
But then, on Monday afternoon, the world just started to go crazy, and it seemed too silly and pathetic to talk about.
I was checking facebook on my phone, and someone had posted photos of the Coffee Club in Margaret Street of Toowoomba, with water almost up to the ceiling. We were at a friend's and I quickly jumped online to try and figure out what was happening. We turned on the news. And couldn't believe what we were seeing.
I've been watching with horror for the past few weeks, as towns like Rockhampton, Emerald and Bundaberg were hit by massive floodwaters. And it has felt horrible, and I've felt so sad for people. But seeing those places that were so familiar to me - places I've walked, driven, shopped.. a thousand times.. in such devastation. It just looked like a horror movie. My brain couldn't (and still can't) comprehend what I was saying. Toowoomba is on top of a mountain range... places like that just don't flood!
I trawled the internet, looking at photos, reading stories, trying to make my brain comprehend the enormity of what was happening. I saw photos of the Range, turned into a river, as the wall of water flowed down into the Lockyer Valley. I watched footage of cars being swept through water with such force that trees were flattened. People clinging to lamp posts and trees for dear life. Read accounts of people trying to rescue others from the tops of cars, of people being swept away. Saw the devastation as the water flowed down into the valley below Toowoomba... Grantham, Murphy's Creek, Withcott, Laidly... People who had no chance - no warning. No reason to expect and no way to prepare themselves for the tragedy that was so rapidly and unavoidably about to befall them. I lay in bed that night, tossing and turning. Unable to turn my brain off, or to stop seeing the pictures in my mind. Then I remember that at least I'm in a bed... there are people in that valley who are spending the night on their rooftops, praying that the water doesn't get any higher.
I frantically sent messages to everyone I could think of - to make sure my friends were safe. Felt sick as I heard the numbers of dead and missing people rise... Reel at the incomprehensible loss and damage that these places have suffered.
I watched as Brisbane prepared for the water to reach them... for the greatest natural disaster it has faced. Listened to the news of tens of thousands of homes lost, people displaced, more lives lost. My head aches as my brain tries to grasp that what I am seeing on the television is REAL.. really happening, to real people, in my state. Only hours away from where I am, right now. It's so surreal, seeing the gorgeous Queensland day, as the sun shines in blue skies, and yet the water below is relentless, destroying towns, homes... lives.
Today the stories have started to filter through. Of a young boy, insisting that the rescuers take his little brother first, before he and his mother were swept away by the currents. Of a young mother rescued by a helicopter, telling of how her toddler was ripped from her arms by the water, minutes before her rescue. I want to hold my daughter and never let her go. I see footage in Murphy's Creek, where the water was on top of people before they even knew what was happening. People, families, children running to higher ground, screaming in sheer terror. Grown men break down and cry as they tell of watching houses and cars float by with people screaming for help, and how they could do nothing but stand and pray.
Seventy-five percent of our state has been declared a disaster zone. Over 1 million square kilometres of Queensland has been affected. At least 15 people have lost their lives, with over 70 still unaccounted for. Thousands of homes are lost, entire towns are wiped out.
And I'm sitting here. Safe. Dry. Fed. Clothed. I've shopped, and put fuel in my car. I can turn the TV off when it all gets to much. I feel guilty for being able to get away from it.
We're surviving... that is.. our state is surviving. I know the state will pull through it.. because we have to. The community is amazing to me. People are pulling together, getting the job done. And I know it's going to be big, and slow, and unbelievable. We're going to be counting the cost, in every imaginable way, for a long time after this. A lot of things will never be the same again, for a lot of people. But somehow, we'll find a new kind of normal.
Please, if you haven't already, give. And don't stop praying.
Sunday, 9 January 2011
The wedding day was lovely... as you all probably know, Qld has been suffering badly with rain, but we were so blessed that the weather was gorgeous - if a little humid. No rain though, which is exactly what we had prayed for.
Us girls started the day at the hairdresser, where our hair was teased within an inch of its life, then french-rolled, and gorgeous Grace Kelly-inspired make-up was applied. Bethanie went for a very elegant Audrey Hepburn look. We enjoyed the girly experience, and made it back home in plenty of time to get dressed and ready for the wedding.
It was a little frazzling trying to play the role of Mama and Bridesmaid... especially when my lovely happy was off being a groomsman. Mayana made an adorable flowergirl, and was beside herself to be wearing her pretty dress, gorgeous new shoes, hair clippy and sparkly jewellery.
After getting ourselves and the bride dressed, and posing for photos for our lovely cousin and photographer, Louise, it was finally time to go. We couldn't believe that it was already nearly 3pm, and time to hit the road!
Bethanie and my parents left in the Rolls Royce that Beth and Lachlan had hired, while us girls were chauffeured by a friend from church in her spunky red Mercedes. (Except for Maysi who hitched a lift with the photographer!)
The ceremony was a blur. We did our walk down the aisle... Mayana and I walked about half way down the aisle together, then she ran to Lachlan the rest of the way, and greeted him with a big cuddle and a kiss before being handed to her Papa. Once she and I were in position, she suddenly realised that she had forgotten to throw her flowers, as she had so painstakingly practiced the day before. "Oh no Mummy!" she exclaimed, "Flowers, throw!". And she proceeded to frantically throw handfuls of flowers from her position on my hip at the front of the church. She would totally have stolen the show, had the Bride not made her dazzling entrance. Bethanie had chosen a gorgeous tea-length Audry-Hepburn-esque gown, and it was like nothing anyone had expected of her. She wore our mum's lace gloves from her wedding, and a gorgeous jewellery set my Pop had bought for my Nana when she was about 16 and they were courting. She carried white roses, and we wore gorgeous orange roses on a pearl-banded wrist corsage.
Our Papa serenaded her with the same song he sang to Peter and I on our wedding day, and everyone choked back tears as his voiced cracked on occasion. The vows were sweet and heart-felt, and it was a special moment when the couple's first act together was to share in communion.
Before we knew it they'd promised, ringed, signed and kissed and were making their way back down the aisle.
We all shared in a light afternoon tea - this was about the time we realised that in all the kerffufel, we had neglected entirely to feed our daughter any lunch! Oops! She made up for it by pigging out on cake and biccies.
We had the family photos, and chatted and hugged, then we were off to the reception venue, for bridal party photos. It was Louise's first ever wedding shoot, and she did a fabulous job and we all had lots of fun with her. If you pop over to her blog, you can see a sneak peek of some of her amazing photos, and keep an eye out for more, coming soon!
The reception was lovely - the food was delicious, the atmosphere great, and the dancing was so much fun. The speeches were beautiful and very meaningful, and some aunties and a cousin wrote a hilarious song for the couple, which was a highlight of many people's evening.
Before we knew it, the evening had whirled by, and it was time for the bride and groom to hit the road. I think it was probably the best wedding-car sabotage I had ever seen. The car was plastered with toilet paper, sprinkled with glittery confetti, and the Pièce de résistance was a car horn wired to the brake light, which meant that every time poor Lachlan put his foot on the brake, a loud and obnoxious horn would explode! Oh it was so funny, and I giggle every time I imagine Bethanie elbowing him telling him to stop beeping, and him incredulously holding his hands up swearing it wasn't him!
We danced a little longer after they'd left, before finally heading home and sitting for an hour or so digesting the day. We were in bed by about 1am, exhausted, with sore feet, but oh-so happy.
And now, the part you've been waiting for... here are some piccies!!!
I hope you've enjoyed the story of the wedding from my point of view - and our few photos. Like I said, make sure you keep checking back at Louise's blog for more of her gorgeous photography. Her link is always over there ---> in my list of favourite blogs!
As I mentioned earlier, we had our wonderful interstate famil arrrive from the the 27th, through to the new year, and the days before the wedding were filled with fun times making happy memories.
We had a few stressful moments - my Nana and Pop and Aunty were stranded in the wide-bay flooding... with my bridesmaid dress! Thankfully, the waters receded enough that they were able to come through on Sunday, which was a massive relief to us all.
Unfortunately, my mum's best friend (Aunty Joce) and her family were not so lucky. They had travelled to Emerald for Christmas, and were well and truly stuck in the flood-ravaged town. Aunty Joce managed to get one of the last plane tickets to fly back to Brisbane, though it was touch and go for a while whether she would even be able to get to the airport without the help of a boat! Thankfully, she did, and we were very happy to have her at the wedding. her family ended up getting home a few days afterwards, after driving for 28 hours on a trip that usually takes nine!
On Monday, it was all systems go! We had a church to prepare for a wedding, and the extended family rallied to help. If I do say so myself, we did a beautiful job (as you'll see when I get to the wedding post!).
Monday evening saw us taking a relaxing Noosa River sunset cruise, with all of our extended family, and some of the groom's as well. It was so lovely, a great way to unwind and have time together before the big day.
We finished the evening with fish and chips at the Noosa Marina, and a relatively early night... I couldn't think of a nicer way to spend the evening before the wedding!
Sunday, 2 January 2011
I’ve decided to take on a new project for the year (I know right, I really need extra things to do). But this one, I think I’ll appreciate later… look back and feel glad that I did it.
So I’ve been inspired by the 365project to capture a memory from every day of this year, and to share it through the wonder that is the interwebs.
I have decided not to include it in this blog, but instead I’ve set up a profile with the 365project website, which will be solely devoted to this project.
If you so desire, you can follow along HERE
I’ll put some more info over in my sidebar later, so you can find it easily :)
Saturday, 1 January 2011
Wow! Another new year, I can’t even believe it.
To me a new year is a blank canvas, a big fat What If. This year especially. Right now we’re homeless and jobless, and have no idea what this year holds. We’re hoping to find somewhere to live within the next month, and praying for more job prospects. And of course, setting ourselves up to do supply teaching if we need to. But it’s exciting too, because we’re home, where we want to be… where we belong.
How was your new years eve? Ours was spectacular. Our awesome interstate family has started to arrive for the wedding, and it’s just the best. So new years eve was lots of fun, complete with a 12-person spoon, oliebollen, noise, laughter and a year’s worth of catching up.
We have our family here for around three weeks, which is so exciting. The wedding is in three sleeps (!!!!) which is also very exciting.
This year is set to be a good one I think. The beginning of something awesome.
And now for reflections of 2010. I actually had a really good year. I loved the group of people I got to graduate with. In a bittersweet twist, I finally made close friendships in Toowoomba, only months before we left. Uni was hard, but oh-so rewarding. Prac was fantastic, and made me feel so empowered and cemented my love of teaching. Plus the ten weeks we spent with Nana and Pop during that time gave us the best memories, and created the most beautiful bonds between Mayana and her great-grandparents. I got to watch my gorgeous daughter turn into a toddler, and wow – what an amazing journey that has been. I celebrated my fifth year of being a wife, and marriage just keeps getting better. We finished uni, we moved home… yeah 2010 was a good year.
And to review my 2010 goals:
I will finish uni!!!!! Studying a full time course-load with 10 weeks worth of prac.Done!!
- I will procure myself a job for 2011. Hopefully in a private school, not too far from my family. Not yet. Need a little bit more time for this one!
I will become a Mama of a toddler. My baby turns one in 9 days!I didn’t even have to try for that one! I will make good and right decisions for Mayana. I will play with her, read to her, teach her, pray for her and love her.Done. This one is a forever kind of goal though. I will keep in contact with my awesome WA family and continue to cultivate those relationships and bonds that developed during our holiday.Gotta love facebook!
- I will do my devotion/Bible study (Christmas gift from Pete) every day, and NOT fizzle out by March. Fail. But in fairness, I did do a different Bible study for most of the year.
- I will have more prayer times with my husband. Yes, but we still need to work on this.
I will continue to make things and be creative.Definitely fulfilled this one.
Over all, not a bad run really. I’m not making goals this year. I just want to do my best at being a mum, a wife, and a teacher. Plus I’m still working on my 24 by 24, and I don’t want to overdo things here.
2011 is going to start off with a bang for us. We have the family here, we’re three days away from the wedding… and my baby is turning two in just over two weeks! So bring it on I say, it’s going to be a year of good things for this family!