Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hot Enough

Yesterday afternoon our family decided it was suitably uncomfortable and down right hot enough to put up the Christmas tree.

Yes, we may still enjoy singing about sleigh rides and jingling bells and roasting chestnuts..... but the reality of Christmas in sunny Queensland is rather different. :) Swimming at the pool, hopping over the scorching sand at the beach to avoid getting burnt feet, air conditioning, wearing very little and basically just trying anything to keep cool!

Stuart took a break from his hectic weekend of report card writing and video editing (he makes a movie every year with his Prep class - it's premiere is this afternoon so last minute detailing was taking place) and we decked the halls!!

Well, the living room at least.

The children's faces were filled with delight as always.

Even Will was helpful in putting up the tree. :) The older two decided he should have the honour of putting the star on top this year, since he'd never done so before.

We all feasted on the cookies the kids and I baked yesterday morning.

Now if we can just convince Will to leave the tree alone, we can all relax and enjoy the beginnings of the festive season!!

We even got real rain last night after about 6 months of drought - it was absolutely divine. We all stood on the verandah and watched the sky flash and soaked in the moist air. Thank you Lord, please send some more!!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Today Stuart took his Prep kids to Underwater World for their end of year excursion.

Today the kids and I enjoyed a visit from my old neighbour in town, Jane and her two boys. SO nice to catch up with them, talk about Wicked, play with lego, build castles with boxes, catch baby frogs at the dam....... and drink tea. And talk. :)

And today I have thought about little else than this. Cameron Mackintosh is currently producing and casting the Australian production of Mary Poppins, and as yet still hasn't found anyone to play the role of Mary. So. After running auditions in Sydney and Melbourne, they may continue auditions soon in Perth and in Brisbane. Brisbane is just 3 hours south of here, and if they hold them - I've decided to go. Because I just can't stop thinking about the possibility!!! Can you imagine?! Even just the experience of the audition would be amazing for me.

In the meantime, the producers have asked Australian sopranos out there who are between 25 and 30, and are interested in the role, to post audition videos on Youtube. Yeah, I'm going to do that too. Tomorrow morning. Eeeeek!! Scary but exhilarating, all at once!

And here is a little clip for you of the vocal group I am in - we recorded ourselves at our Wednesday night rehearsal this week and Kurt (male soloist in this video) has put it together today. This song is Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. We sang it recently at the LAD Dance Concert.

Life has been busy this week, but full of music which for me always equals happiness. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our Wonderful Weekend Away!

Praise God William is having a long nap today; he has a cold and has been a sad little boy most of the morning! :( The other two children are resting and reading, and it is SO nice to have the internet back again. Something about feeling more connected to others in this sometimes lonely job of mothering little ones. :)

So. Our weekend away! It had been planned for months, and we had no idea it would fall in the middle of one of the busiest times we have ever experienced. :) But in many ways, it was a blessing to be able to take two full days away after such an exhausting few weeks. We had put out the call to some theatre and work friends many months ago - would anyone like to come to Sydney to see the musical Wicked with us? There ended up being 7 of us - all grown ups, none of the others with children yet, so it was quite different company for me and healthy in many ways. I was reminded that this season of my life is indeed that - seasonal. There is more out there, and there will be more and more opportunities for these trips and experiences as my children grow older. Sometimes with them, and sometimes not.

We were up very early on Saturday morning (4:30am!) in order to catch a 9am flight from Brisbane to Sydney. Desiree our friend and dance teacher traveled with us and we enjoyed lots and lots of laughter! It was a lot of fun. The afternoon we spent poking around Darling Harbour; we visited the Maritime Museum there, and went on the Endeavour (beautiful replica of Captain Cook's ship) which is docked there.

Some of these old books were so beautiful! So much history. Sigh.

We checked into our hotel and spent an hour or so relaxing before getting all dolled up, meeting up with our other four friends, and finding a restaurant for dinner.

The whole city was abuzz - wow, we are such country bumpkins these days!!! Thousands of people everywhere, the buildings, the traffic........ we were all in a bit of culture shock, but it was a nice change from the usual. :) The few blocks surrounding the Capitol Theatre were all themed for Wicked, and it was so exciting! We found this car near the theatre and took a few photos here. The Thai Restaurant we ate at had a "Wicked Stir-fry" on their menu - which I ordered - green broccoli, snow peas and green beans!

Stu and two of his work colleagues

After dinner we phoned the children to say goodnight, and they had all had a wonderful day. So nice to hear their little voices, so cheery. It was a balm for my soul because I had been missing them all day. Thank you Mum and Ray for giving them such a great weekend as well - you are the best!!

That last half-hour before seeing a show is always exciting - thinking of the performers backstage doing their final preparations, the crowd pouring in, buying our program, etc. Ahh. We don't get to see many professional shows these days, and it was just so wonderful to be there!

There were cocktails for sale in the foyer in these light-up cups, all green and blue - a great souvenir to bring home with us. :) There was something special about being in the semi-darkness, making our way to our seats, surrounded by theatre lovers all with their glowing cups..... And the Capitol Theatre is so special, so old and so ornate! It was the first time I had been there.

Here we all are in the foyer before heading in to see the show.

The musical itself was absolutely wonderful. The idea is so clever, and the music outstanding. Amanda Harrison's voice is unreal!!!! I loved every single minute of it. We milked the time we had, staying up much of the night just soaking in the culture of the city and enjoying being together.

Sunday morning we were all very very tired, but managed to make our way to Circular Quay to see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House (where my Uncle sang in the Australian Opera Company for many years, if that's of interest to anybody! :)) and wound up sitting in the Botanical Gardens by the harbour, just talking in the shade of the trees and relaxing - and trying to stay awake. ;) Our plane went out at 1pm.

This area of Sydney is my favourite part to visit.

But I tell you what - it was good to get home to the slow paced lifestyle of Maryborough! A bit of a hard transition for me on Monday, with William sick, and Stu going off to work, and me facing a week of mothering mostly alone (as I have said before, the last few weeks of term are very busy for Stu and he's barely here......) - but I had a shower and prayed a lot, and felt better. :) And it is lovely to be back with my children. I missed them a lot!

I would highly recommend a weekend away if you can do it. (And seeing Wicked if you are a fan of musical theatre!! It is so funny, and really quite spectacular.) I was worried about leaving my little ones but needn't have been. They were safe and happy and had a blast with their Nanna and Grandpa! And it was wonderful couple time for us.

So there you go. :) Our Wonderful Weekend Away.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm BACK!!!!!

I'm so happy I could twirl around the room right now!! Our internet is back up and running, and here I am, posting!! Sigh. It has been a full 15 days since we last had internet access - and SO much has happened, I can't possibly ever catch up!!

So I've decided to do a brief catch-up tonight on everyone's blogs, and do a short (ish) post here for you on our move 2 weeks ago..... and from now on just try to take it a day at a time. Life is so busy, I wish I could spend hours catching up on everything, but I just can't.

Firstly, thank you all for you love and prayers. I know many of you were praying that our move would go smoothly, and I'm so grateful! It did. It was a long, exhausting and at times stressful few days, but we did it!!! With the grace of our loving Father, and the help of many friends and family, we got there. Or should I say, we got here.

My Mum and Ray were wonderful, bringing loads to the house of things which couldn't go with the removalists, and helping me big-time with all the cleaning. Cathy as always gifted us with some wonderful baking and meals. :) Jane was our super fill-in Mummy for almost the whole day, looking after my children so wonderfully I didn't have to worry about them one moment. Many other friends brought us treats, and visited, and phoned, and prayed. Thank you all so very much, it made the whole experience exciting and special - and possible!! xo

Of course, the next few days were filled with the somewhat daunting task of unpacking - eek!! Not as much fun as packing, I quickly discovered. :)

Just over 2 weeks later, and nearly everything is unpacked. I'm getting there! It is definitely starting to feel like home, though I must admit that I'm still kind-of waiting for us to go "home" - this place is so special, it feels like we're on a holiday! I don't know when it will sink in that this is really, truly our home. I'm so thankful. There were many, many hurdles to cross with the settlement - and God brought us through every one of them. It was a test of faith for me that week - everything seemed to be going wrong with all the solicitor stuff, and I was genuinely worried that settlement wouldn't go through. There was a lot of praising going on at about 1:30pm on the 9th when I got the call to say that it had gone through!!!! I'm so thankful.

We've been doing a fair bit of this.

Snatching quiet moments to sit and soak in the surroundings. This was the morning after we moved in. William was eating some breakfast outside at about 5am. :) I have to say it's more pleasant getting up with him here at that time than it was at our old house!! The native birds and the wood ducks visit in the mornings and there's lots to see. And it's peaceful and quiet and the air is fresh. Life is good.

The moments have been snatched, though. For Stuart 4th term is always nightmarishly busy, and throw in our big end-of-year dance concert on the 14th, and things were extremely busy that week we moved. The concert went well though!! I'll try to put up some footage once I get hold of some. Last week was a little quieter - especially for the children, who are settling in here very very happily.

They get more moments like this than I do, presently. :)

But that's okay. I know things will settle down a lot in less than 2 weeks, when the work year ends for Stuart.

I am loving living out here. I do miss being nearer to friends in town, but the quietness of this place is winning me over. And the very short drive to Stu's work - only 4 minutes! All the birds (Saraya is having the time of her life with our field guide- we've seen so many new birds!), and the sound of the frogs and crickets at night, the wide open spaces for the children to explore, all the extra natural exercise I'm getting just walking all over the block - to the chooks, the clothes line, the mail box, the bore, connecting up hoses, etc. etc., it's fantastic!!

And the children have just had a very special weekend just gone, being doted on by their grandparents while Stuart and I had a very special weekend ourselves. Our first weekend away since Saraya was born. It was bliss.

But that, my friends, I will leave for tomorrow's post.

Ah, it's good to be back. Thank you again for your love and support, and your friendship. I've genuinely missed fellowshipping with all of you - and I look forward to catching up soon! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm Still Alive!!!!!

Hello my beautiful bloggy friends!!!!! We still have no internet but I am using a friend's computer just to let you know that I'm alive and well; the move went wonderfully and we are absolutely loving our new home and I will put photos up as soon as possible. I am missing the internet so much, and missing keeping in touch with everyone's news! It should be up and running in a few days time, and I will no doubt write the longest post in history when it is. :)

Saminda xo

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One More Sleep!!!!

It is early on Sunday morning and as I sit here awake, emotional, apprehensive, overwhelmed and excited, the rest of my family sleeps. :) I think I'm the only one having these feelings. :) The children are doing well - obviously William is oblivious to everything, but Saraya and Elijah have said they're not feeling nervous about the move, just excited. Which is great. And Stu? Well he's just plain old exhausted. It's 4th Term after all, so even without packing late at night, sorting out a rather disastrous shed, and pulling down the chook run (why oh why didn't the new owners want it?!! It's built like fort knox and isn't exactly coming down easily! :( Any guys want to come give Stu a hand today, I know he'd appreciate it!) - he's already more than swamped with work, night and day. SO. I think he's operating on auto-pilot, just trying to hang on and survive until end of term on 5th December!

Here is our little House of Dreams back when we bought it in 2006.

And this is what our family looked like back then!

Wow. So much has happened in this home. Everyday life. Conversation. Love. Hurt. Cups of tea. Meals with friends and family. Play dates. The birth of our littlest son. Special times, and challenging times, with friends who are no longer in our life. It is hard to say goodbye to this home in many ways. We are leaving a lot of memories behind.

But I understand that life is sometimes like that. It changes and evolves and we grow through the things that we go through. God's grace and love astounds me. His wisdom, and His teaching, His forgiveness, and His direction. And this verse is called to mind:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11.

I trust that. And I am in awe of it. I can't help but believe that God has had this new home waiting for us, waiting for the right time, the right moment, to take us there. I am excited to be starting a new chapter of family life in that home. I am not the same person I was when we bought our House of Dreams. My sister in law said perhaps our new one should be called "The House of Wonderful Realities!" I love what she's getting at there. And I'm hoping she's right. Even Anne and Gilbert moved on from their House of Dreams, after all. :) I understand things I never knew before. My vision is different. Our family identity is more solidified. And I can't wait to see how God can use me in this new home to bless my husband and my children and everyone who walks through our door!

And I love that when we came here, we brought two little blessings with us.

But we are taking three little blessings into our new home. Wow, God is so good!

Thank you Lord for this exciting day. Thank you for allowing our home here to sell so quickly, and for finding us the perfect new one just in time! I pray today for peace, and clarity and the endurance to get everything done. I pray that the children will be settled. I pray that Stuart will be able to get those final two metal posts out of the ground, and still have time to sort out the shed. Please be close to us today Father. I love you more than I can express, and I thank you for blessing me so abundantly!

And thank you my friends and family for all your prayers and thoughts and help leading up to this week. I couldn't do without all your encouragement! Please remember us in your prayers tomorrow as it's going to be a pretty mammoth day - Stuart is off to work and I'm here to direct removalists, look after the children (though I may have a little help with that), clean the house (praying all the while that settlement goes through successfully!!), pick up the keys, fly over to the new house, direct removalists again........... and remember to keep breathing! I am seriously looking forward to tomorrow night!! I am so thankful Mum and Ray arrive tonight to be here with me tomorrow. I absolutely need their support!

We may be without internet for a few days so I'll post as soon as I can, hopefully later in the week. Until then, blessings everyone! xo

Friday, November 6, 2009

Just because I realised.....


.......... that this doesn't happen in every household nearly every night before bed like it does in ours....... I thought I'd share this. A little snapshot of a pretty commonplace little time of fun in our family. :) No, I'm not joining in because I'm videoing - but I often do!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


At about 11:30 this morning, Saraya excitedly called me in to the dining room to say "Mama, I only have 20 pieces left!!" Elijah rushed in too, and we all got extremely excited as the final pieces were put in place.

This is one very happy girl right now. She's enjoying that feeling of success following determination.

We're so proud of your efforts Saraya! Well done!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More of the same.

What has been happening in our household today?

More of the same. You know, the usual stuff that's not really worth mentioning.

Except this.
Saraya and I have discovered how to keep her usually extremely knotty hair knot-free! Hooray!! We simply style it straight away after washing it (not always this extravagantly, we're just making up for lost time as Saraya has always detested having her hair done due to knots - so many new styles to try!) and keep it tied up overnight when most of the knotting used to occur. Such relief to discover this. :) Mornings used to be 'interesting'. ;)

And this.
As part of their creative freeplay yesterday morning, Saraya ended up as Elijah's teacher - and they sat and worked from one of her workbooks for over an hour. So much great learning achieved here, it was unbelievable! Made me a very happy, very busy Mama. :) Multi-age learning is so valuable and when it's child led, it's even better!

Oh, and more of this : the puzzle yesterday..........

And today:

Wow this girl is committed. I never knew that about her. But she is absolutely determined (her own words ;)) to have this puzzle completed by the time her Nanna and Grandpa arrive on Sunday. And at this rate, she will!

I was so relieved she decided her brain was hurting and she needed to go to bed, as she had said she'd like to stay up really late working on it. Apparently first thing on the agenda tomorrow is more work on the puzzle. I think I know what we'll be getting Saraya for Christmas. :) Despite all manner of moving-related exhaustion and busyness and stress, and William's cold, it's been a good week!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Discovery

With the car gone with Stuart to work this morning, the children and I had a full day at home. I packed, cleaned, cooked, washed, and read to and played with the little ones. Who, may I say, have been more content to play imaginative and independent games since I have packed all their belongings in boxes than ever before! They've always been creative players - but still, sometimes 'looking' for things to do. Not so at the moment, even with very few resources to call on. Very very interesting. I am enjoying seeing what they are coming up with!

Like this game of "mountain world" which consisted of draping blankets (from the blanket box which will be moved as is, full of blankets) over small boxes and our tiny stools, climbing on them, and making mountain homes for the 10 large plastic bugs we have borrowed from the Toy Library.

Will has had a lovely few days following the antics of his big brother and sister, though is still feeling pretty miserable with his cold. Sleep has been a bit elusive...... I'm praying he'll get better quickly.

Elijah discovered a small collection of dominoes which Stu dug up out of our window seat yesterday afternoon. He spent an hour or so playing with those this morning.

Colouring-in sheets printed off the internet are proving a popular activity at the moment too. Our pencils / pens are all still accessible, of course! They're packed in a basket along with blank paper, and all our homeschooling resources.

But our great Discovery of the day was this.

Saraya found a Lord of the Rings 500 piece jigsaw puzzle in one of our bags of stuff for charity, and claimed she wanted to keep it and put it together. Admittedly I said she was too little, and it would be too difficult, and I'm so hopeless at puzzles I wouldn't be able to help her (true) - but to her credit, she was adamant she wanted to try. So. She did.

And she wins! She has the jigsaw puzzle eye for detail - and was probably half-way there by the end of the day. A few sections were already done in the box from when Stu started the puzzle years back; she worked out how they all went together and set about adding to them at lightening pace.
So, a new discovery about one of my children - my daughter is gifted at puzzles! And she most certainly didn't inherit that from me!!

Isn't life grand?
Every day brings something new to love and be thankful for.


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