30 May 2010

I have fallen off the blogging wagon...

Time just seems to be rushing by. Have we been here for almost 2 weeks already? Does that mean we haven't talked to Nick's mom for like a week and a half? Bad Jen. Will call soon.

We discovered that we have, um, misplaced our, um, folder full of personal documents. We have our passports, because we had to travel with those on us, but our birth certificates (and certificates of births abroad) and marriage certificate, all of which are required in our quest for Nick's visa, are nowhere to be found. Not good. He is bummed. He was looking forward to getting all of that taken care of and getting his permission to work so that he could go forth and provide. Meanwhile, I was looking forward to picking up a part time night job and spending the days with the kids, catching up with friends, doing interesting Portland summer things. Instead, I'm looking for a full time job.

There isn't a whole lot out there (that doesn't suck) for someone without a degree. There are a whole lot of jobs I could be completely awesome at and would really enjoy (or at least learn a lot from) that won't consider me. I applied for a job at Whole Foods Market which would be cool for awhile. I'm seriously considering starting up an in-home day care with an AP slant; the economy is crap enough here that a lot of people who don't want to work think that they really need to and find themselves needing childcare. I love kids, and I think it would be something I would really enjoy. Maybe. But only if the families were awesome - I don't know how I would handle parents that had bad things to say about their kids or came from a completely opposite parenting direction. Hmmm, we'll see.

I signed Nate up for a couple of summer activities at the library - chess and lego building. He's excited.

21 May 2010

The kookaburras have landed

There is a big difference travelling with a group of people who are all over 2 years old. I haven't flown without an under-2 since 2002. It helped that Virgin Australia is an awesome airline and the flight had lots of empty seats. We managed to get 9 seats between the 5 of us thanks to the flight attendants who let us move around before the flight took off (and kicking a dude out of what should have been an empty row). We put Nate in a row of 3 to himself so that he could stretch out, and it was good that we did because when he projectile vomited, it only got all over himself and not on any neighbors. Other than that, it was an excellent flight.

So now we're working on adjusting to the big ole time difference. The kids are getting there - they woke up at 8:30ish this morning. Eli slept from 10:30pm to 11am - I'm loving the 12+ hours of sleep at night and no nap during the day, but not so much the waking up at 11am, because then I wake up at 11am too. I'm going to aim for 9pm tonight and see where that gets us. Nick was awake from 1:30am to about 11am and then slept until 2:30pm, so we'll see what his night looks like!

We went to the amazing Beaverton Library today. I bloody love that library. There is just SO MUCH THERE. So many books, so many books on CD, so many DVDs (we'll avoid those though for now after a few months of using TV as a quiet-keeper), so many toys for toddlers, so much space. Any topic you can think of and there are so many books. I asked the Children's Librarian about resources for homeschoolers and she showed me to the "Parent/Teacher" section which has all of the curriculums, workbooks, 'where your 2nd grader should be' books, etc. She also showed me where to find all of the homeschooling resource links on their library website. Cool. I picked up a list of all of the free activities the library puts on over the summer which includes a chess club for Nate (yay!) and lots of stuff for older kids.

Nick and I went to the local supermarket and were incredibly impressed by the food here (I knew - I have been here quite a few times since he was last here in 2007). We spent over an hour there looking at all of the incredible products available. If you're interested in organic wholefoods, this is a pretty incredible place to live. Tomorrow I will drag myself out of bed to get to the farmers market with my mom. Yes, it's going to be raining. This is the Portland metropolitan area, after all.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention our car situation. We looked extensively at 7-seaters and decided to get a Toyota Sienna (our first ever minivan - Nate saw it and said, "That's not very mini," which was an astute observation). So we looked online at a few and decided to haul ourselves into a few used car dealerships. Awesome fun. Before we made it that far though, a woman at my mom's work told her that her parents are selling their minivan to buy a new one, and since we've just moved here, might we be interested? So we're picking up our new (to us) Toyota Sienna from her tomorrow. Gotta love it.

14 May 2010

Just a few more days in Australia

It's hard to believe we take off for Portland in 3 days. It doesn't seem real.

I have been spending a lot of time looking into things at that end. Homeschooling groups and activities for the kids, places to live, jobs. I was feeling a bit nervous about our social lives - we have spent the last 6 years settling into our current group of homeschooling friends, and it feels like we really belong there. Sure there's a lot on in Portland (at least the internet makes it look so), but what if they all think we're weirdos? What if we just don't fit in? What if the kids don't make new wonderful friends and regret moving from Sydney?

There are lots of homeschooling park days over the summer which is great. Worst case scenario, we spend some awesome days at some awesome parks and the kids play with lots of kids and no lasting friendships are formed - it would still be a lot of temporary fun. So I thought I'd look into some organised activities for the kids so that they could have interesting stuff to do and opportunities to meet people.

Here's one of those situations that could be looked at as a coincidence or serendipity or just that we have found the path we were meant to find, wherever you're coming from. I discovered Village Home Education Resource Center. Interesting because I am highly interested in the "village" concept - in fact, I cofounded a group in Sydney with "village" in the title! Village Home is a membership thing, and once you're members, loads of the classes and activities are free. And there are so many activities! Chess (Nate's current passion), knitting, arts, drama, foreign languages, lego robotics, math and English (if that's your thing, hehe), martial arts, hang-out groups, yoga, classes for adults. There is even a class to talk about and act out the Magic Treehouse series of books which the kids have been listening to on their iPod. The kids and I are so excited about this place. Some of the classes cost additional money, but it's cheaper if you volunteer - I'm hoping that means that Nick can do a sports class because I think he would love it (especially if it meant saving money!) - it seems like a lot of the instructors are homeschooling parents. And to top it all off, the main campus is in Beaverton, a block away from our favourite library and a block away from the farmers market we will go to every Saturday. It's amazing.

I'm also so excited about getting our own place. I miss having our own place. We are going to rent to start out with, and we're looking forward to a community pool, fitness room, playground and green spaces. I never really appreciated how wonderful apartment complexes in the Portland area are, but looking at them now is really exciting. Like a holiday unit.

I applied for a job the other day at a chiropractic/acupuncture clinic as a Clinical Assistant. It looks completely perfect for me and I'm hoping I hear back from them soon. I'm feeling like we had a date and I'm waiting the required amount of days until I call. I want to keep emailing, "Did you get my resume? Did you get my cover letter? Don't you want me??" But instead I'm waiting. We'll see what Monday brings.

Oh, one more funny thing. A delivery guy came to drop something off and ended up buying our car. Nick had put signs on it, but that was the extent of our advertising - we thought if it didn't sell we would just leave it here to use when we visit (not quite sure where we'd leave it), decided not to worry about it, and just let it work itself out. He's picking it up Monday evening.

01 May 2010

Ode to my MIL

That's "mother-in-law" if you don't know.

It came to my attention that in a recent post I mentioned looking forward to seeing my friends and family in America, and acknowledging that I was going to miss my friends here. I didn't, however, mention my family here, and that is a gross oversight.

As far as in-laws go, I came out pretty lucky. I am constantly hearing horror stories about in-laws, and mothers-in-law in particular. The problems that my friends mention are completely foreign to me. If Eli is wearing one of Maya's dresses (he loves Maya's dresses) and we're heading to Ann's house, she'll greet him with a genuine, "Don't you look beautiful. I love it!" When the kids ask if they can style her hair, there is no hesitation - out come the spray bottle and the comb and the elastic bands, and Bumma (as they call her, for "Big Mumma") is set up with an interesting hairstyle. She is always asking us when our next date is going to be, meaning when we're going to drop the kids off at her place and catch lunch and a movie; usually we'll return to a full, beautiful dinner (and we're sent home with the leftovers). She holds breastmilk in high esteem and if I were to tell her I was thinking of weaning Eli, she would reply, "Already?" She always respects our parenting wishes and treats our kids just like we do - like people. Regardless of how strange our parenting style might sometimes appear to outsiders, she would never make us feel like what we're doing is weird or silly, and she would always do what she thinks we would want her to do. That is incredibly valuable in any person in a child's life, but almost unheard of with mothers-in-law.

She would do absolutely anything for us, but even more important than that - she loves us, and it shows. Our kids absolutely adore her. So do we.

Thank you for being wonderful, Ann. I'm going to miss you heaps.