Thursday, 11 August 2016

Milly's cousin Josie

Ever since Dad passed away last year  Mum has obviously found it very quiet and lonely being on her own.  She talked about getting a dog towards the end of last year and always thought she would get a Labrador because that's what we grew up with.

I don't know if it was spending time with our Milly (who is a labradoodle) or realising that a lot of dogs would leave dog hair all over her beautiful house,  but at the end of last year she decided that she wanted to get a labradoodle.  I'm not a dog person at all, so when I decided that getting a dog would be good for the boys, I knew that I would have to get one that didn't shed hair everywhere.

I went with Mum to where we got Milly from at the end of last year to look at some puppies.  The guy actually remembered my name and I said he had a great memory, and he said that he often thought about me because he knew my story and was hoping that having Milly had helped us.  Mum was on a waiting list for around 6 months to get a puppy and she finally got one a couple of weeks ago. She decided on a girl and she is also brown, so she is just like Milly.  Kobe and Mum went to pick her up and Mum brought her back to our house to stay the night as we were going to the footy the next day.  We couldn't wait for her to pull up so we could see her puppy.

Kobe thought it was very exciting that he got to be the first one to help Grandma with her puppy.  We were all oohing and aahing when she got out of the car.  Mum had already named her Josie. 
It was so cute watching Milly and Josie run around the back yard together.  They were yapping at each other and jumping all over each other and having the best time. 
Milly was actually 5 months old when we got her (I can't believe no one wanted her before us!) so Josie was so much smaller than we ever saw Milly as.   How cute is she!?

We loved having cuddles with her all weekend and we were all wishing we had a little puppy as well (until she kept weeing inside!:) 
Because they came from the same place, we were able to check out their background and found out that Milly's grandfather is Josie great grandfather (or the other way around), so they are actually cousins.   They wore each other out by the end of the night!
The next day we watched the Hawks play live and I took this photo of Mum with Josie before the game. I put it up on Instagram and hashtagged it #AFLHawksCarlton and when we got to the game we kept cracking up when we would see the photo up on the big screen at the footy! Mum was so embarrassed and couldn't figure out how she made it to the big screen, but we thought it was funny and very cool seeing them on the big screen:)
Mum said Josie has been so good at her place and is lots of fun to have around. I'm so glad that she has her to keep her company as I know how much Milly is now a part of our family. I think my cousin Toni's kids are loving having a cute little puppy to visit across the road - they now have even more or a reason to visit - not just because there are lots of treats in Mum's pantry :)   How cute is her little face and crazy hair!
I'm sure that Milly will love going out to Mum's house even more now that she has a younger cousin to play with.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Settling In

I was devastated at the end of last term to hear that I needed to be transferred to a new school again - my third school in less than a year. It's been so unsettling for me and the boys and as much as I'm go grateful to have work doing something that I love, I just wish that I could settle down somewhere for a longer period of time.  I love my job teaching English as an Additional Language but I have wondered if it is worth all the stress of moving all the time.  I have joked that maybe it would just be easier to get a job in retail ;)

I find it easy to build relationships with the kids quickly and I think that sometimes this is not good for me as it's so hard when I have to say goodbye to them.  I actually think this is the same for most teachers, but I find it even more so doing what I'm doing because you're so involved with the student's families and lives as you help them settle into life in Australia.

During the last school holidays I was glad for a break, but I was also feeling anxious about starting at my new school so it was hard to really relax.  The first day back at school was a 'student free day' so it was just a day of meetings and planning for the term.  It was nice to see some familiar faces at my new school, but there were also lots of teachers that I didn't know, but it was lovely to have people come and say hi and tell me they knew me through mutual friends.   Everyone was really lovely and welcoming but by the end of the day I just felt very overwhelmed and anxious about starting with the students the next day. I felt okay all day, but by the time I was half way home I had a big cry and felt like a wreck by the time I got in the door. 

I kept thinking about my old school and friends that I worked with there and missed them heaps.  I also kept thinking about my students at my old school and how they would be back at school the following day, and I just wished I was there with them.  I cried all night and went to bed with a big headache but woke up the next day feeling ready to just make the most of the change. 

As soon as I met the kids at my new school I felt much better.   They were all gorgeous and so happy and friendly.  I kept thinking how hard it must be for them to have so many different teachers lately but they seemed happy to have me.

I have now been at my new school for three weeks (I can't believe how fast the term is already going!) and am loving it.  It's SO different to my old school.  They have around the same number of students on the EAL (English as an Additional Language) program but there are SO many kids from different cultures there, and most of them have previously been on the EAL program.  At my old school most of the kids on the program were Afghan but at my new school it is a mix of migrants as well as children from a refugee background.  They come from so many different countries (I think 17 countries in total) and some of my students are from Nepal, Thailand, China, Burma (Myanmar), Sudan, and Saudi Arabia.
I miss my Afghan students and families terribly, but am loving learning about other cultures.  Two of the Nepali girls have been telling me about the period of mourning in Nepal and how when someone dies you have to wear white, not eat certain food and not be touched for a certain period of time.  

My new school is a great school and they are just so used to having children who are learning English and cater for them really well.  This is my favourite part of the school - they display a flag from all the countries represented by the students at their school. Whenever a new student arrives - if they haven't got the flag of their country they get a new one to put up. I love that they celebrate being multicultural. 
Even though it's only my third week there I'm feeling happy and settled already.   Everyone has been really lovely and welcoming including the students, so that makes it much easier to have had to change schools again.  

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Some Would Ask Why I Stand

A little while ago I got a private message on Instagram from a lady named Ashlee. She asked me if I was interested in writing a guest post on her blog which is called 'The Moments We Stand'. 
I hadn't heard of her or her blog before so I checked it out and saw that she had an amazing story.  She became a widow when she was 28 when her husband was murdered.   She only found out after he was murdered that he had been having an affair.  She was left behind with 5 children and had to learn to stand again (hence the name of her blog). 

She has since remarried and has written two books (which I just ordered and am looking forward to reading).  I have so many people tell me that I should write a book and go between thinking it would be a good thing to do, to wondering if I could ever find the emotional and physical energy to do it, to thinking it's a crazy idea and wondering how and if I could ever get it published or if anyone would even be interested in it.   Maybe one day.

In the meantime I'm happy to share our story on here and to do guest posts on other blogs.   My post on Ashlee's blog is up on her blog here.  Thank you for asking me to share my story.  It's always good therapy to share it.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Winter Holidays Are Over

We were all really looking forward to having a couple of weeks off school, and it's hard to believe that we only have one more day of holidays before we all go back.  Winter holidays can be hard because of the weather, but I wanted to make sure we kept busy so that we didn't get too bored and go crazy at home, but also wanted to make sure we also did spend enough time just catching up on things at home as well as getting lots of rest so we felt refreshed when we went back to school. 

On our first day of holidays it was lovely to catch up with Aaron's sister Trudy and her husband Ashley and their son Charlie. They were over from Melbourne for five days, and we met up with them at Airtime which is an indoor trampolining place.
Because the boys have quite a big gap between their ages it's hard to find things which they all like to do, so I love hearing Jay and Kobe playing video games together during the holidays.
Going to Hobart for a few days in the middle of holidays was a great way to break things up and we were lucky that Mum was able to look after Milly for us.  We took her out to her house and Mum offered to cook us tea.  It's always nice to have a break from cooking and even better when Mum asks what we would like.  I requested roast lamb and we had a great time rubbing it into my sister Nicki who is now living in the USA as it's not something they will have a lot over there.
Jay is always good at helping Mum with her technology issues when we see her. He's got Aaron's mind with things like that which is also helpful for me.
While we were in Hobart it was fun to see Mum's Instagram photos of what she was up to Milly.   She was taking her for lots of walks at the beach and around Devonport.  

I don't think Milly really wanted to come with all that attention!


Even though it's winter we did have a few sunny days that were actually quite mild (for Tassie anyway!).  We made the most of it to go out walking.   Everything is pretty much back to normal now after all the flooding
Jay downloaded the Pokemon Go app (like the rest of the world) and had a great time looking for Pokemon when we were out and about.
The boys were very keen to go climbing along these rocks. 
I couldn't stop laughing at Jay as he tried to avoid getting his new shoes dirty as we had to walk through a puddle of mud.  He bought them with his work money while we were in Hobart and was not at all keen on getting them dirty.  In the end he decided to just walk through.

Both Jay and Harri kept busy catching up with friends during the holidays.  Harri went to a couple of sleep overs, played in a 3x3 basketball tournament and went to the movies with a group of his mates from school.  Jay is very independent now and would often go into town to meet up with friends and caught up with his 'squad' as well.  I saw the squad taxi one day and I just had to take a selfie with them doing the usual teenager pose.

Kobe found it hard to see the boys going off to do things with their friends a lot and kept complaining that he didn't get to have any fun.  I kept reminding him that we had done a lot in the holidays already, but he didn't think that made up for it.  He did think that getting 123 Yo while Harri and Jay were with their friends was great though.
Yesterday we met up with my good friends Bec and Pip and their kids to go roller skating.  Bec, Pip and I went to Kindergarten together and still see each other all the time.
 
We used to go skating with the school holiday program that was put on by Family Based Care for families who have children with disabilities, but the boys were all really young then and they never skated, but just went on scooters, while one of us would push Noah around in his wheelchair.

The boys didn't really remember much about going skating with Aaron and Noah and hadn't been on skates or blades before so we were all very anxious about how it was going to go.  Harri gave up very quickly and stuck to just using his scooter (which is surprising since he's the sporty one in the family), Jay was wobbly for a little while but quickly caught on and did pretty well and Kobe surprised me as he just kept wanting to keep going on roller blades even though he kept falling over. I helped him a lot and he held onto the wall for a long time, but by the end of it he was letting go and balancing on his own. He was so excited and kept asking when we could go again.

I used to go skating a lot when I was a kid (must've been an 80s thing) and loved it so it didn't take me long to pick it up again. Harri was so surprised that I could do it and kept saying 'you're actually sick at this Mum!' and was giving me high fives. 
When we weren't out and about I spent a lot of time at home getting things done around the house, and catching up on shows on Netflix and having way too many treats! It was a nice way to just relax though.
Earlier this week we had some wild weather with lots and lots of wind and rain, and then snow on the mountains and highlands.  We don't get snow where we live, but decided to go for a drive to see it which takes about an hour.  We were lucky that our car is 4wd as the road was closed to other cars, and we could keep going until we reached the snow.

Harri wasn't with us which was sad as it would've been fun to all go together. Jay wasn't keen to come, but I told him he had no choice (as I wanted to make sure we all got out of the house each day) and the thought of finding some Pokemon on the way made it not such a bad trip. Kobe on the other hand was so excited to go and ran to the kitchen to get a carrot for a snowman's nose before we left. It was the smallest snowman ever, but he didn't care at all. It made his day to be able to build a snowman and have a snowball fight!

Jay took off his gloves so he could use his phone to see if he could find some Pokemon, but didn't have any luck.  He didn't think it was worth freezing off his hands for it in the end.
This is our 'excited faces because we are in the snow' pose.

Kobe would've stayed for hours if we let him. He was loving having snowball fights and didn't care at all when he would get hit in the face.
Searching for Pokemon!
It was such a beautiful day to go as the sun was shining the whole time. 
I wish we had another week off so we could really be ready to go back to school.   I have a heap of things I want to get done around the house still, but they'll have to get done another time. I'm feeling anxious about starting at a new school again next week and feel really sad that I'm not going back to my old school with the kids, families and staff that I love, but I hope I settle in quickly and grow to love it.
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