Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Been a while...

We been busy, although I admit we snuck some lazy Saturdays in there as well! I thought Mark looked so cute, snoozing with the cats at his side (Bella is at his feet and Bucky is under the coffee table). Claire, Mark is using the grey blanket with red stitching you made for us a long time ago. This was taken this past Saturday. Notice the nice view out of our living room windows! These windows extend the width of the house, which includes our bedroom. They also go up quite high. Well, there's another set of windows above these ones... and a very high ceiling. They let in beautiful sunshine! I have been so comfortably warm at this new house-- we love it!
Before I delve into photos of the house, I thought I'd give you a little update. We're doing well =) A lot has happened recently. We moved house. I started maternity leave from Starbucks. My parents came to visit for 2 weeks. We just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary (July 23rd) AND my 27th birthday (July 28th). And then I lost my job at Starbucks!! More details below, or you can just scroll to the photos...

We love the house. It's bigger, nicer, and WARMER. Life feels normal again. It will be (and has already been) a great house to have people over to. Please come and visit! You're welcome always, any time. I started my maternity leave from Starbucks the week my parents arrived in part because I was told I wouldn't be able to get that time off. Even more than that though, it was my way of prioritising my family over a career advancement opportunity. They offered me the position of Assistant Manager (finally), to be moved up to Manager in February of next year. I'd have had to do my training during this month of July (leaving little time with my visiting parents) and they would've wanted me to return in February or March from Maternity leave. That would've meant only 4-5 months at home with my new baby. I didn't have to think about that too hard. Only 4-5 months?! I felt like they were asking permission to steal some of the most precious time OF MY LIFE. No way. Also though, I didn't think it was healthy for me to be on my feet 5 - 8 hours a day, sometimes with very little breaks. Some days were very exhausting and I figured I just didn't need that. With work I was feeling almost too busy to feel pregnant, to think about the pregnancy and to prepare for it. So, I left. And my parents came. They enjoyed the new house and helped us furnish it a little bit. In the photos below you might notice it's still a little sparse. We haven't hung any paintings or photos (accept on hooks they already had up) because we have to ask permission to put holes in the walls. I haven't gotten around to doing that yet. The house is a work in progress, but very live-able and even lovely just the way it is right now. My parents made their usual dash to IKEA and all the local thrift stores with us. They call them 'Op Shops' here, for opportunity shops. My mum found a few things that my dad willingly refinished or repainted, including the wardrobe in the baby's room. He also attached all of the matching door/drawer knobs on the baby items. We took my parents for a tour of the coast via the Great Ocean Road. We stayed the night in Apollo Bay. It was a good time! Next year though, we're planning on meeting half-way: Hawaii! This way we can also visit my cousin Melissa and her soon-new-baby who are living there. Ok then. My parents left, and then we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. I have to say, each year it just gets better! Marriage, that is. People say the first year is the honeymoon year, and the second is the 'reality check'-- a bit difficult, and I can't remember what they say about the third year. I always thought marriage was at least pretty good, but I can confidently say it does just keep getting better! When I look back on it, I've realised, "Oh, that was hard..." but we've managed through it all OK. We didn't really do anything to celebrate (well, we did go out for a yummy breakfast) because our ante-natal classes were supposed to have started that night. They were cancelled and no one told me. I cried. I thought, "I'm trying so hard to be prepared and I'm coming against all these closed doors!!!" As it turns out, I was also signed up for a second set of ante-natal classes through a different organisation which commence next Tuesday, so all is not lost. My birthday was a bit more special =) We spent the weekend together, which started with the lazy Saturday afternoon, pictured above. Mark helped me with some projects for church. We're raising money to buy shoes for all the students (195) of a local school, a school that is so poor that many students don't wear shoes to school! Being wintertime here, it's an especially bad time to be shoeless, so we're stepping in to help them. I'm on the missions committee so I was making all sorts of things for church on Sunday. We didn't actually go to church though. I dropped the items off at a friend's house, and Mark and I continued our weekend together. We spent Sunday in Melbourne, toured the Aquarium, visit a big inner-city church (affiliated with ours) called Planetshakers, and then went out for a very nice dinner. I love nice dinners. I'm a real sucker for them. So is Mark, so it was a treat for us both. We ate at Rockpool, a place that specialises in aged beef. The place smelled fantastic, like an Arizona steak house. The food was good. Mmmm. That was the 27th. As we drove home it turned my birthday and Mark sung to me in the car. And made me open my card as soon as we got home. And made me open my presents from him at 7am when he got up to get ready for work. And brought me flowers home after work. And made me dinner! What a great husband he is! In the evening I went out with a few girls from church. Nothing much, but nice. OK, I'm sure you're reading just to get to this part, or perhaps you've skipped to it. Well, it's true. I've been made redundant. Starbucks announced today that it is closing 61 of it's Australian stores (and there were 400 something to start with). I texted my manager and she phoned back confirming that the Ballarat store was one of the 61. So... it's closing tomorrow! What a shocker! I'm hoping and assuming that I'll get some sort of fair pay-out. I go in tomorrow to sign papers, etc. To be honest with you, I'm not sad. If anything, it was difficult for me to work in that store because I knew what a poor reflection of the real thing it was. And despite my efforts, it didn't change much. I am sad for my friends who are out of work, but hopefully they'll move on without too much trouble. As you can imagine, I feel so relieved and even more confirmed in my decision to have not done management with them! Amen. Anyhow, on to the photos... p.s. I didn't clean up the house at all for you. I figured it had taken us long enough to put some up, I'd better just put up whatever.


Below: our bedroom which I think is nicer and more comfortable than most hotel rooms! This is our new king size bed. Retail: $5000. We paid: $200! What a bargain! It's so comfy. PTL for rich neighbours moving to China. Notice I barely look pregnant from the front! I'm 26 weeks now...

From the side I guess you can tell =) but with a big jacket I can still hide it! Not that I want to.

Our living room.

And dining room.

And kitchen.

Entrance of main bathroom.

Our luxurious bathtub. Notice the window... it also has a view of the city!

Our guestroom. Please come and stay with us!!!

The start of our son's room! My parents helped furnish this. Below is looking to the left.

Then straight ahead. (To the right is our office area and some of Mark's guitar equipment.)

My birthday was yesterday and Mark made it special for me all day! At lunch he brought me home these flowers-- native Australians. I can't remember what they're called. He knows I like old people and nudity...hence the card!


Hope you enjoyed the update and the photos. I'll try to get Mark to write something soon. He's really enjoying work, and he's even starting to work out again, so thanks for your prayers.

Remember, if you want more juicy pregnancy thoughts, go to www.babycolviniscoming.blogspot.com


Love,

Rachel