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.

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 20

 

 

 

Week 20 has been intense… not a constant, full on intense… just an undercurrent of lots happening. It started with Mother’s Day… this Mother’s day wasn’t my first mother’s day but in many ways it felt like it. This time last year we had one angle in heaven and baby Isaac secretly growing. Last year we spent the day telling our mum’s about our new little one on the way, and to be honest it was a nice distraction from the reality of the day. I found it hard to feel like a mum when Josh wasn’t there… I received lots of well wishes but for most of the day I just wanted to pretend that I wasn’t a mum, because it was easier and I didn’t feel like I was. I know that having a baby earth side doesn’t make me any more of a mum now, but last year I just felt like a bit of a fraud… like I was celebrating a day that wasn’t really for me. This year it felt a whole lot more real… being able to carry Isaac around, almost like a badge of honour on the day.  It was such a different experience from before. We had brunch together, I got thrown up on a few times, and we had dinner with my mum.  Isaac also made some Keepsake for His Grandma, Nanna and Nanna Naz.

Monday was Dave and I’s 7th wedding anniversary… 7 years… and so much adventure. It’s crazy to think that we are still only really at the beginning and there will be hopefully many more lots of 7years to come. I have told you all many times how wonderful Dave is and it is still true. Marrying him is still the best decision I have ever made and the last 2 years have just proved this over and over again. On Monday we received some pretty scary news that my Grandmother was very very unwell and that she needed a miracle, so instead of meeting him for lunch at school, he came home in his lunch break and played with Isaac so that I could have moment to myself, shower and work out what to do next. Over the last 7 years I have truely learnt the meaning of many of the vows that we made 7 years ago… in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad… he is my go to, my best friend, my greatest supporter and the love of my life.

So all that happened in the first 2 days of week 20… the rest of the week remained busy… with a undercurrent of anxiety and fear that I couldn’t quite shake… but we did make time for some fun things, like ramping up our efforts on getting Isaac to try solids… I still haven’t mastered my home cooking yet and everything that I do make for Isaac is usually rejected in a generous display of fake gaging… so I am thanking Jesus for pre-made baby food at the moment because he loves it… well most of it… we will work on the home made stuff once he progresses past the puree stage. We also took a trip to costco which is always fun. We had a couple of appointments for Isaac and the biggest small thing we did this week was get the light fixed in our bedroom. We broke the light fitting when we tried to upgrade it… and while Dave was in Mt Gambier I broke the blockout blind and it has been stuck fully down… so our room has been very dark for what feels like forever… but has really only been a week and a bit… but now the light is fixed and it is magical… such a simple thing… so much joy… now we just have to get the blind fixed.

We finished the week with a 6km walk which was a fundraiser for World Vision held at Dave’s School. Why 6km… because that’s the average distance people in the developing world walk for water that is usually contaminated… While we weren’t so great with the fundraising ourselves the school did a great job and our registration fees provided clean water for one person each which is pretty great. We walked 6km so they wouldn’t have to anymore. It’s only a small thing, but again it brings a heck of a lot of joy to me… and the person with clean water.

Oh and Isaac graduated from the capsule to a real car seat… which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it means my tiny baby isn’t so tiny anymore.

So we made it through week 20… let’s hope week 21 is a little lighter on the soul.

30 things before 31

Somehow it is my birthday again tomorrow… a whole year has apparently gone by since I last wrote a post like this.  But this birthday feels different and I am not really sure why… usually I start my birthday blogs talking about how I don’t really feel ready to switch over to the next age… but this year I just don’t really feel that fussed about it, which is really strange.  It is super odd… since I was 17, I have had a love hate relationship with birthdays, but now as I turn 31… it suddenly doesn’t feel like such a big deal.  Maybe I have finally grown up? Maybe I am still in denial about being 30 at all… but either way its nice not to be upset about it.

Each year I like to take just a minute (although it seems to be getting longer as I add more and more years) to stop and reflect on how the past year has shaped who I am now.  Things that I have loved, learned or just lived during year 30… 30 of them, before 30 becomes 31 tomorrow.

  1. 30 wasn’t so bad… it happened and the sky didn’t fall, I didn’t fall apart… in fact it was kinda nice
  2. I finally feel like an adult… I know I have been one for a long time now, but I feel like I am actually living an adult life now… trying to save money, considering my long term health, fixing things at home and being more comfortable in my skin.
  3. My body is my body… it’s far from perfect, but it’s done some pretty great things, it may never be the body I want, but it’s the body I am most comfortable in.
  4. Sometimes the things you fear the most, aren’t the things you should have been worried about
  5. It turns out my boys like to come fast and very very early… neither traits they get from me
  6. We live in a country that is incredibly blessed with amazing health care and hospitals
  7. There is a place for coffee in my life, and after years of being an exclusive tea drinker… I am now partial to the latte… I would imagine it’s the sleep deprivation.
  8. Even when you think you have had all you can take… there is usually more, and you learn you are stronger still.
  9. God is good, all the time… and his plans are better, even when you think yours a pretty great.
  10. Isaac is the toughest kid I have ever met
  11. I will do anything to hear a baby giggle, especially if it is my baby
  12. Best laid plans are now a pie in the sky kind of goal… yet I continue to make them anyway
  13. I like making improvements on my house… but the greatest home improvements are when everything has a place in the room in which it belongs… it turns out I am a house micro manager
  14. Banana bread is from heaven
  15. Babies are hard to take selfies with
  16. Motherhood means getting to join a gang of incredible women who you can talk to about anything even if you’ve never met before
  17. You can sit in the same chair all day every day for months if it is with the ones you love
  18. Babies grow fast, sometimes they only wear clothes once, although you can get so much joy from putting a child in a seasonal costume.
  19. Tiny face-washers save many things at many times
  20. Life goes fast… you should always celebrate the small things
  21. Turkish delight milkshakes and pink donuts will forever be sacred
  22. People are good more often they are not, and we are surrounded by so many people who love us and truely do want us to thrive and succeed
  23. Being a mum is better than I could have ever comprehended, although it comes with its own bag of guilt and expectations that I am continually trying to work through and balance
  24. Breastmilk is magic… not just for the baby, but for the mum who can offer nothing else to a baby in NICU… even long after they have left… although not pumping today for the first time in 8 and bit months was acutally really nice.
  25. I am married to the most patient, servant hearted man I have ever met… he has kept us going, kept us fed and kept the house functional… he is also an epic dad and has actually been doing the majority (like at least 85%) of the overnight feeds solo.
  26. I can’t stop crying… everything pulls at my heart strings.  This week I cry at every happy story at the commonwealth games… so many tears it is embarrassing… and don’t you dare show my a picture of a baby in hospital, I will not cope.
  27. I am looking forward to a year of not being pregnant and eating all of the foods (in moderation of course)
  28. I am pretty sure I am addicted to my phone and social media… maybe 31 is the year to get this under control because real life is definitely more satisfying.
  29. Hail does a lot more damage than I had realised….
  30. Even though I am further away from a lot of the goals I had over the last couple of years, I feel like I am simplifying and making way for other goals which somehow now seem more significant, even though they wouldn’t have previously made the cut… I think this is another sign that maybe I have just started growing up.

Thanks 30, you have certainly been another challenging year, but you have also brought a lot of joy and wonder, lets hope 31 is just as joyful, but less dramatic… I feel like my 30s could be my best years yet.

Our Curious Life: Week 9

 

 

 

Let me tell you about week 9… just like all of the other weeks this year week 9 was a busy one. We started with a Teddy Bear’s picnic at Rippon Lea estate, where I got to sing a couple of numbers with the Salvo Big Band and Isaac and I got to brunch with Annie and then hang out with Auntie Ness and Grandad while Daddy played the rest of the charts. I also got to dress Isaac up in all his teddy bear themed clothes and he looked super cute.

This week actually had a lot of catch ups over food… we had dinner with Anna and Jed, Morning Tea with Hollie and Smith, and lunch with Nana and Great Auntie Lorraine.

We also did some boring tasks for future fun things… we applied for a passport for Isaac and I got my renewed… now were are all set to go on an adventure… hopefully soon…

Incredibly week 9 also brings us to the end of Feb… which seems ridiculous, but it is true… but just in case you missed a bit, here is what our month of Feb looked like in photos…

Finishing Feb also meant I was able to cross no. 21 off the list ‘Go without games on my phone for at least 2 months’ which was much harder than I care to admit… but has been good for my brain, and an important reminder that my time is precious and that I get to choose how I use it… but that if I am really honest with myself, as much as I love a good game on my phone, there are lots of better things I can do with my time.

Oh and… Isaac is now 7 moths old… and a total spunk! At 7 months he still loves to smile and is quite the crowd pleaser when we go out. He has also discovered that his hands are delicious. He loves a compliment and still thinks that splashing Daddy during bath time is the best thing ever. We are still slowly weaning down off his Oxygen and he is mastering his hip brace, in fact he has the best cowboy stance I have ever seen!  Isaac you are a superstar!