Seven Years with One Hotel

Let me tell you about a magical place… not the most magical place… that’s Disneyworld… but a close second for the George family, the Langham Hotel. It’s a place that we return to over and over and over again… almost yearly even adding some international visits (Auckland and London)… and it never gets old. It is as beautiful as it is elegant, and we have love it as much now as we did on our very first visit.

Our first date at the Langham was in preparation for our wedding, venue meetings, food tastings and trips to the foyer to dream about what was coming. Our most recent was visit was this week, with Dave gifting Isaac and I (and himself) a mid week city scape during the school holidays, and it was perfect.

Years at the langham

This is the first time I have stayed in the city in 2 years where I haven’t been terribly morning sick and super super paranoid about eating the wrong things. Now don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed our last couple cityscapes too… but this one was just better… it was relaxing and lovely. We ate delicious food… all of which I could eat without a care in the world, showed Isaac around Southbank, and generally lived the pretend highlife for 24 hours… totally wonderful.

Over the weekend I found myself reminiscing and reflecting on the last 7 years since Dave and I celebrated our marriage with our amazing Langham reception. Last week Dave and I clocked over 14 years together… which I think is pretty incredible. I have been with Dave for almost half my life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I thought about the significance of bring Isaac with us to our favourite Melbourne get away and the journey of the last 2 years in particular, which feel like forever all on their own. The last time we were at the Langham we were telling my mum that Isaac was on his way… and now only 14 months later we have a healthy and happy almost 1 year old.

It’s been a crazy, 7 years… and last night as we sat in a room very similar to the very first room we ever stayed in at the Langham, I found myself in tears, feeling very overwhelmed by how blessed I am even with the heartache and anxiety of our most recent days. I was overwhelmed with love for Dave and Isaac, my little family, oh man… I am so blessed to call them mine. I was overwhelmed by all we have, and even though some of it may be humble, it is abundantly more than I feel I deserve. And there was hope, that the pain of the last two years is fading and that our days are good… there is space for relaxing, there is space for great food and company and that there are better things to come… that we have started a new chapter… a chapter of fun, of lighter life, and mostly of family, our family that feels just a little bit more complete.

Our Curious Life: Week 25

 

 

 

Every now and then, I think I am finally getting the hang of this parenting thing… I get through a few days in a row nailing the feeds, doing some exercise and even attempting some domestic life tasks during the middle of the day nap, that I am slowly learning how to make happen… and then comes a day that completely destroys the illusion of control… there are tears from Isaac and from me… there is no routine, no order and the house looks like a small hurricane has been through it as all the of the attempts for peace… toys, food, milk are scattered through every room of the house.  That was week 25.

It has been my third week in a row without an appointment… and it is very very very strange.  I suddenly have so much more time at home… I don’t seem to be rushing from one place to another… and although there have been times where I have felt isolated and a little lonely, for the most part it has felt empowering.  I feel like I can actually get on top of some of the things I need to do.  I have time to make food for Isaac and for Dave and I, I have time to go for long walks with Isaac, I have time to sit down and blog, because I had time to do the chores, so I don’t need to feel guilty about it.  I have also realised that for me, the secret to not getting lonely when I have a day or a few days at home, is to make sure I’ve planned for it… that I know it is coming.  That I have chosen to be at home… because if I am not ready for it, I hate it and that is when things fall apart… but when I plan for it… it’s the best.

In a strange way, now that I have been at home a bit more, I am beginning to feel like I am actually on maternity leave.  I am actually able to start working out how to mum and live…  I am finally finding my feet.  Before this point, I had been waiting for something… which I guess, now that it is here, is just time… time for me to choose what to do with.  Time to enjoy Isaac and not just survive between appointments.  Time to choose who we see and actually be able to offer to do things and go places without having to work out where to fit it in… This is what I had imagined it would be like when I was still pregnant with Isaac, and even though it will be a much shorter period than I would have liked, I am glad we made it to this point before I have to go back to work.

So what have we been doing with our gift of time? Well, Dave and I cleaned out the study, so that I have my desk back, which I means I can sit here and type in a fun purpose built space just for me, rather than on the couch where I get immediately distracted.  I finally used my slow cooker.  We were given the slow cooker as a wedding present over 7 years ago… Dave has used it… but this is the first time I have… and I love it… I am a slow cooker convert.  I have even started googling the best way to tackle some condensation mold we have on some window sills.  I have also been contributing a little more with all the other household chores… and even though it’s never my first instinct.  I like the feeling of accomplishing the tasks and the clean house it leaves behind… especially now that I am spending a lot more time here.

This week we also used the last of the frozen breastmilk… I stopped expressing back in April, but thanks to a period of greater supply than demand while Isaac was in hospital, we were able to stockpile.  At one stage we had three freezers full of the liquid gold as it is often called.  But, now it has all been used.  The last bits were spread out over a number of months as Isaac only has the breastmilk when we are at home… and previously we hadn’t been home all that much… but now it’s over to solids and formula.  I am a bit sad that it is all gone.  It felt like it would last forever… but I am thankful that I was able to be able to make it and that he tolerated it… the female body is pretty gross… I mean great… it’s totally great!

We also farewelled Matt and Fee at their final service at Hobson’s Bay corps before they move.  Isaac and I caught up with my high school buddies and their kiddies, and I was reminded how blessed I am to be able to call this group of crazy strong women my friends.  We had dinner at Dave’s mum’s and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Isaac with his Grandma and Grandpa, Auntie Ness and Uncle Hugh… family is so so so good.  We practiced our sitting and rolling and I can finally say Isaac can both sit (no. 22 on his list) and roll*… (*at least in one direction).  And on Saturday morning Dave, Isaac and I tackled ArtVo at the Docklands… which is made by some supper supper clever people.  It is something that I have wanted to do for a while, thanks to all the fun photos I have seen on other peoples social media… so we finally made it out there and it didn’t disappoint… it was great and we have so many fun photos from it.  Plus it is now off the list.

So there you go… that’s week 25.

 

Our Curious Life: Week 24

 

 

Hello week 24, and thank you! You have been just what I needed. After getting back from Brisbane on Monday, I think it is safe to say that we were all stuffed! So this week has thankfully been very low key… I have been trying not to go out too much so that Isaac can sleep in his own bed during the day and we can focus on getting our solid meals in… three of them plus his milk feeds.

It’s been really nice to be a bit of a homebody… something I didn’t really expect. When I found myself in a similar situation last week, I found it all a little disconcerting. Having nothing planned felt uncomfortable, but this week it has been refreshing and restoring. I feel a little more on top of my motherhood list… the food situation seems to be improving and I am getting the hang of a couple of regular naps and I’m trying to make the most of Isaac’s awake time rather than just spending it wondering if he should be having a nap. One of the benefits of the big weekend has been a tired little boy, so the naps have been a little longer this week which has meant I have had some time to try and catch up on some blogging, which has also been wonderful.

But we haven’t spent the whole week at home, we also did a couple of fun things. On Thursday and Friday Isaac and I checked out the updated Glen shopping centre… firstly with mother’s group and then with my mum. After mother’s group on Thursday night Isaac and I went to the brand new woollies to grab some food for dinner, I also decided that despite having a loaded up pram with Isaac and the groceries I had already gathered, I could indeed manage a slab of diet coke as well, seeing as though they were on sale. When I made it to self serve to pay I started with the coke so that I could put it down ready to carry to the car once I had organised everything else. As I swung the slab up to the scanner, the side feel out and cans went everywhere. Some busted open creating small puddles of diet coke and showering Isaac and I in a fine diet coke mist… he thought it was hilarious… I was mortified and quickly asked someone to come and help… we went back and got a more secure box and thankfully made it home without another incident… but it wasn’t quite the quick shopping experience I had expected. But as a fun side effect, now every time Dave or I make the noise of a fizzing can Isaac giggles.

We also had dinner with two lots of very good friends, one as a goodbye, and the other as a welcome home. On Friday, we had dinner with our friends Rachel and Dustin… their’s was the welcome home as they have just returned from a holiday. We had such a nice night, delicious food, great company and an open fire… perfect for a freezing cold Melbourne Friday night.  Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, we had dinner with our friends Matt and Fee before they head over to Canada for a couple of years for work. Matt and Fee have been friends of ours for a very long time. In fact, I think Fee might have been one of the first people I confessed my love of Dave to when I was still a teenager, so it seems appropriate that she was the one that conducted our Wedding a few years later. They are the type of friends that keep you accountable and check in to make sure you are spiritually on track. Every time I hang out with them I come away thinking about how intentional I am in my faith and devotions and what I need/want to be doing better in that area of my life. Every time we hang out with them there is also a lot of laughing, they are super fun. This visit was no different, and while it might be the last one we will have on this side of the world for a while, I know that the distance and the change in chapter won’t really change our friendship. We will miss them a lot, but the world doesn’t seem that small any more thanks to the power of the internet (which I still think is kind of magic).

On Saturday we used some gold class vouchers to go to the movies and because it was an unplanned adventure, we took Isaac with us. We saw Incredibles 2, which means that Isaac and I, both got to cross seeing a Disney movie with each other off our lists (no. 17 on Isaac’s list and no. 71 on mine). He was a dream, watching at least half (the beginning and then end) and having a nice nap in the middle… seriously this kid is a superstar! I also crossed no. 1 off my list this week, using my time at home to conquer folding fitted sheets… so far I have only attempted Isaac’s cot and bassinet sheets, but they are still fitted and I feel like I have done enough that I could transfer my new skills over to a real size fitted sheet!

Thanks week 24 for letting us breathe again.

Our Curious Life: Week 23

 

 

 

Ok… so this blog is going up a little last because we spent the long weekend in Brisbane (which you can read about here)… and really it’s just filling in the gaps between two big weekends, the long one… and Isaac’s dedication the Sunday before (which you can read about here)… which really just leaves Monday – Thursday… So let me tell you about that.

This week has been pretty much just recovering from the dedication on Sunday and planning for heading up to Brisbane… both of which have taken much more brain power than I thought they would. But the good news is we were pretty much recovered and ready to go by the time Friday came around. Although on Friday itself, I did find myself feeling a little worked up and anxious about making it to the airport and getting on the flight with all of our stuff.

For the first time in a very long time we didn’t have much planned for the week. Which turned out to be a blessing. At the start of the week I found myself feeling a bit lost, but we used the week to work on our routine, eating solids, rolling, sitting and the dreaded tummy time. We also rugged up and did some more walking where I got to test out my new sneakers (thanks fit pig). I decided to get my home puree game back on… well at least attempt it again and we have started trying to convince Isaac his food doesn’t have to be pureed… we had limited success which improved slightly with the addition of the mesh food sucking sock thing that seem to be all the rage. We had a surprise dinner with Pa, Uncle Darcy and Auntie Grace and on Thursday I also leveled up in my motherhood skills by wearing Isaac in the Baby Bjorn while I did some grocery shopping, shopping is a lot easier when you are hands free.

So what started and ended as a big week, gave me some pretty nice down time in the middle… thanks week 23.

Big Bands and Brisbane

Um… excuse me… but did you know Brisbane is beautiful? Seriously it is amazing… and that’s not just my frosted Melbourne heart talking. 23degrees in winter, beautiful buildings, incredible public spaces and it’s so clean. I love Melbourne, but Brisbane, it turns out is pretty great.

Dave, Isaac and I have just spent the long weekend up in Brisbane with the Salvo Big Band, Dave playing his Alto Sax (and a little bit of Clarinet) and me singing. We also had my Mum come up with us to help us take care of Isaac when both Dave and I were needed in the band… she was a total life saver. This trip not only crossed number 8 off Isaac’s list but it was also my first proper band tour. Previously I had travelled with the band to Sweden for the Salvation Army’s World Youth Convention in 2010 where the band performed but we also attended the convention. Since then we have missed a couple of trips due to our untimely trips into hospital, so in the lead up to this weekend I had been playing it very safe… determined not to end up missing out again.

The weekend was full on, with back to back gigs, but just like any camp or trip when you get to spend more time with people than you usually would it was also wonderful. There is something really nice about seeing people all day everyday, experiencing new places and events with them and getting to share your gifts and talents in combination with theirs and present them to people for the first time.

I find it really hard to write blogs like this without it quickly becoming my dreaded grade 5 journal piece… so in an attempt to avoid that I have summed it up into 5 little highlights… 5 might seem like a lot, but it was actually pretty hard to do.

1. Catch ups with family
I am lucky enough to be part of a big family… my mum is one of 6 kids and for as long as I can remember I have had at least one uncle/auntie living interstate or overseas. My Uncle Ken and Auntie Marg live in Brisbane, so it was the perfect opportunity to have a quick catch up between sets.

2. Singing in public 

Before our first performance on Saturday morning I hadn’t really given my role in the band a lot of thought. I had spent the week worrying about what I needed to take for myself and for Isaac. What the days would look like and what I needed to have ready for mum so that taking care of Isaac would be as easy as possible. I hadn’t thought about what I would be doing or where it would be happening from a personal performance perspective. I love to sing, really love to sing… and I love to sing with the Big Band, but I am often very quick to dismiss my contribution. I am not a trained singer as such, but have spent my life singing in church. Getting up in front of people I know and singing is usually more daunting that singing in front of those I don’t know… but when you put me out in the open… that’s another kettle of fish. Our first gig was in Queen Street Mall, right in the heart of Brisbane CBD. We performed after the Navy Band which made me a little more nervous than I would have liked, but I got up there and I sang, and more importantly I held my own. At the end of the weekend, after I had sung in the city, at a concert Fassifern, sung and lead worship at Carindale Salvation army and performed at both Westfield Garden City and Nudgee Secondary College, I was reminded that even just getting up to talk at many of these places is a huge deal for lots of people, for lots of reasons. Being able to sing, and sing well, is huge. I didn’t sing it all perfectly, and thankfully in jazz you can get away with some of that, but even just the fact that I had the courage to perform in such a public place is pretty amazing… and to my amazement, people seemed to enjoy it… I am pretty chuffed.

3. Isaac
 and his Nanna
Where do I start with this? A couple of months before we left my mum made a through away comment about coming to Brisbane with us to help with Isaac… Dave and I heard her and thought that actually that would be really helpful and rang her to find out if she was serious. Turns out she was… so up to QLD she came and my goodness me, was it great to have her there. One thing about having a baby that I haven’t quite adapted to yet is the fact that they need someone with them all the time… which means on a trip like this if Dave and I are both performing we need someone to look after him, or one of us doesn’t perform. Believe it or not, I can get very distracted by people, especially when I am in performance mode… which is not ideal when your husband is packing up his instruments and you are supposed to parenting. But having mum with us to fill the gaps, and more, was beyond amazing. Plus it was really nice to watch Isaac and her together… Isaac really loves his Nanna.

4. Nudgee College
NudgeeOn our final day of the trip the band spent some time at St Joseph’s Nudgee College. While we were we put on a concert and workshop for the grade 5 students. In the workshop the instrumental musicians from the band were dispersed through the schools grade 5 band to help them learn the new jazz techniques they were learning. It was so nice… actually I think pure joy is a better description to hear the difference in the band and watch the faces of the students as they achieved things they didn’t think they would be able to. Watching kids learn is one of my all time favourite things to do… wonder is an incredible gift.

5. Remembering why  

This weekend has also been a really good reminder as to why I am in the big band. The Salvo Big Band has a really unique opportunity to meet people in places that other salvo groups may not be able to go. To witness and bring the gift of music to people from all walks of life and to share in worship with corps and salvationists in places and in a style that is different from the everyday. The Band’s purpose is to shine light… and that’s what I think we have done this weekend… shone light, in both dark places and light places, but still light.


So that was my long weekend… now I need some sleep… well at least I can hope for sleep… I still have to parent 🙂

A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

Today is a pretty special day… well tonight really… tonight is a really special night, because tonight Dave and I dedicated Isaac back to Jesus.

For those unfamiliar with what a dedication is, it is similar to a child being baptised of christened in other churches. In the Salvos we have babies dedicated and it is actually a ceremony more about the parents than the child. Tonight Dave and I had the opportunity to publicly acknowledge the miracle that Isaac is and God’s provision and guidance through our journey so far. And we promised to do our best by Jesus and Isaac in how we raise him.

For me, tonight was also the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. When Josh died, we had some of the elements of the dedication included in his funeral. Which is tricky because lots of the parts that we weren’t able to include were promises for the future which was a constant reminder of what we weren’t going to be able to do for him. We know that he is with Jesus, but having lived through losing him, for much of Isaac’s first 7 weeks, and even every now and then, still, I fear that we won’t get to keep Isaac earth side either. Isaac is thriving and doing all the right things, but in the back of my mind there is still a chance we might not get to keep him despite the prophecy that he is our keeper. I know that I will probably have some anxiety around this for a long time to come, and I think some of it is just because I am a mum… and mums worry… but it is something that I need to keep under control… something that I need to learn to trust with… and I think that tonight is the starting point.

Tonight’s dedication, being able to celebrate his life and to hope and make promises about his future in some strange way feels like we made it. We made it past the point we made with Josh. Which I know we did ages ago in an earthly, he’s alive, sense… but it feels like the scary chapter of ‘will he or won’t he’ is finally finished and a new chapter of parenting and Isaac growing has begun. That now we are back on the normal path and doing what we should have always been able to do. It almost feels like a fresh start. I think this has been helped by the fact that we are slowly reducing the amount of appointments we have to attend and the oxygen seems to be the last hurdle to jump… and even that hurdle is different and feels achievable with time, but there is also a real peace to this new season…

During the dedication Bram used a passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 which says:

There is a time for everything,
 and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
 a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
 a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
 a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
 a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
 a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
 a time for war and a time for peace.

For us, Joshua was our time to weep and our time to mourn, and I truly believe that Isaac is our time to laugh and our time to dance… after all laughter is in his name.

So tonight was not only special… but a time to start over, to claim the promises we have been given and a time to rejoice and hope for what’s to come.

Our Curious Life: Week 22

 

 

 

Um… May is over… and this year is flying… seriously flying… I wish there was a way to make time slow down, more so now then ever before. Of course there are some times I wish it would speed up… you know, like when Isaac is losing his mind… but on the whole getting Got to put the brakes on a just a little would be welcomed. I don’t know whether it’s having a small person… or just getting older, but I am really learning the truth of the saying ‘the days are long, but the years are short’… whoever said that is a wise wise person.

This is what May looked like at the George’s…

The last week of May and the first two days of June were spent mostly shopping… shopping for food and outfits for Isaac’s dedication, shopping for sneakers with my fit pig money and shopping for taps for our recently renovated laundry… which isn’t finished yet… hence no reveal… but it will happen… eventually… hopefully after the school holidays.

We also spent a lot of time walking… trying to get fit, but mostly trying to justify the amount of money I was about to spend on sneakers. I have very expensive and specific sneaker taste! And we practiced our selfie game… I think Isaac is getting pretty good at it.

On Friday we experienced the mother of all poopsplosions while Mum and I were at eastland and I was very very thankful to have mum there to assist in the clean up… but I guess these are just the experiences that you have to have at least once when parenting.

We finished the week with a very cold big band rehearsal ready for our weekend away next weekend… and I decided it was finally safe enough to cross no. 8 of my list… because Isaac is still sleeping though like a champion, so I think it is finally safe to admit that I am sleeping through the night.  Oh and Isaac finally tried the Jolly Jumper he got for Christmas and he loves it!

Oh and just like every other end of the month blog so far… we get to celebrate Isaac being another month older… Isaac is now 10months old and he is very cheeky. He is very tolerant of Dave and I and all of the things that we take him to, but he also knows exactly what he wants and he isn’t afraid to tell us, very very loudly. He loves to talk and sing, and we are just so very very proud of him.