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 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.

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 🙂

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.

 

Our Curious Life: Week 21

 

 

 

Alright… I am super behind on these and I will catch up because I am a structure lover and adamant rule follower so they will all need to be there eventually… and right now I don’t even know what week we are up to, but right now I am waiting for an appointment for Isaac and he is asleep in his pram so I am blogging in the foyer. But never fear, by the time I push post I will have worked out what week we are up to, and you will already know because it will have been the title of this blog….

UPDATE: The moment I finished the above paragraph… he woke up, and while happy to entertain himself in the pram… apparently it isn’t a good look to ‘be constantly on your phone’ with your child watching… I was about to write that I am at home and he is asleep again… but that’s a lie… I gotta go again…

UPDATE 2: I am yet another week behind… because I started this blog last week… but this week I have found my diary surprisingly empty, and poor little Isaac has a cold so he is having a bonus snooze… But right now I am feeling productive because I have just whipped up 2 slice bases for the choir concert tomorrow night, ready for the chocolate later tonight which will double as a delicious dessert when I get to lick the bowl. I have made my self a coffee, popped some worship music on… and now I am tempting fate by sitting down with my computer to try and smash out at least one blog… please please please.

Right now it is Tuesday the 29th of May… so rather than me attempting to tell you about this week… while it would be on time, would also be a guess seeing as the week has only just started… so let me tell you about last week… week 21…

Week 21 (see now that I know what week it is I am going to use it all the time!) saw the return of some exercise motivation (last week was a bit of a ride off after a pretty good start the week before). To date I have been eating like I have been breastfeeding, which I am no longer doing… and I have been a little restricted on the types of exercise I can do… my body is not quite the same as it was before 2 pregnancies… but a couple of weeks ago I started a mums and bubs exercise group and I have decided that I can definitely walk… surely I can walk… so that’s what we have been doing… Well Isaac rides in comfort and I walk and this week we have walked with lots of people… my mum, my sister-in-law, my friend Rachel, Dave and Dex. I have also decided that even though I might not always feel like it, actually getting out each day for some exercise is a good example to set and a good habit for Isaac and I to have together. PLUS… the fit pig is back (no. 59)… and I desperately need new sneakers… so I have to exercise, exercise, exercise earn some extra cash and buy the sneakers… On Friday we did our first solo walk for the week and the weather was glorious! There is a lake hidden about a 1km and a bit from our house which is so beautiful and every time I walk up there I am taken back by this little slice of perfection hidden in Knox. We should walk up to the lake more often…

This week has also been full of appointments, and this week we have had some wins and some loses… well not loses, just not wins. The ‘not win’ is that the Oxygen stays for a little bit longer… but the ‘win’ is that the hip brace is off… all the time… and it is great! Although, it turns out, that without the brace on Isaac is much longer in the bassinet which means he may soon have to go into his own room, and I am not sure I am really ready for that… I have decided that I am most definitely a clingy parent… maybe even a helicopter… Anyway… to celebrate being about to leave the hip brace off Dave and I decided to reenact a clip we had both been tagged in on Facebook. The clip with the baby with helium balloons attached to their limbs having the time of its life. We got the balloons and the baby… and a small amount of enjoyment from Isaac… he didn’t really understand what the heck we were doing… but the celebration was there… kind of… in our hearts anyway.

What else happened… We also visited my Gran in hospital who, thankfully appears to be on the mend which is such an incredible miracle and answer to prayer. We fixed the blind in our bedroom so now there is artificial light AND day light! Which is such a silly small thing, but it is so nice to be able to look out the window. Oo and we went to a park party for Isaac’s Auntie Hannah where we were able to catch up with Dave’s family… all of them!

So there you go… that’s week 21…. and ironically, even though it is finished and ready to publish… the internet is down at our place… so it has to wait a little longer…

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.

Our Curious Life: Week 19

 

 

 

Hello week 19…. and welcome home Davo. Over the weekend Dave was away with school, but on Sunday he returned and both Isaac and I were alive, fed and clean… which for my first weekend solo parenting is a pretty great achievement. We finished our solo parenting weekend today with a catch up with Auntie Ness and dropping almost everything we had brought with us to church on to the floor at some stage during the service.

Week 19 felt busy, with a mixture of appointments and catch ups… I was beginning to forget what it was like to fit all these medical appointments into one week, in fact, it feels like a long time since we have had a week quite like this one. Isaac and I spent the night at the hospital on Monday with a surprise sleep study opportunity, and I was reminded that you should always take your own pillow to a hospital… hospital pillows are so crunchy especially when you are trying to stay quite so the baby gets a good night sleep so he can show everyone how great he is doing. Isaac had his eyes tested and they are perfect which is great news for a baby that has spent his whole life on Oxygen.. (fun fact: Stevie Wonder has Retinopathy of Prematurity… which means he is blind because the oxygen he was exposed to as a premature baby). We made use of some beautiful weather to do some family walks and we also had our latest Maternal Child Health Appointment.  Amazingly Isaac is now on the charts for his actual age and not just his corrected age! What a champion.

We brunched with my friends from Uni, Claire and Flic and we also got to meet Baby Jaylen when we caught up with Julia. He is super super cute and Julia is a super mum!

This week I also got my haircut… which might not seem like a big deal but this will be the third time since Josh passed away… so basically every 6months, and just like my last haircut, it was a gift from my mum. I love getting my hair cut and coloured but I find it hard to justify spending money on myself on things that are such a luxury when we are down to one income and there are some many other things we should be spending our money on. Thankfully it’s a pretty great practical gift and my mum is super generous. So thanks to her I feel like a new woman again.

We finished this week with a celebratory lunch for Ness’ birthday and early Mother’s day celebration with Dave’s Mum… it was delicious and Dave and Isaac wore matching outfits… because why the heck not.