Thursday, December 22, 2011
For the last few years I’ve had the time to put together a Christmas letter in a lovely professional newsletter format, pdf it and send it off. Not this year. I’m sorry to say this blog is it as with 3 children under 6 (one now 6 month’s old), a full time job, part-time lecturing at Uni and a small business I don’t really have the time to do this. Usually a Christmas letter is a bit show offy about how wonderful the year has been. I could write this up as we have indeed had magical moments like the birth of Mack, but it’s not all roses and I’d hate to lie. On the upside we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world with the most amazing facilities and we’re safe.
We had a fantastic first half of the year. Mack was born on 6 June and he is simply the most amazing and wonderful baby to complete our family of 5. He’s a very happy baby and quite go with the flow which I suppose he has to be considering his birth order. But phew, I’m so happy we’ve been gifted with our bubba that was so huge he had to come out early and he reminds me a little of Jabba the hut! He’s now 6 month’s old and weighs only about 2 kgs less than Keirabella who turns 4 in a few weeks. He may have a fabulous career as a sumo wrestler.
I struggled at the end of the pregnancy not only because I crazily walked over hot coals at an Anthony Robbins event (and have an embedded coal in my foot to prove it) but for the third time in five years (I’ve been pregnant almost two and a half years out of 5) I wasn’t able to dance on tabletops, eat soft cheese or drink copiously. My hip that was broken after giving birth to Keirabella was at risk, and quite sore, and I had to be very careful with everything I did. Towards the end of the pregnancy I was walking like my 97 year old Grandma, but instead of a support frame I was lugging school bags, library books, water bottles and swimming gear around for the 1.5 hour school journey every day (3 hours total in a day).
Our brilliant idea of getting an au pair to help me force feed the children, dunk them in the bath and cope with their protests as we ripped a brush through their bird’s nest hair and help with the school run backfired when we ended up with a strict militant German who everyone was scared of, but we survived. The German did her time and left and we got a new au pair from Austria who turned out to be wonderful. Jenny is the 3rd honorary daughter of the family and is loved by all of us. Her only weakness is an inability to use the iron properly and our clothes all look like we’re in competition with foil lolly wrappers. We can cope with that much better than the fear of being doomed forever and being criticised for hanging the kid’s clothes up in the wrong section.
Jenny’s influence has extended to my purchase of clothes as I bought a batch of non iron wrap dresses to make her life easier! This leads me to budgeting. A few month’s after our beautiful Mack was born we got thrown into having to budget for every last cent when a stalker at Mark’s work (which was our primary source of income) made it too difficult for him to stay and he switched to a new role elsewhere.
My need for security and concerns over running a family on 1 volatile income launched me back into fulltime work with a 5 month old baby, no sleep at night and running a household routine for 6 people that is akin to an under 6rs soccer game. No-one really knows where the ball is, half of us are crying at any one time about something trivial, people from the sidelines are yelling out conflicting advice and the goal posts seem to move whenever we get near them - or we get wiped out by a tsunami just when we think we have it together. It's had an impact on La Bella as although La Bella is successful in earning the equivalent to a receptionist level salary it's not enough to sustain all of us - yet! I'll have to work out how to balance it all.
The family budgeting process has been an interesting one as I’ve worked out just how much I spend on desperate interstate daily phone calls with Kate, my new technology addiction, chocolate, drunken bids at charity balls and the real killer: how much we actually spend on alcohol – oh dear!
The medical bills this year went through the roof with a birth and then surgery for Bella. Keirabella got sicker and sicker during the year with sleep apnoea and fever after fever, endless infections and huge weight loss. She had her tonsils and adenoids out a month ago and she seems to be thriving although her weight still worries me. None of us are exactly the build of a stick insect in our family but Keirabella seems destined to become a supermodel as she’s way too skinny!!! She’s still on my Mummy worry radar but I am comforted (and horrified) by the fact that if she could she’d eat nothing but chocolate and chips and seems to hold off on eating anything healthy until she gets her own way.
Lakeisha is a beautiful headstrong little girl who has a few select friends, loves to play with the boys and keeps swapping her dresses and other girly clothing with her male friends as soon as she gets them into her bedroom (a behaviour I hope she doesn’t repeat in 10 year’s time). Lakeisha wants an IPAD or Xbox for Christmas. Keirabella is a party animal that is friends with everyone and is massively into princesses and fairies (which Lakeisha proclaims she HATES). She’s usually dressed in fairy costumes that swim on her due to her small size and I’m constantly having to fix her wings and mend her wands. She wants chocolate or something princessy for Christmas. Mack is already tearing around the house in his walker, is accessing the lower drawers in the kitchen and takes great delight in ramming us against a wall or pulling our hair. He’s constantly eating and moving and laughs at every opportunity he gets.
We need more laughter next year and we’ll all have at least a week off over Christmas with friends and family which is going to be fabulous. We spent some valuable time with Greg and Danielle in Cairns for their wedding, we caught up with Bec on the Gold Coast and we hope that we can spend more time next year with our friends. We’ve planned a holiday to Bali next year with Laurie and Matt and Tim and Penny plus families, so we’re looking forward to playing with the kids, relaxing, swimming, drinking and getting cheap massages.
The Christmas holiday coming up in a few days is needed as after a few week’s of me taking a new job in November and being excited about it paying much more than I’d ever expect I began the new role and discovered that I had no desk for a week, the boss never said hello, no-one seemed to be clear on what benefits the project would deliver, and I had to work closely with someone who was completely incompetent, who liked to work alone, that preferred to communicate by email when they were sitting right next to me and who admitted they didn’t like socialising or people!!! Can you imagine me getting on with this person? After a few weeks I finished a planning document that colleagues told me would normally take 4 month’s to write (I did it in 2 weeks) and I chose to walk! It was nice to receive hugs of support and tears from people I’d only known for a few weeks!
I’m really pleased I was completely fickle about this as I’m now working for the most wonderful organisation with the most fabulous boss who says hello regularly, I have flexibility of work hours, a desk, a mobile phone, free fruit, a laptop, staff, a carpark in the city, I’m surrounded by clever, lovely people, I like my role and I have all the support I could ever need! Yay! There really are some toxic workplaces out there.
So just when we thought we had it together Mark’s anonymous stalker comes out of the woodwork the week before Christmas to try and sabotage his career again!!! I’d really love to just sit this person down and explain that their actions are hurting a whole family and that I’ve been ripped out of maternity leave and separated from my beautiful baby boy earlier than planned because of this person, but I suspect that they’re a jealous, crazy, malicious person and they may actually get some glee from this thought. I’m not sure they will get much traction as the powers that be are sensible and think it’s the actions of an unstable person but it’s not nice to think someone hates your husband that much that they’re seeking to ruin him.
I’m sure we’ll get through next year in one piece but first we need to survive Christmas Eve at our place with 13 people, lunch at the Tradie’s the following day and then a trip down to Merimbula to see Mark’s family and relax on the beach in the current un-beachy temperatures of 20 degrees average.
We’ve learnt this year that I’m having no more children (ever!), that we have very supportive friends and family, and that sometimes life knocks you sideways but you simply need to dust it off and keep going...
I have a feeling that next year is going to be AMAZINGLY good.