2013 Christmas Review

This year has been one of big change for our family, and really adjusting to family life together as it looks right now.

In January we saw in the new year sleeping in swags at a national park on our drive down to Adelaide for a party for Tim’s grandparents. The boys had a blast, and we had a really great time seeing different friends and family along the way. They got to spend time with their grandparents and great grandparents, both of whom they don’t get to see very often.

February was the beginning of a crazy semester of full time uni for Sara. Living in Laidley but doing shifts and being on call in Toowoomba meant there was a lot of travel, a lot of night shift, a lot of births and subsequently a lot of fatigue. I was sick for most of the first six months of the year with just one small inconsequential illness after the other which really started to add up. It was not a healthy period for me. But I did well academically during the semester and I was blessed to be involved in the births of about 30 babies.

During this time we also discovered that Elisha had a parasite which was the cause of his failure to thrive. Once we started treating that, he became an entirely different and happy baby. He was also started on formula at this time, ten months, and began to slowly but steadily put back on some weight. It was the first time he had started increasing in weight in six months. It was also the first time he started sleeping at night!!

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April saw both of our boys have birthdays. They are both absolute delights. Nathan turned three and is racing ahead. Nothing is holding that boy back. He LOVES trains, and will spend hours in his room making elaborate tracks for them. He loves going on the train to see daddy at work, loves talking about trains. He also loves school and is begging us to let him go. We have a group of friends who homeschool their kids and they do cooking classes and different things together. Nathan loves it when he gets to be involved with this. He got an encouragement award at their break up for his “love of learning” which brought an enormous smile to his little face.

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In May we headed to the Bunya mountains with this group of friends for a ‘family camp.’ This was so much fun! It was very cold, but we got to go on bush walks, make crafts and even ride on a horse and cart. My family headed up there as well. It was really good bonding time with the kids and their Grammy and Grampy.

Both Nathan and Eli did swimming lessons this year. That was our predominant commitment with them. Elisha has been swimming since he was six months and I think it shows. They both love the water but are very sensible around it, which was the result we were hoping for. Since moving to Brisbane we haven’t started back yet and I’m hoping they haven’t lost their skills when we hit the pools again.

We discovered in June that we were expecting our third little baby! It was a bit of a surprise to us as I was quite sick with the flu (turned out to be Influenza B). We literally took the test the night before going to the doctors with my huge list of health complaints just so there would be one less thing we could tell her I didn’t have. We were just shocked that we had fallen pregnant that quickly without trying when we spent so long actively trying to fall pregnant with Eli. This baby will be due in February, which will leave a gap of about 22 months.

We’re currently collecting guesses on the babies birth details (gender, name, birthdate etc.) if anyone wants to head on over and join in!  Just a little bit of fun for us.  🙂

http://goo.gl/1dagT1

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July saw Tim take up a nearly full time position as a systems admin with Scripture Union Qld in the IT department. For the six months until December he worked 4 days a week at SU, with one day at the church office to give them time to transition. He has finished that up (in an ideal world) and just this week has taken up the full 5 days a week. He adores his job, I’ve never seen him so happy in a workplace. He loves the team, loves the work he’s doing, and loves feeling like it has a purpose. He has found a way for his work to be his ministry, and is in his element. He supports chaplains around QLD & Australia, and maintains the infrastructure which makes camps, fundraising and all the awesome stuff that SU does possible.

Since Tim took up that position in July, I had to make the call between continuing full time uni and putting the kids into daycare for several days a week or dropping to part time and staying at home with them. After a lot of prayer, and God really leading me to make the decision, I chose to stay at home and dropped two of my clinical subjects.

In August, when I was about 13 weeks pregnant, I had a crazy week with a complicated birth of a close friend, some insane uni requirements and antenatal appointments. During this time, it was discovered that my blood pressure was high, dangerously high. The obstetrician prescribed me medication for it, I asked for a few days to try and get it together myself. The only lifestyle change I could see taking was to try and drop my stress levels. So I called the head of midwifery at Griffith and told her what was happening, and she was happy for me to drop my final two units. No kidding, the next day my BP was down to normal. The doctor was pretty much blown away. I don’t think anybody thought that stress could actually make that much of an impact or a change. But that’s how I changed from full time uni to being ‘on leave.’ I’ve decided to take a leave of absence for two years and focus on mummying. I still have time to get this degree finished in. As long as the remaining nine units are done before the end of 2020, I’m good.

At the end of August, Tim got the opportunity to travel to Vietnam with our church to work in a village school there. He also got to help the guy based there who does the IT with some stuff, which it sounds like he enjoyed more than anything. Nathan was very aware of what was going on, and spent a lot of time while he was away talking and praying about ‘the kids in the school’ and counting out money from his piggy bank to send to them.20130824_120035_4909

We ended up in hospital in September with Nathan due to a very random hallucination incident which lasted just over 24 hours. He was absolutely terrified during this time, literally clawing his way up over our heads to get away from the crocodiles and mozzies. After many tests, an MRI, lumbar puncture, bloods, urine samples, there was no identifiable cause. It really shook him up. It took a while for him to settle back down after we got home. The first week was really difficult, getting him to adjust back to life without being terrified. To get him willing to sleep on his own sheets and bed again. Our friend who is a psychologist pretty much told us to treat it like a trauma, which was the best advice we were given. Three months later, he still talks about the ‘biting crocodiles’ and is very rational about it, but it is a clear memory for him. As far as his temperament goes, he tends to be a lot more cautious these days. The whole thing has made him love Jesus a whole lot more though. He talks about Jesus in terms of ‘protecting’ him all the time. His favourite bible story is Jesus calming the storm.

Since before Tim left for Vietnam we had discussed moving to Brisbane and after months of house looking and inspections we finally found a little unit to rent that we liked in Ferny Grove. We moved in the last week of October. It is a significant downsize for us, a little three bedroom place with barely any backyard, but the boys have a loft room/playroom which is awesome. It’s also close to the train station which means Tim can commute to work that way, one less car is a relief, and Nathan can sit at the park and watch the trains. Tim has become a much more pleasant person with the three and a half hour train and drive commute reduced to one hour on the train every day.

Since the move, I have been sick most of the time. Kidney infection, gastro bugs, cold & flu type thing. Tim and I headed to the Sunshine Coast in November to get a weekend away before the baby comes, and attempted to celebrate our five year wedding anniversary which is coming next March. By day two of our holiday, I was in hospital with appendicitis, resulting in surgery on day three of our holiday. All while 28 weeks pregnant. We got a cool MRI scan of the baby out of that though.

Elisha really started talking around this time.  He absolutely loves animals and most of his first words have indicated this.  Pig, Horsey, Dog, Cat, Cow, Mouse, etc.  He can say most of his friends names now, but I still haven’t picked up his word for Nathan.  He really is a charming little man with a head of curly hair.  He has decided he is a big boy now, and will not take any babying.

And now it’s December. Christmas is fast approaching, and I’ve had to give myself a lot of grace about not getting much done. We’ve made one batch of chocolate balls this year, and that’s all the Christmas baking we’ve done. After a week, I managed to get everyone to help me decorate the Christmas tree, but since Elisha undecorated it, it has stayed bare. We are heading to Perth on Christmas Eve to spend some much needed time with Tim’s family. Nathan is over the moon to be seeing his cousins.  White infographic

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Moving house (again)

So, we seem to move on average every 10 months. And once again, we are moving!

For the last few months I’ve been commuting to Brisbane every day for my new job. At first the commute was ok, but it quickly became too much, and it felt like all I did at home was sleep, before once again starting the cycle. The commute was roughly 1 1/2 hours in the morning, and up to 2 hours in the afternoon depending on traffic.

So on the weekend, with some help from friends, we moved most of our stuff to a 3 bedroom townhouse in Ferny Grove. Surprisingly, we have a lot more room than I expected. We have a small enclosed courtyard for the kids to play in, and while probably not big enough to have the swing set and trampoline, it is big enough for the kids to play with bikes, toy mowers, tonka trucks, and balls. There are even tree’s in it which have already been used to make a blanket fort!

The boys are in a “loft” room, which is big enough for them to have the majority of their toys, and their beds, without it getting too cramped. I think they are already enjoying being able to have the trains setup with huge complex layouts and not having to pack it away every day. We have a fairly small bedroom with a built in robe, which will struggle to have anything other than our king size bed in it. Currently the bed is in the garage as we want to modify it so we can actually get it upstairs! Lastly, we have a small nursery room, which will be setup for the baby.

Our laundry is in the bathroom, which will take some getting used to. And our kitchen/dining/lounge area is all combined downstairs.

We are 2 streets away from the railway station, making for a very convenient walk in the morning. We have shops walking distance away. And church is 10 minutes down the road. This “convenience” will be nice, but is very different to what we are used to, so will take some time to get used to. It’s odd not having to have a freezer full of bread and milk.

Hopefully we’ll be here for awhile, we thought our last move was the last for a long time, and apparently we were wrong. Lets hope this is the last for a long time!

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Saturday Morning

So this has been a really long week. I’m a little more ready to have a mummy break than I usually am by the end of the week. After a week of sleeping with a child on me while trying to protect the child in me, I was very physically exhausted.

But last night, Nathan slept the whole night through, in his own bed! We woke up at 4.30 to a massive thunderstorm, which was beautiful to lie and listen to, but the boys amazingly slept straight through it.  When he woke up, he had a smile on his face and he went to the lounge room to get his slippers by himself. When he came back in, he was super happy. He said to us, “There are no crocodiles anymore! They’re all gone!”

So I think we have our kid back. No doubt he’ll still be cautious, but the joy in our family today just from having everyone home and lovely cool weather and two happy boys, is almost palpable (though I’m still ready for a mummy break!)

In other news, we had a check up for White 3.0 this week, and everything is looking great! Which is a massive relief after the hiccups at the start of the pregnancy. My blood pressure is fantastic, and the baby is growing really well, much more even at this point than the last two times. Everything is indicating a happy and healthy little one.

Now to start discussing names. This is the part that Tim hates the most. It is a massive struggle in our household! Nathan has announced that his favourite name is ‘Alanpie’ after hearing me suggest ‘Malachi’ in a long list of names. I’m not sure we’ll be taking his advice on this one. 🙂

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Tuesday

Mummy – Can you please go and pick up the mixing bowl for me.

Nathan – I can’t right now. I’m busy.

Mummy – You’re busy. Doing what?

Nathan – Doing nothing.

Mummy – That must be really hard work.

Nathan – Oh, it is.

 

We’re using this blog pretty much to journal as we go along, so sorry for the unnecessary detail and the lack of clarity of thoughts.

The last few days have been really hard. Nathan has hours of the day where he is very needy. He won’t touch the floor or sit on a chair or lie on the bed. He needs someone to be holding him, and holding him up off the scary things all the time. Which causes Elisha to become very jealous and want the same attention. He doesn’t understand why Nathan gets to sit on someone’s lap for breakfast and he doesn’t. So this morning I had Nathan and Tim had Elisha. Barely anything around here is getting done between them.

It’s much the same as some parents deal with everyday with their autistic or impaired children, and makes me grateful in a new way for the development of the kids I have right now. It really is hard work. Feels a bit like having a needy newborn that I didn’t expect. 🙂

He did pretty well yesterday, mainly just glimpses of fear which worsened as he got tired. Late yesterday afternoon I noticed his temperature was heading up, and his paranoia hit in then. There’s a clear difference between when he’s just needing support and protection and when he’s ‘paranoid.’ We went out onto the deck, somewhere he feels safer, and read through Psalm 91 from the kids bible which talks about protection and safety in ways that he understood very well. There were interruptions of squirming and cries, but he asked for it again a little while later.

The problem with his paranoia growing as he gets more tired means that bedtime is much harder and he will only fall asleep on someone. That’s been me for the last few afternoon naps and evenings. Which is extremely uncomfortable and makes for a terrible night of sleep. Last night in particular with his fever he was very restless, and kept putting his knees on my tummy which also feels like it has doubled in size in the last three or four days.

Fevers up near 39 degrees again this afternoon, so we’ve been dosing him up on ibuprofen, which has seemed to work more effectively than paracetamol in the last few days. This time though there hasn’t been any accompanying paranoia or talk of crocodiles, so we might be getting somewhere. Even though they didn’t find anything, it feels like he is still fighting something off.

I’ve been thinking about the spiritual element to this, which is something that’s been in my mind the whole time.

There are factors about it which don’t make any more sense to me than any of the other explanations we could have. That the things he was seeing were everywhere, including Tim and Alan and I. That our prayers seemed to have little effect, either in settling them or increasing them as the things he saw got more violent. That I didn’t pick up or feel anything for the first few hours, when the spiritual atmosphere of things is something I’m normally really sensitive to.  I’m not saying that it couldn’t have been spiritual to start off with.  There are lots of things that I don’t understand.

That said, after we’d been in the hospital for a few hours, every time he would start thrashing and freaking out, my fear and tension levels would spike instantly, in a way that was different to when we had first arrived and the hallucinations had been worse. It’s almost like the initial hallucinations could have been caused by something different, but then it became something to keep him in fear and to attack his little soul.

Some friends of ours wrote to us saying that they believed that what had been intended for harm would be used for good. It’s already easy to see how Nathan has responded to it positively. The first night that we were home Tim and I were both lying in bed with him and he asked us to pray. So we spent a while with him praying about lots of different things and he was very involved. Today Tim and Sian moved out, so a new room opened up. Nathan walked in, announced that it was the church and we needed music. We grabbed their instruments box and sat in the room for a while making music while Nathan made up songs. About Jesus and his family and daddy.

I believe that this will be part of moulding a kid who lives fearlessly and knows who he belongs to and the foundation that he stands upon.

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Monday morning normality?

So even though boys ended up in our bed last night again, we had a much better sleep than the night before. We even slept till almost 7am!

Nathan is acting more normal today. While still hesitant about doing some things first thing after he woke up, he’s now walking about on the floor, and playing outside. He still wanted to sit on Sara’s lap for breakfast, and didn’t want to walk initially. Now it’s more of a fearfulness than a paranoia.

And then he saw a ball under the house that he wanted and he put his shoes on and went under the house to fetch the ball! That’s our normal Nathan! He’s still clingy, but doing much better. We’ll see how this afternoon goes, as yesterday morning started well but went down hill. We’re thinking that as he gets tired (and I’m sure he’s both physically and emotionally exhausted from Saturday too) he gets more fearful, which is a normal reaction for kids when tired. Hopefully we can get an afternoon sleep to happen and that’ll help with bed time tonight.

Keep praying for a speedy recovery and that this will all fade away to just a faint memory.

Thanks for your continued support.

Nathan getting the ball from under the house

Nathan getting the ball from under the house

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