Firstly, Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
What an amazing year. I could use the cliche and say that we can’t believe how fast the year has flown by. Except I won’t, because it hasn’t. Probably the most challenging and exciting year of our lives to date, this year has been wonderful.
A year ago, we were packing up our belongings to make our move to Tasmania. We were very excited. It was a difficult time as we were under the stress of selling a house and moving away, but we were very happy. We still are happy, and, funny enough, most of the things that we were putting in boxes are still actually in boxes and are remaining unmissed (except for my beading supplies, which I can’t find!). I suppose that through 2007 Monte and I realised that we had achieved everything we had ever wanted to achieve – children, career and houses. It was time to reach out and work towards a dream we have always had: build our dream home in the country – Tasmania, to be more precise. We honeymooned here nearly ten years ago and agreed that we would retire here. Except we decided that it wasn’t worth waiting until we were in our sixties to achieve a life-long dream. Why wait? So we didn’t wait and we do not regret it.
Living in a small but functional cabin, and sleeping in a neat and fairly roomy caravan has certainly been challenging for this luxury-loving woman. I have come from a large, spacious (west-facing!) house and now we are in a small and cosy space – probably the equivalent of a small 2-3 bedroom unit. When times are hard I remind myself that I have what I need and I certainly have much more than many people on the planet. Besides, we are building a dream so I should make a few sacrifices. It will make the new house even more special and exciting!
The great news for us on the house front is that we now have straw lined up for the end of the summer. The plumbing work and the base of the slab has been done, and Ady was helpful to Monte in getting the sand level. The next step will be building the box work for the concrete, and when that has cured for a fortnight or so, we will start framing. In the meantime we will need to find somewhere to store the straw. Monte is contemplating buying the wood for the frames (celery-top pine) and milling it himself. This might take longer, but it will be exciting for Monte and Ady to play with the wood in the duration.
Our dream home is modestly large, with an expansive open living area in the middle, with a kids’ wing on the East and a parents’ wing on the west. This sounds very fancy indeed, but in reality it is a simple home, with modest bedrooms and large windows on the North side, and view-loving windows on the south side. We have opted for a flat ceiling rather than a vaulted ceiling. We are enjoying dreamy discussions about bathrooms and kitchens and flooring and curtains. We imagine ourselves sitting under the vine-covered pergolas, drinking home brew and laughing about the good old days when we lived in the small cabin down the hill.
As far as animals go, our kelpie, d’Artagnan is living her dream too. I love to watch her bounding over the hills, chasing the field birds. Our d’Art was a first wedding anniversary present, and it’s hard to believe she’s (and we’re) that old! D’Art looks amazing and we regret having her spayed all those years ago; she would make a great breeder of farm dogs! Naigee is less impressed with country life, but is getting quite fat! We got Lucy around the time of our wedding anniversary in February. She is a cavalier/silky cross. She is a cute little scruff bucket and is very friendly. We have two goats who are currently on vacation. Our chickens are interesting and they lay eggs for the table. We actually have a broody hen at present, with chicks due to hatch at any moment.
This year, Monte has excelled himself, proving to be the ultimate career-family-handy-man. Not only is he running his business as a software engineer, but he is working at the house site as well as doing gardening and other maintenance jobs around the house/property. Plus he spends a lot of time with his children (and wife!), and feels very blessed that he has the opportunity to be with them so often, whilst many other fathers have the duty of going off to work elsewhere.
I have been a SAHM all year. It has been a good opportunity to go out and make new friends, and I have adored spending so much time with the children! We have got into some lovely routines and I have been able to keep them occupied with craft activities, which they love. Nevertheless, I miss teaching. I find myself correcting emails and posters, and thinking critically about any film and novel that I read. I am still considering enrolling into Uni to do my Masters in Education. I have been accepted so the next step for me is deciding whether I can manage being a mum; doing relief teaching; building a house and studying.
Georgia! She is five now and apparently is the size of the average nine-year-old! Of course, there is nothing average about my tall, slim, elegant daughter. I am bursting with pride. Recently she was the ‘main angel’ in the school Christmas concert. As her long, graceful arms spread to point the way for those little shepherds, my eyes welled up with tears of great emotion. She was amazing. She has done very well in kinder this year, and her report card is very excellent indeed. However, she is not perfect, and we are battling with some behaviour issues at present. For example, she sometimes hides herself when we go shopping, and I am tired of having minor strokes in public. She also has her mother’s hot-temper! Having said that, she is a very loving and caring daughter and older sibling.
Matty, the dream baby is much more a boy now than a baby. Those big brown eyes and those red ringlets are dreamy. Except he recently had a hair cut! He looks very smart with his closely-cropped ‘do. Such a well behaved little man, too. He is neat and tidy, which satisfies me greatly. Matty loves childcare and he has gone there one day a week this year, but we have decided to keep home next year, if only for the first part of the year. His vocab is soaring at a fast rate and he speaks clearly most of the time. I love the way his mouth curls around the word “Georgie.” He has brought me a great deal of joy and he is a wonderful son. It is almost hard to believe that he was just a baby when we arrived here. He has grown up so much!
As a family, we have had many adventures this year. We have travelled to Adelaide (too many times). We have been away for the occasional weekend with friends, which has been fun. We have seen a fair portion of this beautiful state, driving through the arid centre and also through the wet west. We have been to the very bottom of the country; it was pouring with rain, but we stood on the most southern road of Australia. We’ve been to country markets and country fairs and shows. We have bid on chickens at the local livestock auctions – an exciting experience. We walked the Tahune Airwalk with Monte’s parents. We’ve walked the streets of Hobart, and scoured the Salamanca Markets many times, watching corny break-dancing and listening to young buskers who have too much talent (or not enough). We have camped in the forests in the North, and picnicked by rivers and beaches too beautiful to describe. Tasmania is beautiful!
I would have to say that this little Goulding family is having a wonderful adventure and we have had a marvellous year. We look forward to more adventures to come!