I should probably write about the year that was, as is my custom. Except I’m running a bit behind this year!
One thing that is really cool about this year is that we kicked off 2013 with my best friend of 23 years, Brooke and her family in Adelaide; we then said bye to 2013 and hello to 2014, together with Brooke and her family again, except this time in Tasmania! it was great!
We have had quite a few people visiting us this year: friends Amanda and her kids, Kristen and Matt and their kids and Brooke and Ben and their kids. I had an ex-student of mine, Rachel, from my earliest teaching days, visit us with her family. We’ve had grandparents come to stay, and just today we said goodbye to Monte’s sister Sarah, Russell and their children Isaac and Lily. We had a really really wonderful time with them.
We/I visited Adelaide a couple of times in 2013. Firstly, when we all went back for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, where we joined our families, including my sister from LA, for a big celebratory Christmas. It was wonderful to catch up with everybody again. I visited Adelaide in late October with Elora. I was 26 weeks pregnant and I wanted to see my family and friends before I was too pregnant to travel and before I had a little baby to care for. It was a wonderful, albeit speedy, visit. I miss my family and friends very much.
We had a little holiday in Melbourne, with Monte’s sister Sarah, Russell and their family, as well as our good friends Ben and Jill and their families, to celebrate Jill’s 40th. It was great having all the cousins together (to explain it, Ben and Russell are brothers, and we are all like a bit happy family) and seeing some of the sights of Melbourne: the Acquarium, Museum, Queen Vic Markets, China Town and Lygon Street. We can’t wait to go back to Melbourne for another visit!
On the property front, there is much to do still. We are slowly building a polytunnel, in which we plan to grow most of our food. We plan to build more paddocks and more fencing this year as well. We are growing our own meat now, which is great because it is all part of our big plan. We had lambs for the first time this year, they’d grow so quickly! We will probably have a cow slaughtered in the next few months, and some sheep later in the year. I adore my chickens and we collect plenty of eggs, but our birds are not the eating variety. With our surplus roosters, my plan is to build a chook-tractor that fits over our garden beds, so we can put the roosters in there to clean out the garden beds in rotation. Once I am physically more capable, I am looking forward to getting into the garden, for both the aesthetic and productive qualities!
Our home got some changes in 2013. Monte did a lot of paving, in the front veranda and at the back of the house as well. We also had the house painted white, which we really like. I think the house is mostly complete, apart from needing a splash back behind the wood stove – we just don’t really know what to do there. This year we aim to build an extension, or at least have the extension in the planning and beginning phases. We will be building a new office for Monte and a new main bedroom. We have been discussing a few ideas and we are currently investigating building to the west of our house so we can maintain the passive solar heating and cooling that makes our house so comfy!
So, for Monte, 2013 was a big year. We travelled to Europe in May, so we could celebrate being together for twenty years and also so he could attend the RunRev conference in Edinburgh, where he gave two presentations. It was great for him to meet the people with whom he has been working for over a decade – face to face. His business has been thriving, with Monte creating bespoke applications for his clients as well as doing commissioned programming. He is very busy! In his spare time he is going for walks and hikes and mountain bike rides, as well as some camping with the children and jobs around the house and farm. Monte is amazing. He brings me coffee every morning and when I was working he would get the lunches ready and get the children ready for school. In 2013 Monte began teaching Georgia and Matthew some computer programming, and, surprise surprise, they both love it and have taken to it like ducks to water! An awesome father, we love having him around so much and we feel really lucky!
This has been a pretty good year for me, personally and professionally. I have enjoyed my work as a support teacher immensely.I have really loved working with the special needs students. It is very rewarding. I continued my studies into Dyslexia and also completed a course about Autism. Our holiday in Europe was just amazing. I can still smell, see and hear so many things we did. Walking along the Thames, La Sienne, the streets of Edinburgh. Highlights were climbing the Eiffel Tower with my sister Sophie and spending some days in Paris with her; visiting the Tower of London and being overwhelmed to the point of tears at Westminster Abbey; walking around beautiful Edinburgh, alone with nothing but my thoughts and my credit card. I could go on. I haven’t written about our Europe holiday on my blog yet, and one day I hope to do so. Of course, since coming home from Europe I have had a severe case of placenta brain and we are excitedly and somewhat impatiently awaiting the arrival of our fourth child at the end of this month! I’m very excited about the year ahead. I am taking at least one year leave from work to focus on the family. I expect that having four children is going to be wonderful and very busy!
Our Georgia is almost the same height as me. We share a shoe size. Georgia has been learning piano again this year and is really enjoying it. She takes the keyboard into the guestroom and plays happily for sometimes half an hour a day. She can’t wait until we get a proper piano but unfortunately she needs to wait until we build the extension to our house. Georgie also busies herself with Girl Guides and swimming lessons. She is an avid reader and is extremely well-read, having a handful of favourite authors and genres. She loves talking about her books. She is currently reading the ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy. She also loves reading the classics, like “The Secret Garden” and the “Little House on the Prairie” series. She won second prize for the grade 4 division at the Interschool dance competition, ‘Dance Fever.’ Georgia likes knitting and sewing and I adore spending time with her doing those things. She loves exercising and she has recently taken up walking with Monte most mornings. They sometimes do 11km walks in the forests around our property.
Matthew has also developed a big love of reading; like many boys, he often prefers to read non-fiction, although he is keen to read books like ‘Tashi,’ ‘Zack Power’ and anything by Andy Griffiths. Matt loves swimming lessons and in 2013 he changed from not wanting to get his hair wet to treading water in the deep end of the local pool and learning freestyle and backstroke! I think Matthew’s favourite thing would be building things with Lego and Meccano. He seems to have a deep interest in designing things, especially things with motors, and then building them and putting them into action. His big goals are to build a robot and a tree house with Monte. Matt has also become very interested in cooking and usually asked to be involved with our baking adventures. He dreams of camping and I think that if they could, Monte and Matt would go camping every weekend!
Elora has grown up so much this year! They do, though, don’t they. There is a big change between the ages of 2 and 3. Ellie loves putting on her dress ups and dancing. She loves helping, whether it is in the kitchen, whilst cleaning, doing outdoor jobs or anything. She loves being involved. She loves talking! She loves her books and stories and likes to ‘read’ to us as well. Her favourite toy is still her giraffe, ‘Raffie.’ Her favourite colour is pink. She loves sharing a room with her big brother Matty, and she gives him lots of cuddles. She can’t wait to be a big sister, and not long ago she came to sit next to me, and with a very serious expression on her face, said, “Mummy, why is the baby taking SO LONG?!” Elora when to Childcare for three days a week whilst I was working last year, but this year I will be keeping her home with me. I am very excited about it. We have plans for swimming lessons and play groups and mothers groups. We both like socialising so it’s important that we get out of the house and spend time with friends.
We have had a great year and we feel very blessed to have each other, our families and all our friends. We love living on our property in the comfortable home that we built, and which we love, overlooking such a beautiful valley. We live in an area surrounded by gorgeous flora and fauna, amazing food, amazing people and wonderful things to see and do. We love to share all this with house guests, so please come and visit!
Wishing you all the very best of things in 2014.