…. and a happy new year

It’s New Years Eve, Eden just fell asleep, the kitchen is a mess and I feel like going to bed. Anyone want to party with us? Ha!  We had a full day though and here are some pictures for your enjoyment. Most were taken at The Aquarium of Western Australia – what a great place to spend the day!

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All of these creatures and many more can be found along WA’s beautiful coast line, crazy eh?

It wasn’t as windy as it sounds… I recorded it with my phone, so that’s probably why. The “Doctor” was blowing in though, so there was a refreshing breeze.

Happy New Year everyone, hope 2012 brings you lots of joy and fulfillment.  We’ll be sure to share many more of our experiences, adventures and thoughts throughout the coming year, so keep checking back often (but not too often…).  Maybe we’ll even do an Australian-themed giveaway one of these days (Australia Day might be a good opportunity).

one more, just because she's super cute

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Christmas 2011 Greetings

We didn’t get any Christmas cards sent out this year, let alone write a Christmas letter containing a nice family photo.  The past few months have been just too hectic for such things. We didn’t even get around to buying Christmas presents for each other, but I don’t think we were any worse for wear. We did celebrate (minus the gift giving) and it was a nice family time together.  We also spent a lot of time on skype with our families back home so we got to experience a more “traditional” Christmas through the internet.

Eden being her adorable self

We’re going to write a Year End Review blog post in lieu of a Christmas letter so keep an eye out. We’ll likely mail a copy to our grandparents who don’t use internet that often (or at all in Tim’s case).

Christmas morning we went to church and had a lovely service with our new church family.  The guitar player was sick, so Tim stepped in to play acoustic and it worked out pretty well!  We were then invited out to Christmas lunch to Mark and Anna’s (known to be one of the best cooks in WA – at least by the church folk). There was a huge spread of dishes – the proteins alone consisted of fish, prawns, duck, turkey, chicken, and ham. There was also a number of salads and, of course, desserts. We sat around a huge, beautifully decorated table, along with their sons, a few girlfriends, and Mark’s parents. We really felt like a part of the family and it was so lovely to share that time with them. Eden had a nice long nap there and then enjoyed playing with their dog, Billy, for a good part of the afternoon.

Beautiful beach

Boxing day morning we spent at the beach, and much to our delight Eden actually got to the point where she would walk in the sand; a big improvement from the last time, when she’d just whine and curl up in a ball when we tried to set her down. She’s actually been asking to go to the beach almost every day since then – today she even brought out her bathing suit and swim diaper while saying “beach” – so it mustn’t have been too bad for her. She also enjoyed sitting in the shallow water and watching the dogs walk by.  The water was a lovely temperature, but by 11:30am it was getting pretty hot, so we decided to pack up and head home. We spent the rest of the day at home and later that afternoon was when Eden got sick.

Mommy and her girl

We’re just recovering now from a nasty stomach flu that seems to be going through our church. Eden was hit first but only vomited a few times and seemed to be all better the next day. The following night, I (Kathryn) was hit full force from 3am onwards and didn’t catch a break until probably 7pm the following evening. It was a rough day.  Tim was supposed to be back to work, but there was no way I could take care of Eden, so he brought his laptop home and worked from home the best he could while taking care of her. It was a full out day for him. I was able to keep some liquids down by the time I went to bed and that’s when it hit Tim, all night long. Today was spent recovering for both of us and trying to keep little bits of food down while tag teaming with Eden. The poor little thing, she definitely had cabin fever tonight, since we haven’t gone anywhere for 2 days. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll be feeling much better (and all of my stomach and back muscles wont be sore anymore) and we’ll be able to do something interesting together.

Swimming with Daddy

It’s been pretty hot the past few days, around 39 degrees Celsius and I have basically lived in front of the air conditioner. Being sick and pregnant really affected my heat tolerance, and I felt like I was suffocating in the other rooms in our house. I tried to spend some time outside with Eden late this afternoon, but I felt like I couldn’t even breathe. And this is just the beginning of summer…. I’m hoping I’ll get used to the heat, if that’s possible.

Anyway, that’s it for now.  I think I’m heading to bed soon, since I haven’t had very consistent sleep the past few nights. I hope that all of you back home are well and had a lovely Christmas vacation with loved ones. We’re looking forward to next year when *hopefully* my parents and littlest sisters will be here to celebrate with us!

Merry Christmas from all of us!

Home for Christmas

It’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit when you’re 18,000 kilometres from home.  Add to that distance a seemingly endless string of sunny days with highs of 30-35 degrees Celsius, a lack of familiar Christmas-time treats (no pumpkin or apple pies, no hot apple cider or mulled wine… even hunting down candy canes took some work!), and no Christmas tree – unless you want to go artificial or get a scraggly, overpriced one (no thanks) – and it can be a real recipe for homesickness.

I have to be honest: there are moments when I wonder if we’ve done the right thing in moving here.  I see pictures of my former Radian6 colleagues and recall what a fun atmosphere it was there.  I was five minutes from the office (15 by bike), worked a good schedule (let’s not talk about the first 8 or 9 months), often came home for lunch, enjoyed my role and relationships with clients, and had great benefits!  We were within a few hours drive of basically all our immediate family members, lived right in the same city as Kathryn’s sister and her family, and were part of a great church with rockin’ worship teams.  So sometimes I wonder… why did we leave?

Love of adventure is one of the topics Kathryn and I bonded over in the early days of our relationship.  She’d been around the world and had a hunger to see more of it.  I’d been to a couple of places as well, and once the seed of travel gets planted in you it tends to grow, sometimes seeping right into the folds of your frontal lobe, affecting your ability to reason and rationalize.  Another factor would be the compelling circumstances that led up to the job offer, but that’s a story for another day.

In a roundabout way – do I ever approach a topic directly? – what I’m getting at is this: Australia is our home now, so we need to come to appreciate and enjoy it for what it is, lest we wallow in misery every holiday for the rest of our days.  And really, it’s not a bad place to call home at all.  Most days I’d even go so far as to say I’m happy to be here for Christmas, despite the differences in climate, menu, and company.

Today we were invited to a friend’s place for a Christmas Eve pool party.  It was a fantastic day, basically like the peak of July/August back home, and the water temperature in the pool was 32 degrees C.  We stayed in the water for at least an hour, and it was at just that temperature where it felt like me and everyone around me was peeing the whole time.  But that didn’t stop me from splashing and flailing around the pool with delight.  Even Eden enjoyed the water, which was a first for her.  Every time she’s tried swimming in the past the water has been substantially colder, so she’s just stiffened up and whimpered until we’ve ceased the undeserved torture.

A few other families were invited to this event as well, all of whom were from faraway countries (the UK, South Africa, Holland), and I think we all appreciated the family feel of the day.  I know it meant a lot to me at least.  I was truly happy, plain and simple.  I was relaxed, grateful, and optimistic about the future.

A few days ago I started to sing “I’ll be home for Christmas” on my way to work, and then I stopped myself because I realized it wasn’t true, and it might just be too sad to sing it.  But now I take that back: I am home for Christmas, just in a new home, with new friends and “family”, and it’s good.  The slideshow below contains a bunch of pictures from the last few weeks.  Some are from up north, but most are from here in the city.  I’ve included a bunch of flower shots, all from within our own yard.  It’s crazy – there are so many beautiful flowering plants within the confines of our fence!

So Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family, wherever you happen to be in the world.  Thank you for inviting us into your lives (or enduring our intrusion into your lives) whenever and wherever you did so, and may the new year bring you many opportunities for adventure, learning, service to others, and wonder at this world we’re so privileged to be a part of.  My wish for you is that you’ll be content in your home, or have the courage to make the changes necessary to bring contentedness and peace to your life.

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A Preview

Our recent excitement about being connected was quickly dashed after our internet went down after just a few days of operation.  Turns out there was a problem with the line, but all should be resolved going forward.

I (Tim) have got lots to update you on now that we’re back online, including my latest thoughts on hell (working title: “My Crisis of Trust”), generalisations (working title: “Abolishing the Notion of the Collective”) and life in WA, including photos from my brief trip up north (Canadians, you’ll have to change your mindset to Up North = Oppressively HOT when reading about our adventures).

Can’t wait to catch up with you all in the coming days.  Hope you’re having a wonderful approach to Christmas!

We’re Connected!

Hello again! I know it’s been a while, too long really, but we FINALLY got the internet hooked up at home and now we can bombard you with blog posts containing pictures of warm weather, beaches, and Eden. We’ve been settling in here, as much as we can, and basically carrying on life as normally as we can. Eden and I (Kathryn) spend our days playing outside, visiting new friends, walks to the park, watching tv (occasionally…) among other things 🙂 Eden loves to play in water, we bought a little plastic pool last week and have already been making good use of it.

Sometimes adults need to cool off too.

She also loves playing with “bubbles” aka dish water, and can be entertained for quite a long period of time washing her dishes and playing with bath toys in the sink. I have to stick pretty close because she doesn’t really have a clue about the size of the chair – I’ve caught her a few times as she walked off the edge.

"Bubbles"

Some days are harder than others but overall we’re doing pretty well. She, of course, loves being around other kids.  We haven’t really met anyone her age yet but hope to be part of a mother’s group/play group in our community soon, so that should help. Occasionally she’ll bring me my phone or point to the laptop and ask for Charlotte and Lila. Those are tough times, especially since we didn’t have internet for so long. I usually showed her facebook pictures of them and that seemed to help, but it makes me sad for her. She truly loves her cousins and definitely misses them in her own way.  Sometimes, to help pass the time, she breaks out in some dance moves; her favourites include spinning slowly and lying on her belly (house rule: no one-armed hand stands).

We found out this week that our shipped goods (mostly personal items but also all of our kitchen stuff – including all of my recipe books, pretty much all of Eden’s toys, and all of our Christmas stuff) wont be arriving until February (hopefully). It was supposed to be here next week, originally…. so I was a bit bummed out about that, because I feel so unsettled without all of those personal touches around the home. We currently have rental furniture (that Tim’s company provided, thankfully), but it’s not the same. I think I might have to get some photos printed and hung up so that we have some things to look at, and pick up some simple Christmas decorations to make the house more festive. There’s been a delay with Tim getting paid as well; his first pay was delayed (we got it just this week), so that was a bit of a hurdle. I think things should be all straightened out now, so we plan to go bed shopping asap (since our mattress is terribly sinky, to the point that often wake up with sore backs). It could be much worse though, so I’m not really complaining, just filling you in on what’s been happening!

Eden is apparently very warm blooded (like Tim) and gets sweaty very quickly, especially if she falls asleep in the pram (stroller) or car seat. We have to give her a bath almost every day just to cool her down before bedtime. It’s a good thing she likes having baths! She also loves her new stroller, and I do too. The old umbrella stroller was getting very uncomfortable for me to push around because the handle is so low that I couldn’t stand up straight. It’s a pretty flashy stroller, but has a double attachment so it will be great once #2 arrives.  I’ll be able to take them both out for walks…although I don’t know how much I’ll be venturing out in the 40 degree weather….

Back saving stroller

I know you’re probably wondering about the whole doctor situation here. I just saw a doctor yesterday (actually, 2 doctors). The first one was horribly mean and made me feel like a terrible, neglectful mother because I hadn’t seen a doctor since arriving here. After that appointment I had my first real thoughts of “what have we done, moving here? I miss my fantastic doctor in Fredericton… will I ever find one that’s nice and caring?”  The second appointment was fantastic though.  The doctor was gentle, nice and very helpful. She referred me to a OB and I got an appointment with him for next week (thankfully). We have private medical coverage so it seems likely that I’ll be giving birth in the private hospital just down the street from us. We’re planning on going for a tour of the maternity ward tomorrow. Midwives attend all the births here, which is pretty cool, and you can have home births or go to a birthing centre. I was really interested in the birthing centre idea, but because I’m so far along in my pregnancy I don’t think I have very many options.  Apparently I’m lucky to get an OB with a good reputation (not one that is well known for c-sections). Hopefully I’ll find out  details when I meet with my OB and such.

The baby seems to be doing well, as far as I can tell.  He/she is very active and has given me much more heartburn than I had with Eden. I haven’t gained as much weight this time around which has made me feel a lot better, and I definitely have more energy. I have overdone it a couple of times though with long walks, so I have to be careful, especially in the heat.

Anyway, this is getting super long. I’ll let Tim fill you in next post on what he’s been up to, at work and in his crazy mind. Hope you enjoyed the update 🙂