Sunday, December 20, 2009
Now we've been here for 3 years and have got to know so many of them. I've seen so many change their lives, clean themselves up and start to attend church regularly. These people are a great people with strong spirits and many are just trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. Though it's hard to see this as you get around town and live here, they really are out there.
Tonight we had our branch Christmas party at church and we had a huge turnout. It was truly humbling to see so many people from all over the world there. We have Aussies, New Zealanders, better known as Kiwi's, Americans, many Asians from China, Korea, Philipeans and more and then we had a very large turn out of aboriginal people as well. The smell no longer bothers me ( I actually don't remember even smelling it tonight) and the people bring in such a strong spirit to go with them. As I returned home and got on Facebook (my addiction) I was introduced to a video that was made earlier this year and I felt so strongly that I just want to share it with everybody. It was made by one of the senior missionaries serving here in our branch and so many of the people in it are very dear to us as a family and to our branch as well. To me, this is what living and being in Alice Springs is all about.
Can you see the true joy and light radiating from each and every one of those faces?
Sunday, December 13, 2009
We also got to take a trip to Melba's chocolate factory. There they have everything open so that you can see how chocolate is made and, if you go at the right times, you can see the workers making your chocolates for you. There are free samples throughout and then you can buy the candies and chocolates by the bag full as well. We spent way too much money in there but the kids each got something they really wanted and have enjoyed eating it.
Finally, our stay in Adelaide was done. We packed up the car, once again, and headed out a little bit later than we had planned to. We decided to try and make it as far as we could that night but to stop someplace and sleep during the night. We ended up driving a little bit longer than we had planned to since the town we wanted to stay in had no room at the inn. We made it into Coober Pede right about 10pm (it's dangerous to drive after dark with all the kangaroos on the road) and found ourselves a room at a decent price. In the morning we went to the Old Timers Mine. Last time we took the inside tour and decided that the kids really only wanted to see and dig in the noodle pits so this time we walked through the outside and then let the kids each fill a small Ziploc with opals from the pit.
After a good nights' rest we headed out once again with the 12 apostles in our sights and Adelaide afterwards. It didn't take us very long to get to the 12 apostles. We found ourselves a parking spot and too a walk across the walkway, under the highway and to the ocean viewing area. It's a breathtaking view to see. The rocks, years ago, used to be connected to the land. Through the years it washed away the land around them leaving them out in the middle of the ocean the way they are. There used to be 12 of them and they were called something else which didn't get any interest or people coming to see them. Then they changed the name to the 12 apostles and made viewing them easier and now they are something that people come to see all the time. There are also only 10 or 11 of them left, as the ocean has since washed a couple more down to the point where you can no longer see them above the water. It's something that everybody should see and take it one day. God's natural beauty!
Our family with some of the 12 apostles behind us
Some of the 2 apostles in all their beauty
The view from the other side (aka the rest of the apostles)
The next morning we woke to rain. Sometimes it was heavy and other times it was just a mist but it pretty much kept on in some form or another the whole time we were there. Almost all of the activities we had planned in Melbourne were outdoor so we had to get creative and look for something to do indoors. The first thing we found was the Melbourne Museum. The kids enjoyed themselves so much at the one in Sydney that we figured we couldn't go wrong. It wasn't too far from our hotel and it was only $8 per adult and kids were free-how can you go wrong? Well, let me tell you. It happened to be the first days of school holidays in Melbourne and I think that everybody and their siblings decided to go to the Melbourne Museum that day-it was crowded to say the least. We were constantly counting kids and checking to see if we had them all, losing some of their crafts and even lost a kid at one point (only for a minute-then we found her again). Even with all the craziness we still got to spend quite a bit of time at the museum and the kids had a blast.
Dinosaurs at the museum
The kids all dressed up in their Pompeii themed helmets
Had to get a picture with Yoda before we left the museum. Isn't he cool?
After leaving the temple we pretty much headed straight out on our trip-car loaded and all. We decided to take the scenic route to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road. It's a beautiful drive and there's so much to see. We took our time and stopped at beaches and lighthouses along the way. We didn't get very far the first day. We could have made the trip in one day if we had left early but we decided to take 2 days instead and just take our time. As it started to get dark we looked at where we were and decided to stop in Apollo Bay for the night so that we could see the 12 apostles the next morning in the light.
One of the lighthouses we stopped to see along the way
So, recently (or semi-recently anyway), we had the month of November. After Halloween we took down our decorations, kind of slowly, I think it took about 2 weeks to get them all put away, and then got out Christmas stuff. Last year Josh made me wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the Christmas decorations and somehow we didn't even get the tree put up until the week before Christmas. The lights went up on the outside of the house at the same time and we didn't get much else even put up. The year before, I had a 2 month old baby and somehow managed to put it all up with heaps of time to spare. The difference? It went up right before Thanksgiving the year before. Granted it was only a couple of days before but still, it was before. So this year, knowing that we are now leaving here in January and that everything has to come down the week after Christmas to get ready for packing, I told Josh that it all had to go up ASAP so that I could enjoy it. The house looks great, both inside and out, and we are really starting to enjoy the Christmas season more this year and getting anxious for all the festivities.
For Thanksgiving we decided to have a big group of people over. We were kind of slow at inviting people to come over because somehow Thanksgiving came upon us really fast this year. We tried to invite our friends the Kaeslers but it was too late and they already had plans. We did however, have over our fried Marilyn and her brother Calvin, the 4 elders serving in town, Krystal Taumalolo, Tyne Martin and her 3 kids Jesse, Jono and Aotea, and our friends the Maritz, Chantal, Kevin and their kids Nathan, Ethan, Kristin and Nicholas. It was a full house but isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about? I'll miss being able to have such big and multicultural get togethers once we get back to the states for good. For example, Krystal and Tyne are both from New Zealand, Marilyn and her brother are part aboriginal and full Australians, the missionaries had 3 Americans and 1 Aussie and the Maritz are from South Africa. I love having so many people from so many places over and then we all get to try some of the dishes from each of their countries. Everybody loved the Aussie salad and I loved the South African desert and they all really enjoyed the pumpkin deserts, even though they were all leery at first to even try them. It's great to share.
So now we're well into the month of December and the holiday season is in full bloom. The kids all finished school last week, Josiah graduated the 3rd grade, Noah from 1st grade and Raven finished Transition (the equivalent of American kindergarten) . It's a little bit weird to have the school year over and done already, but only because we're now going back stateside and they'll have to repeat the grade they just finished for a few months.
Josh has finally started getting job offers and interviews, which is such a relief. He has already interviewed for 2 companies in Ohio, one said they have no positions right now but want to hang onto his resume and the other is sending him an offer this week. He's also interviewed out here at base for a position that he'll find out if he get the offer this week too. There's a company in the Virginia/DC area that wants an interview and another in Colorado for the same. The job we really want in Tucson, AZ might not find out if they can hire him until as late as March, which is a big bummer. Perhaps we'll start hearing from some of the other Arizona companies he applied to before too long-I can hope can't I?
We should be getting orders any day now and we are to fly out of here on or about January 19 to start out processing and be done with the military. There are parts that I'll miss, like the health care being covered 100% as well as housing and all out utilities, but there is so much more that I won't miss. I'm ready to have my own house and not have to worry about the kids spilling things on the carpet or breaking things that don't belong to us (then I can worry about them breaking things that we have to fix ourselves, right?). Ok, that's about the extent of my thoughts for now. I'm sure there will be something else that comes to me later, but that'll just give me something more to write about. Maybe I'll finish blogging about our trip one of these days-so much has happened since then.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Me with Raven and Rebekah AKA, the girls
Last year I was also on the committee as president when Raven went to that preschool and we had a wonderful committee. When we had meetings we all shared and listened to each other's ideas and then tried to incorporate as many of them into our fundraisers as we could. I loved being part of the committee so much that I decided that I'd do it again this year. I also enjoyed so much being the president last year and all the stuff I got to do as such. This year and this group of parents has really made me want to be out.
Tonight we had our monthly meeting and have been planning for the art show that happens next week. The art show is our biggest fundraiser for the year. We sell sausages and steak sandwiches, drinks, there is face painting, raffles galore and this year we even got fun light sticks with swords and a fiber optics to sell. So we proceed to talk about all the stuff we need to organise and then we come down to raffle prizes. We took inventory of what we have to raffle off (we've all been out hitting up businesses for donations). We have a voucher for $80 worth of dinner at a restaurant, an Avon basket, a really nice cake, a tent, a couple of other things and our big prize is a couple of really nice sets from Tupperware (earned at a party the preschool hosted). This mom decides that the set of Tupperware and some of the big prizes shouldn't just be "given away in a raffle," that instead we need to do a silent auction for them. Now granted, the one Tupperware set is supposedly a $300 (aud) value, so I see the point in maybe getting a little more money from it, but we didn't pay a cent for it-it was given to us. So I suggested some other ideas to raffle it off and get a bit more money instead of a silent auction where many of the parents on as tight a budget as we are won't even bid. Isn't the point of a raffle to get a prize that is worth much more than the ticket(s) you paid for? Of course not, it has to be HER way or the highway(she could afford to just go out and buy the set straight out). Every idea I gave was shot down almost faster than I could say it. The teacher looked like she was trying to iron out the best way and still get some money for it. I gave in. A silent auction might not be too bad and we'll probably still make some money for it and maybe the bids will stay low enough that I'll have a chance to win it too-she was talking about $30 or $40 being the finishing bid. So we move on with our planning.
Toward the end of the meeting she suddenly decides, out of nowhere, that we need to set a minimum bid for this set and it should be no lower than $50. Now, I love Tupperware as much as the next person, but there is a reason why my kitchen is NOT full of it. Tupperware is expensive. As much as I like the stuff, I just can't rationalize spending that much money on something that a $1 container will do just as well. a $50 minimum bid just put me out of the running altogether, and probably many other parents as well. Yes, we live in a really nice house and we have some nice things. But I'll be the first to tell you that we don't pay for our house, we don't pay for our utilities and the only reason I can even afford my groceries is because the military gives us a cost of living allowance on top of our pay that almost covers the groceries we use each month. From each paycheck I have about $150 that I can use, after groceries and bills, to buy other things. This paycheck it's buying new school shoes and church shoes for my ever growing children and then that money is gone. So, a $50 minimum bid just shot me out of the running altogether.
What bothers me more is that only 1 other mom agreed to this and the rest just kept quiet. They're under the impression that this lady just doesn't give up and that fighting her won't make a difference. Well, it will, cause on a committee the majority rules. That means that if only 3 of us say anything and 2 are for and 1 is against, that the 2 will win. It doesn't matter that the other 4 didn't agree, they didn't day anything so they lose. OPEN YOUR MOUTHS AND SPEAK UP!
I'm so frustrated with the way this lady takes over-maybe we should make her the president, vice president, secretary AND treasurer, she thinks she owns the place anyway. Who needs a committee when she takes over anyway.
Josh and I have come up with a much better idea to approach this raffle/silent auction thing and I plan to take it to the teacher tomorrow, alone if I have to. I just hope that she understands where I'm coming from and that other parents just aren't made of money that way. And, that there is so much more money to be made with a raffle as opposed to an auction anyway($10 per family times several who will put in for it adds up much faster).
Ok, that's the end of my rant. I hope it makes sense. If not, then I'm sorry but it made things a little more clear to me anyway, and isn't that what counts?
Monday, August 24, 2009
The girl unloading the car was so nice, maybe in her early 20's and eager to help out how she could, but very knowledgeable. We unloaded a lot but hadn't told the hotel just how many kids we actually had, so trying to not be up front about them while they were all asleep (for once). I took Caleb up with me (we had to walk past the front desk to get to the elevator) and I got all of our stuff put into the room while Josh parked the car and brought up the rest of the kids. Our room was big and spacious with a great view from the 20th floor. We had 2 double beds and quite a bit of space. Caleb kept looking out the huge windows at the street saying "car, cars Momma. Look car cars!" Just as I expected Josh would be there any time, there was a knock at the door so I answered it. It was the bellhop and she had brought us more towels, soaps and toiletries as well as another bed "we were talking and thought you guys might like another bed with all the troops you had in the car." Talk about nice and helpful. Our first night may have started out crazy, but we definitely picked the right hotel to stay in while in Sydney. I highly recommend the Westin on Martin Place in Sydney and you can feel free to tell them I sent you.
On Saturday we did some shopping and walked around a bit but really didn't do a lot past that. On Sunday we made a trip across the bridge to go to church. We attended the Greenwich ward and they were so friendly. While at church we found out that the temple was closed until Wednesday morning so we basically had Wednesday and Thursday to go while we were there. We got some names and phone numbers for people who might be able to watch the kids for us while we went and headed back to our room.
On Monday we went to the Sydney opera house and walked all around it. It was a nice, long walk that took us about 20 minutes to get there but it was worth it. The kids all marveled at the look of the opera house and loved all the docks on the water and the bridge just over the water. It was a beautiful day and we all enjoyed ourselves. We thought about taking the tour until we discovered that it would cost us close to $200 for the whole family to go-not worth it in our books. We stopped at the gift shop and let the kids each pick out a small, inexpensive something before heading on our way back to the hotel again. On the way back we discovered a really cool looking park. It had what appeared to be pieces of decorative stone from a building that was no longer together and they were all spaced out to look nice. There was a photo shoot with a model (who looked really unhappy and uncomfortable) and they took up about half the rocks but they took a break just after we got there and didn't resume shooting until we were about ready to leave again. The kids loved climbing on those stones and the especially loved posing for pictures on them-Raven was the camera ham that day, I think I must have got about 20 pictures of her alone as she kept yelling "Momma, take a picture of me on this rock!" We found a fountain to play in on the way back and discovered a free Australian currency museum that we tagged for another day when our kids weren't complaining about sore feet.
On Tuesday we went to the currency museum and Noah especially really enjoyed seeing all the money and learning a bit about how it was made. It was a self-guided thing and pretty quiet in the other side of a bank but it was free and really cool. After that we went to a park and found a place to sit and have lunch. We made sandwiches and had mandarin oranges and the kids enjoyed chasing the birds away and climbing a tree that was nearby. We kept having to look for Caleb as he would chase a bird and keep going until we called him back and he'd turn and see how far he had gone. The other kids all kept pretty close though. After lunch we headed to the Australia museum of Sydney. It cost us just under $50 for the family because we opted to see the exhibit on mammoths that they had going too. The kids loved the mammoth exhibit and all the bones and videos and everything that was meant to be touched. When done there we saw the rocks and gems, stuffed animals, dinosaur bones, insects and so much more. We were in the museum for hours and the kids really enjoyed themselves. We finished off with the kids' activity corner before we left (we knew we'd never see anything else if we started there). We then hit the gift shop and picked out one small something under $10 for each kid and some things for ourselves before they kicked us out of the museum (you'd think they all wanted to go home or something). It was just starting to get dark when we got outside so we put on our jackets and took a leisurely stroll back to our hotel, picking up some dinner at Pizza Hut on the way.
On Wednesday we decided to see the botanical gardens. It was right near the opera house but not quite as far. There were so many trees and flowers to see and there were even a ton of bats that lived in the trees. The kids loved the walk along the ocean too. It was kind of windy and chilly so we didn't stay too long. We hit the gift shop to see what they had (not nearly as much as others) and spent very little there before heading back to the Westin again.
Thursday was laundry day so we went walking to the laundromat the hotel recommended. After a very long walk with a heavy load, we discovered that the place was not a do-it-yourself thing. They told us where another one was and we went walking again. It wasn't where they said it was so we stopped to ask directions again. Nobody knew anything so we headed back to the hotel again and pulled out the phone book. After locating a place and calling to make sure it was what we wanted, Josh took the boys for a drive (no, it wasn't walking distance as they told us) and I put the girls and Caleb down for naps. When we got up we got in the car to head to the temple. It took us 30 minutes just to drive the 5 or 6 blocks to the bridge with all the traffic and one way roads and then we missed our turn a few times and finally found the home of the family who had volunteered to watch the kids. We arrived there at 7:15 and the last session of the night was due to start at 7:30-the temple was another 20-30 minute drive from their house. We were bummed but knew that we wouldn't make it in time. So we sat and talked to the family and got to know them a bit and then took the kids to the temple to walk around. It was freezing so we didn't stay very long but we took some pictures and talked with the kids about temples and had a really nice night.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The kids last day of term 2 was June 19th so our plan was to be out of here bright and early on Saturday morning, June 20th. That is until I realised that Josh was working a mid shift Friday night and wouldn't be home until just after 8am Saturday morning. So we pushed our schedule back a bit and I had almost everything ready to load into the car when he got home instead of the night before. Josh loaded up the car while I gathered the things that weren't by the door, I took a shower and we headed out around noon.
We had planned far in advance, mapping out our route using Google maps and that type of thing and put it all into a book to keep it together. So, off we went with the plan of making it to Tenant Creek before nightfall. As we turned down the road the directions said to, it was a road we recognised-the one that we took to go to the aboriginal camp called Mulgabor where our church has a small building and some great members. Of course we weren't turning down the road that went there, but instead continuing on down further. About 60 miles down this "highway" it suddenly turned to a dirt road. We continued driving it because the directions said to, but we were leery about how long the dirt road would last. We drove this dirt "highway" all day and through a lot of the night. After dark we dodged suicidal kangaroos, who hopped to try and get into our headlights (thank goodness we were faster than they were). Then there was the wild pig laying on the side of the road. Josh was driving at this point, slowed the car to a stop and pointed the headlights to see what it was. We saw it was a pig and Josh starts honking the horn at it. trying to figure out what his problem is I said "um, hunny, it's dead". We had a pretty good laugh and joked through the rest of our trip "piggy, why are you sleeping?!"
Around midnight the road finally turned back into pavement and we rolled into a town called Boulia just before 1am. The gas stations were all closed and we weren't going to make it to another town before we ran out of gas so we found a motel and pulled in. Of course, being a small town, it was also closed but had a bell for after hours and Josh rang it. The clerk answered the door in his boxers, gave Josh a room and key and set us up to pay in the morning. The room was pretty nice and we got about 6 or 7 hours of sleep. The price was much less than we expected it to be for a small town in the middle of nowhere and we were much in need of the rest.
Sunday morning we headed to the gas station, filled up, found the best road atlas ever (to avoid any further dirt highways) and headed out again. We drove nice, paved roads all day, only stopping to make sandwiches or use toilets along the way. Our reservation was in Gold Coast, near Brisbane for Sunday night so we kept driving. Around 5 or 6pm we decided that we weren't going to get there any time soon so we called to let them know that we were coming but that it wouldn't be early. At that point we anticipated arrival around 2am. At around 10pm we pulled in to use a toilet and discovered something sticking out of the front, right tire. upon examination we decided that it was a small bone (possibly from any of the numerous kangaroo carcasses we ran over or near or the suicidal rabbit that dodged back and forth and ran under the front bumper of the car-the kids were quite unhappy about that one). But the bone wasn't causing problems and we had a spare tire so we kept driving. We arrived at the hotel, The Sheraton resort and spa, Gold Coast, around 5am Monday morning, exhausted and ready for some sleep in a real bed, and we checked in without any problems and went to sleep. When we got up sometime in the afternoon, we ate some lunch and went to find a grocery store to restock our supplies for the week.
On Tuesday we went out to the car and started to drive, only to discover that the tire with the bone in it was now flat. Talk about an answer to prayers that it waited so long to get that way. We changed it for the spare, got directions to a place to fix it and went that way. The tire was not patchable because the hole was in the sidewall of the tire so we needed a new one. They had a good, used tire they sold us for $45-this included putting it on the rim & putting it on the car (this we didn't expect for the price). The guy even aired up the spare and put in back under the car for us. We were feeling like we got an awesome deal as this would have cost us at least twice that in Alice Springs.
It rained a lot during our 5 days in Gold Coast (and they insisted that they were having a drought) but we still managed to play at the hotel's private beach, collect some shells and have a good time there. We found a really cool playground for the kids and spent most of a sunny afternoon there. We walked through the huge mall on the rainy days.
We had spoken to our friends in Alice Springs about going to the temples along the way and who they might know in each location that could help us out with kids so we could go. Some of them had family in Brisbane who agreed to watch the kids for us one day. On Thursday morning we headed out nice and early to get to where we were dropping the kids. We made it there without any problems and with plenty of time. Tui was so nice and was so helpfull. We headed off to the temple and got lost along the way. Our session was due to start at 11:30am and, after stopping to get directions, we arrived at 11:40. The next session was due to start at 5pm that night. A bit upset and not knowing what we should do, we parked and walked in figuring that even if we couldn't get in to do any work that we would at least take some pictures and walk around the temple. When we got to the desk they told us that they had some sealings we could do and that they were short people to do them. We excitedly grabbed our clothing and dressed to go in. It was beautifull and the spirit was so strong. We were down to the last few sealings and I suddenly started feeling lightheaded and not good. I asked to sit down and did so. I sat through a couple more and then I was done. If I sat there any longer I was going to pass out. I knew they had less than 5 minutes left but that was going to be too long so I asked to step out of the room. It was so hot in there and the hallway was so much cooler, it was almost instantaneous relief but I felt really dumb for having to leave when they were so close to being done. I sat a couple minutes and then everybody else was leaving so I walked with them back to get changed. In the changing rooom one of the other ladies came in and commented to me hoping I was alright. I told her whathad happened and she said "are you pregnant?" Now, what part of me feeling overheated and lightheaded said I was pregnant? It caught me off guard. I answered yes and she saithat she had once had a similar experience but she sat there until they were done wishing that she had stepped out and very nearly passed out herself. She said that she admired me for stepping out instead of sitting there and suffering-I think I needed that beacuse I was feeling a lot like a shmuck.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
This week is going to be a bit more stressful. We leave for vacation next weekend and we'll be gone for a month. I have most everything for the actual trip done but now we have to clean and pack. That means making the house clean enough that when we come home we won't be disgusted to be here, making lists of things to do and things to pack and all that fun stuff. I'm anxious to go and we'll be able to say that we've been to all the Australian temples but 1 when we get back. We have a bunch of activities planned that we've looked up online and made lists of possible things to do in each place. It'll be a fun trip and memorable for all of us, it's just all the stuff you have to do to get ready that can be bothersome. That's alright, it's all worth it in the end. So, I'm off to make some lists and then pack lunches so the kids can eat at school tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Today was one of the latter. Even though I was awakened last night to give cold medicine to a sick kid (that Josh had just bitten his head off for waking HIM up), the kids woke me up earlier than I would normally like to have woken up, there was no school today for an Australian public holiday but Josh still had to work, we started having a flu bug through the house about lunch time and, even though I got to lay down for a nap with kids today, I got awakened 4 times to deal with vomitting kids or cleaning up the vomit that was spilled from the "throw up bucket" and onto a bed. Somehow I was able to deal through it all and was even patient and didn't yell at anybody for anything too miniscule today. Somehow I didn't mind having to get up to deal with kids while I was sleeping (I am normally very grouchy when they wake me up from a deep sleep). And, even when Josh came home in a bad mood, it still didn't phase me the way it normally would. I got some cleaning done today, did some dishes and even had plenty of computer time and got to talk on the phone to family for a couple of hours to boot.
I wonder sometimes what it is that makes the difference, why it is that I can sometimes deal through all of the chaos and not have it phase me, when most of the time I get really frustrated or lose it. I don't pretend to understand it all but am really thankful when a day ends the way it has today and hope and pray that tomorrow can be just as nice.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So, I guess that when I was driving and thinking those thoughts last week, I forgot to knock on wood or something. I went to the school today to pick up the kids and parked my car in the line along the road with all the other parents in front of the school. I went into the office and talked with them and then grabbed my kids and we headed out to the car. As we walk past the line of buses and the car comes into my line of vision I noticed a good dent in the door. I was thinking to myself "wow, that's a big dent. I wonder how long it's been there. I don't remember seeing it before. I wonder how it got there." Then my thoughts turned to "Oh no, I wonder if somebody hit me while I was parked here".
So we get even to the car and get ready to cross the street to it and this girl with a YMCA shirt on turns to me and says "Is that your car there?" I said yes and she proceeds to tell me that the bus driver just backed into my car. She was indicating toward where the school's bus usually parks but the shed it parks in was closed and it didn't look like it had been opened in awhile. And she kept saying "She" and I know that the school's bus in driven by a man. Then, around the corner comes an unmarked bus. It's not a huge bus or anything but still a good sized bus. The girl tells me that it's the YMCA's bus and she doesn't know why they let this lady drive it and tells me all about her backing into a tree last week while she (this girl) was yelling at her and another lady was honking at her.
So the bus driver pulls into the bus lane to park and has most of the bus sticking out into the middle of the road. Don't they check these people out before they let them drive buses? And then they're picking up a load of kids for after school care-makes you feel for those children's safety doesn't it? I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do now, we haven't been in an accident since we got here 2 1/2 years ago and things aren't done the same here as in the states. The bus driver gets out, with most of the bus still sticking out into the road mind you, and proceeds to apologise saying "I know it's not any consolation, but this is the first time that I've ever hit anything and I thought I had plenty of room for a 3 point turn there." Wait a minute! Didn't the other girl just finish telling me she hit a tree last week? Besides, buses are supposed to drive around the loop and aren't supposed to be making 3 point turns on this road. Then Noah turns to her and says "but look at all the dents in your bus. You have to be more careful how you drive." Go Noah! You should have seen the other girl's face and the old lady trying to worm her way out of that one.
Anyway, they take down my name a number and tell me that somebody from the Y will be calling me in about half an hour or so and we can get it worked out. They also offered to call the police to file a report but I still needed to get Rebekah and they needed to pick up other kids (poor kids). Long story short, they are going to call me back tomorrow with all the insurance info and get it taken care of. It's not too bad, the door still opens and I'm pretty sure it'll just pop back out without any further damage (I hope), At least we weren't in the car when she did it. I think I'll talk to them tomorrow about maybe getting her to take another driving course or maybe some more practice hours or something cause, goodness knows, she sure needs it and those kids riding the bus deserve more competency.
Here are a couple of pictures of the dent. Like I said, it isn't so bad, it's just that she probably shouldn't be driving around a bus full of kids without more training to be doing so.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Rebekah and I on the float getting ready to go
Saturday, May 16, 2009
1.) Josh is sick. Having a sick husband is a lot like having another child who is nearly helpless. He whines almost as much as the kids do and he mopes and get frustrated at the smallest things. I really just want to send him to bed and tell him not to get up until he feels better. The Dr told him he couldn't go to work the last 2 days so he's been home and driving me almost as crazy as the kids. He's a bit better tonight at least and he even did some cleaning. I guess he could tell that I was getting frustrated with his mood or something.
2.) I got to go out yesterday and have a girls lunch. Josh kept Caleb, since he couldn't go to work anyway, and I took Rebekah and one of my friends and we went out to lunch. We chose to go to Subway-she's pregnant so I let her choose what sounded good. It's funny, she's a first time mom and some of the things she has heard about or read about and all the wives tales that she is sorting through. It's fun to giggle about some of the things and then tell her how untrue they are. Rebekah had such a good time being with just the girls and we had a really nice chat while we ate. It's nice to get out occasionally and just have girl talk.
So that's all of the abnormal around here. Everything else has just been the same old thing but it makes the days go by quickly enough.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Josh has been working mids this weekend which means that he sleeps all day and is gone all night and I maybe get to see him for 30 minutes to an hour in the afternoon if I'm lucky. It also means that I have to keep the kids busy, quiet and/or out of the house all day so he can sleep. I think that makes it worse for the kids, especially on Saturday of all days. I got brave and took them all to the store to buy a present for Noah's friend who's birthday party he was going to this afternoon (hence the Kmart trip) and then we went to grab a few things at the grocery store. As we were leaving Josh said I should pick myself out some flowers for mother's day since he wouldn't be able to get out and get anything. So I let the kids each pick out a bouquet of some sort at the grocery store. It cost a little more than I normally would have spent on myself, but I ended up with two vases full of beautiful flowers of all sorts that way (and I think I deserve it after a day like today). So why am I at my whits end with the kids today? I really don't know. All I know is that my patience is frazzled and I'm so glad for the peace and quiet now that they're all in bed. I made it through the day and everybody is still alive and in one piece-now I have to go prepare a lesson for Relief Society tomorrow as it's my turn to teach. I think I'll go pray for the spirit first or I may get nowhere.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
All the kids went to school today and when it was time to pick them up Josh came along and took them all home for naps while I stayed at the preschool to work on our float. It seemed to be coming along alright but it was so not what we discussed in our committee meeting (the one where we talked about themes and what we were going to do for 2 hours). But, I was going with it anyway. It finally got to a point where they were asking for ideas on how to mount a solar panel on top of a stick (fake solar panel made from cardboard and tin foil) and I had given them 3 different ideas which they answered "no, how about we do...." I finally just walked away to help clean up after the kids as that was the last thing that needed done and I'd rather walk away than to have them pretty much pretend that I wasn't there. As I got outside I commented to one of the other moms, the vice president of the parent committee, that I was pretty much useless inside and so I'd rather clean up a mess that my kids weren't there to make than to get upset over it. This spawned into a whole conversation in which I found that I was not the only one lost in the decision to change our whole float into something that had nothing to do with solar energy and that our 2 hour meeting was pretty much a waste. It's nice to know that as president and vice president our input means nothing. Oh well, we'll learn to speak up sooner next time and relate our frustrations maybe in the next committee meeting. We pretty much finished the preparations for the float though and canceled the Friday working bee because of it.
I got to go with Rebekah's preschool class to the pet shop to pick out the new fish for their class. They got to wander through the bird area, the lizards and finally to learn about fish and pick out 3 goldfish for the class. They picked out big fantail goldfish, one gold one, named Goldie, one spotted one, named Spotty, and one spotted one with much less color, which they named Stripy. It was a lot of fun for all the kids and then when they were through, the guy showed them what they feed the snakes-frozen mice. They apparently have them breed at the desert park here and then they freeze them and sell them. So they're clean and disease free and all the kids loved holding and playing with the frozen mice. Rebekah with Chantel, Tyrese and Mrs Cooper petting and holding the frozen mice
In the evening I spent my time packing for Josiah’s class camp and getting everything loaded into the truck so we could just get up and go on Thursday morning.
Bright and early we were up and getting ready to go. I decided to put Noah and Raven on the bus since I wasn’t sure where we were supposed to be meeting and didn’t want them to have to wait around the whole time until school started. Then Josiah and I grabbed our last few things and headed out to school. We didn’t have to unload or anything since I was taking my truck out to camp, so we just helped other parents get set and load up the buses and stuff. Once everybody was ready we all headed out to camp. I had Carl’s mom, Lela riding with me. We got about half way out and I started hearing this rattling sound. As I was trying to figure out where it was coming from, something flew off the rack on top of the truck. As I looked in the rear view mirror, I saw tent poles flying everywhere.
For those of you who don’t know the story of the tent poles, let me elaborate. My parents gave us this very big tent in August of 2006 while we were home on vacation. We were excited as they referred to it as the condo tent and our family wasn't getting any smaller-we had pretty much outgrown both of our small dome tents. We loaded it into the van, drove it across the country to Maryland and then packed it to come to Australia, where we would be able to do much camping. When we got our stuff and it was time for our first camp out, we decided to put it together in the back yard first so that we wouldn’t look dumb out at camp trying to set up a tent we’d never put together before. So, we rolled it out, only to discover that we had no tent poles. My parents had forgotten to give them to us and they were sitting in their shed in AZ-several thousand miles away. We camped in our 2 little dome tents a few times and then, when we went home last year, August of 2008 (2 years without the poles for our nice, big tent) we picked up the poles and mailed them home to ourselves (don’t ask why they couldn’t have been mailed earlier, it’s a long story that I don’t want to talk about). So, now you know the story of our poles and now, back to the other story.
Here are those same poles scattered all over the highway behind me. I immediately pull over and jump out of the car to start running. The car behind us slowed and drove around them and then the 2 cars behind them had other moms in them and they pulled over and jumped out too. We got them all picked up and none were run over-amazing, I know. At least the tent was there in case of rain and the kids didn’t end up needing it that night. We loaded everything into the cars instead of on top now and off we go to camp. We arrived and the kids had snacks and then we all went off for a hike. It took about 45 minutes or so and was fun. After we came back, we had lunch, finished setting up camp and the kids did activities one after another.
My camera battery died at the end of the hike so I tried finding some cell phone service to call one of the other moms who was coming out that evening so she might stop and bring the other battery to me (our house is on her way out of town and she and I are pretty good friends). One of the teachers said she had service about half-way up a mountain nearby so Lela and I went for a hike-No luck. Then one of the other moms suggested going to the next town, about a 15 minute drive, and try there. If nothing else they should have a pay phone or land line we could use, right? So we arrive in Ross River to find that there's still no cell service but as we pull in, there's a nice, big pay phone in front of us. I pulled out my change and headed over. Just as I'm reaching for the receiver, a lady calls out "that doesn't work. Hasn't worked for about 6 months now". No good. So she tells me to try the front counter of the hotel and see if the guy will let me use his phone there. In I go only to have the man tell me all about how Telstra (the phone company) won't come out to fix their pay phone and they aren't allowing anybody to make personal calls so that they'll all complain to Telstra and maybe they'll come out and fix it. He goes on to tell me all about how nobody cares about them and they are the emergency contact for all travelers, blah, blah, blah and he doesn't like giving mouth to mouth to people who are dyeing. 15 minutes later I finally inch my way to the door after discovering that we'd have to drive nearly back to Alice Springs to get cell service (an hour drive) and that there isn't another land line before we get there. We won't be going back to Ross River again. I had just enough camera battery to get 1 or 2 pictures at a time(if I snapped them fast) before it would shut off on me again. So, back to camp.
We had dinner and relaxed most of the evening while the kids did skits and then played night games in the dry creek with their torches (flashlights for all you non-Australians). I think the most amazing part was that when the teachers said lights out at 9:15, the kids all got quiet and by 9:30 it was silent and most all of them were asleep. (I wish my kids went out that fast at home.) The parents all stayed up to watch the campfire and get warm and we went to our tents/swags about 11pm. I was out about 5 minutes after I laid down.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Caleb with flies all over his butt and legs (Click for a closer look)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
This week is going to be a hectic one for us. We've got a field trip with Rebekah's class to the pet shop on Wednesday. The preschools rabbit died just before school started, the bird died a few weeks into school and then a few weeks ago they had a break in where the people trashed the place with glitter, paint and every other art supply they could find, filled the fish tank with paint, and killed the fish and then took the fire extinguisher and sprayed it all over the top of everything before they took the stereo, camera, the teacher's reading glasses and a few other things and left. Anyway, that leaves them needing new fish too. So, it's off to the pet store for a tour and to buy some new pets and I get to chaperone.
Then on Thursday and Friday, I volunteered to go with the year 3 kids and Josiah on their camping trip to Trefina gorge. It's just over one night, but with about 60, 8 and 9 year olds. They want 1 parent for every 2-4 kids so there will be a lot of us going along. It should be fun.
Once we get back on Friday right after school, we're having a branch camp out on Friday night. The whole family has been anxious to go on this one. We debated whether or not to even go when they changed it to this weekend, but we'll go anyway I think. At least the truck will be all packed up already-all we need to do is add a few chairs and sleeping bags and our food for the night (maybe we'll buy something on the way). We'll be back early Saturday morning (because this branch doesn't know what camping really is) and then we'll all have an early nap.
Saturday afternoon/evening, we have the military ball. I still need to hem my dress and maybe make a shrug to go with it. The fabric store was closed on Saturday for Anzac day, so we'll have to go tomorrow to see if I can find some fabric for a shrug that I like. We were also supposed to go to a farewell dinner for two families at church Saturday night but it happens to be at the same time that we need to be at the ball for dinner, so we'll miss that one.
Sunday we have church and then a working bee at the preschool to prepare our float for the parade on Monday morning. All of the kids should be able to be in the parade with their schools but I'm not sure what Living Waters has in mind for their float. We'll probably drop off Raven, Noah and Josiah for their float and then Rebekah and I will go the the preschool float where, as President of the parent committee at the preschool, I get to ride along.
The next week should be so much less busy after the parade but, until then, I'm feeling exhausted just thinking about it all. I'm off to start the hem on my dress.