September has a festive air around here. Tons of birthdays, particularly among family and close friends. Fathers' Day. First taste of spring in the air. Busy busy busy exciting fun. Love it.
This time three years ago, I was loving the massive belly I was carrying around with our precious first baby inside. Two years ago, we were thinking of having another. One year ago, I was very pregnant again, and very ready to meet our little boy. And this year? Excited again. Anticipating again. Waiting again.
No, not another baby. Not at this stage. Sorry, cluckers. Different news this time.
Fathers' Day. We bought Liam a new wallet, and had the great idea of making puff paint signs saying "We love you, Daddy!", taking a photo of the kids holding them, and slipping the photo into the wallet. Cute, right?
TRY taking a photo of two young children, holding signs in such a way that they can be read, and smiling at the camera. Or at least looking at the camera, and not eating the signs. Go on, try it.
It might look something like this (these are about one third of the photos I took):
Ain't gonna lie - I bribed Ellie with chocolate.
Needless to say, it didn't work. And yes, that's drool on Owen's sign. Maybe he heard about the chocolate.
I do love Ellie's expression in this one. Lift your game, Owen. Honestly:
But then the silly faces came out, and Owen moved on (in search of that chocolate, maybe), so I figured it was probably time to give up. (Okay, so I may have thrown my phone at a couch at this point.)
So finally, we went with this:
You can read the signs, Ellie's (kind of) smiling, Owen's upright and his sign isn't too wet... Winner.
-- Brief aside to mention: my children play together. Like friendies. She plays him music:
And when little boy is having a saddy moment in the library, big sister whips out a baby book and reads it to him, teacher-style.
"Look, Owie, that doggy's digging. And this one has fluffy ears. FEEL IT, Owen!! There. Now, don't be sad."
Love it. --
Owen helped me make pancakes for Liam on Sunday morning:
And by "helped me make", I mean "ate a biscuit and cleared the alphabet magnets from the freezer door while I made". (Sorry it's upside down. I dunno.)
Daddy loved his sleep-in, his chocolates, his hand-made card with a picture of "a pink tree", his puff paintings, and his wallet - complete with photo. Phew.
So, there's an aunty birthday this week (happy 14th, Leah!), and then the next thing we know... this little boy will be one whole year old.
Also, this little girl will be three.
Spring dress? Check. Helmet? Check. Wellies? Check. Bamboo stick? Check. Complete lack of privacy while in the toilet? Check.
Yesterday morning we went toy browsing to scope out some potential gift ideas for these kidlets. I think the horsie might be a winner.
Baby Owen has a question.
Wow. Three and one. When I look at my girl, with her long limbs and teenage attitude and grownup chatter and crazy sense of humour, I am amazed.
To my sensitive, cautious, imaginative, clever, funny, adaptable, sweet sweet girl: Happy upcoming birthday. I'm so proud of you.
And to my sweet, emotional, affectionate, cheerful, brave, dynamic, lovely lovely boy: Happy upcoming birthday. It's a joy getting to know you.
Here's to one year and three years of adventures. And a big adventure to come...
Ballarat. Come January-ish, we're off.
Here's some pictures of yesterday's beach trip while I talk. Write. Whatever.
(Tiny beach toes kill me.)
So, yeah, we're off soon.
Five months might sound like a long time, but I've been saying "five months" to myself since we decided. It's September now. Four months.
Four months doesn't sound like a long time at all.
We've got a lot of work to do between now and then. This house is awesome for us, but if I was someone planning to rent it from us I'd be querying the broken drainpipe, the weedy gutter, the overgrown garden, the grubby carpet...
So, we'll fix some stuff.
We are excited, though.
So many people we'll miss, and I know the absence of these two little darlins will be strongly felt around here.
But, Ballarat's not so far.
So, come visit.
Why are we going, you ask? Why are we uprooting our young family and packing up our home of just two years and moving away from our loved ones?
Because. Because a lot of things.
Because, maybe a little bit because, as a child one of us moved across the world, and as a teenager another of us moved across the state, and those moves brought us both a lot of good - maybe that takes some of the "why not" out of it.
And because if we go now, and give it a year, we'll either be settled there or back here in time for Ellie starting kindy.
And because there are plenty of reasons why not, and maybe if we say we'll do this later, then later we'll find ourselves more settled in our ways and feel those reasons more strongly and never do it.
And most of all, because of the opportunity we see before us. Here's an opportunity for the people of Ballarat to hear the Truth, to know the Lord as we do. God doesn't need us to do his work - if we don't, he'll bring it to pass some other way. But what an opportunity for us to be involved in it!
It's going to be hard work. It's going to be stressful. It's going to be a big change, for us and for the kids. We're going to miss our people here more than I can find words to say.
Butt. Thanks Owen, nice photobomb. Or photobum.
But. Oh, the learning we'll do. And the growing. And the rejoicing, as we see what the Lord has put in place for us.
"Mummy! This is my beach name! And it says E. Two-Ls. Umm, I. E! It... says... ELLIE!!!!!"
Every challenge will remind us of the importance of prayer; every victory, the importance of gratitude. Face an obstacle, see a victory. We will pull together, and we will trust God, and we will run the race that is set before us.
And he will be with us, and watch over the big things and the small things.
We won't have to find a way to make this work. We just have to find the faith to let this work. It's all figured out.
So, sure, maybe we're crazy. Liam's leaving a fantastic job with a great company (shout-out to my father-in-law) for who-knows-what. We're renting out our house, which we feel like we only just moved into. We've got two small kids, who already keep us plenty busy.
Won't be tasting that again in a hurry.
On paper, we're crazy.
Get that disgusting thing off my foot.
But we've always known that.
This is our chance to broaden our horizons, to stretch our stubby little untried wings.
We've been given so much. Blessed beyond what we could ever have asked or thought.
We love it here. Truly. (And we'll miss the beach So. Bad.)
But, for a while at least, we'll find a new home.
Beach yoga with Baby O. Upward Dog.
So, to those who will miss us and our little folk dearly: Sorry. But not sorry. Sorry to be going from, but ever-so excited to be going to.
We'll be thinking of you. And we'll stay in touch. And of course there will be regular blog-stylee updates. And you must all visit us, all the time. It's a less-than-eight hour drive, and there's a jumping pillow in Horsham on the way. JUMPING PILLOW.
And meanwhile, we've got a long way to go before we're ready. Keep us in your prayers, and the little fledgling Ballarat fellowship, and the people of Ballarat who are yet to hear what we have to tell.
We've got a long way to go. But we'll get there. And oh, the adventures we'll have; the tales we'll have to tell...
Ellie was saying "Come on, Mummy! You can do it!!"
So, there you go. Stay tuned for further updates.
These photos are not at the beach. These photos are of life trying to tell me, "See what happens when you leave the beach?" A simple walk for ice cream - which started with such optimism and joy...
...turns into a flood of girl-tears over a favourite pebble dropped in the road (I said I wouldn't, but I caved and retrieved the stinkin' thing), more girl-tears over leaving the playground because it's dinnertime, and some boy-tears over not being outside any more because sister needed the toilet.
Seriously. Way to erase the relaxation of an afternoon on the beach, stupid walk.
But today has dawned differently. Yesterday's vibe was "It's spring! And it's beautiful!! Let's get out there!!!" Today, on the other hand, is all "It's spring! And it's beautiful!! Let's stay home and celebrate it with open windows and grubby knees and music in the kitchen!!!"
And so, we did.
Baby Owen loves to dance. Baby Owen loves to spin. Until he doesn't.
Happy Spring, people! Happy September. Here's to sunshine and birthday parties and little people growing up. There's adventure in the air.
Breathe it in.