Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Photos Back in Australia

Evie and Ben peacefully sleeping

Evie's first day at school

Evie and Godmother Josique playing on the climbing frame

Dad with Evie and Ben at the beach

First time at the fun fair

Evie hunting for Easter Eggs

Ben hunting for Easter Eggs

Showing off a fancy balloon made by a clever clown

Ben getting good at climbing

Fun on a bush walk

Evie with 2 good friends from when they were babies - Akira and Louise

Having fun at another Birthday party

Back in Australia

Settling into Australia has been pretty easy. We managed to find a house to rent in Gisborne (a country town about an hour from central Melbourne). We have been here nearly 6 months now and really enjoying it. It is a beautiful place with pretty mountain views. It has been especially spectacular during Autumn as the leaves have been changing colour with red, yellow and brown trees looking amazing.

The town has a good number of shops including 3 supermarkets and most importantly, good cafes with decent coffee. There is also a fantastic big playground that the children love and lots of other parklands and smaller playgrounds. There is also a good swimming pool where Evie and Ben are having lessons and progressing well. Ben has just started swimming on his own a bit, without floaties. He loves it. Evie is learning to swim free style (front crawl) doing the proper breathing.

Evie has settled in really well to her new school. Her reading is really good and her work is getting neater. She is doing lots of craft stuff at home and has written two “books”. There are 18 children in her class (12 girls 6 boys), so good to have such a small class. Evie is making lots of friends, having play dates and is going to lots of parties. For most of the first term she spent most play times sitting on the steps of her classrooms, mainly as she didn’t want to get lost getting back to her classroom after break. She is comfortable with the school grounds now and ventures further a field. Evie started learning ballet last term and is enjoying. She is doing well, though of course her technique needs some work!! We like to emphasise that lightness of foot is needed!!!

The school has assembly every Monday and they award a Student of the week to about 6 students. Evie received this back in February for being helpful in class. How proud!! They all sing the national anthem there as well and Ben loves it. He is even learning the lyrics!!! He’ll know it better than me soon!

Ben is having a great life. He is going to 4 playgroups a week, swimming lessons on Monday, swimming with Evie on Wednesday and Grandparents on Thursday. Steve takes him to his Monday playgroup which is great for them both to spend some time together out and about. He loves his playgroups and has begun to make friends.

Ben is all toilet trained now - horray. Even at night. Got there back in March.

Evie and Ben are enjoying their bikes and really improving. Evie is getting better at riding without stabalisers, but still not quite there. Ben is doing well on his little bike and is getting good at steering and peddling. He even found a new trick the other day – no hands!!!

We have kept weekends free of activities, but often things turn up. Evie has 2 parties one Saturday, one of which Ben was invited to too. What a great life they have. When we have nothing on at weekends we sometimes go back to our old hunting grounds in St Kilda, Melbourne, where we can stay at Steve’s business partner’s apartment free of charge, as he just uses it as an office and never stays overnight. That has been just great, so good to get back to the beach and catch up with old friends.

Otherwise, weekends are good for exploring the local area. We have been on day trips few local towns – Woodend, Kynton, Malmsbury, Romsey, Riddles Creek and also to Mount Macedon where we went on a great walk on Mothers Day. We do find it really cold so have to rug up warm – Gisborne in winter is a real contrast to Lao!

Steve is mainly working from home, but sometimes goes to St Kilda for a couple of days to work with Rob, his business partner. It is great having Steve at home so much. He has got to know a few people here. He has one friend Dave who lives here who he has known for a long time. Steve went on a weekend away to a music festival in Apollo Bay in March with the boys and had a great music weekend. Most of the guys in the house he was staying at played music so lots of jamming sessions as well as enjoying the music of the festival. They even got glorious weather, so just perfect.

Both Steve and Kathy have been doing courses here. Steve is enjoying his Monday yoga course and Kathy did some bookkeeping courses. Kathy enjoyed the courses and learnt a lot. Hoping to get some part time work in bookkeeping when Ben starts attending regular kinda when he turns three.

Well, that’s about all the news. We are enjoying being back in Oz and feel it was the right decision. It has been great spending time with family and friends, the thing we missed being away.