The past few days have been pretty successful and overall good. Since Steve has started work this week, On Tuesday morning I got to take a break to jog AND to go try a Pilates class at the Y. Thank goodness for the jog, because the Pilates class was pretty much like lying down and relaxing for an hour. But, it’s always nice to get away….. I love my kids, but we are together A LOT these days, and are now starting to be on our own together A LOT. 😉 Plus, I’m really breaking out on my driving—I now go to the nearest town and back (a 10 minute drive one way) on my own regularly and only get lost about once or twice each trip!
Steve shadowed another youth worker on Tuesday afternoon/evening and then left Wednesday morning for his first 24-hour shift. I think we are doing better than he is! He had really tough kids, no training, and no information; it’s all pretty disorganized; he has to sleep away from us and deal with a lack of food around that he would like, so he is pretty wiped out. We had a pretty good day, considering.
In the morning, we attended a playgroup. Now when we researched Australia and were trying to decide whether or not to move, we saw a study that ranked this country as the 3rd best place in the world to be a mother. Playgroup must be one of the reasons why. It is similar to a Mom’s group in the U.S., but is centralized, and much more organized and accessible. In Colorado, I found that I had to research Mom’s groups on my own online and then just hope for the best when joining one—people start their own; it could follow any format, etc. This is a proper organization and website, Playgroup Queensland, and there is a support system for all the groups. People can start their own and then be in this system that lets new people know where and when, and what goes on. Someone acts as a facilitator and each one is a little different. I can join the organization for $35 for the year and go daily if I wanted to, to any group that I can get to. There are several just within 15 minutes of me. Most people pick one to attend weekly. There are toy libraries that members can borrow from, and there are discounts included to family friendly area activities. I am very impressed with this setup.
I was supposed to go the one that Corinne goes to, the friend I met last week, whose house we went to for tea. However, long story short, I accidentally went to the wrong one. I met other very nice Moms and they boys had fun playing with other kids. They take turns bringing a Mom snack (morning tea) each week, and setting up and cleaning up the church hall where they meet. I met a really neat lady from Illinois—she has lived here 15 years with her Aussie husband and three kids. She was really great to talk to, about missing home, the better lifestyle they have found here, etc. I was pretty impressed with myself for going to an address I’d never been to before and finding it all ok (up until now, I had done ‘practice drives’ to the place I planned to go to, with Steve in the car—I know—I’m a wimp). We even ran errands afterward including picking up the boys’ citizenship papers at the post office. They are officially dual citizens. I just feel that is a great benefit to be able to give our children. Later that day, we also met some neighbours from down the street and their three kids, who are also lovely. They moved to this area a year ago from Victoria (another state here) and shared a lot of similar stories related to making a big move with children, not knowing anyone in the area, etc.
We met them this morning at story time at the library, and this was another program that I am thoroughly impressed with. Story time happened at our Lafayette library much more often—the boys could have gone twice a week if we wanted to, and at this library it’s twice a month. However, the programming was SO much better. There were two very talented employees who acted out stories, used puppets, interacted with the kids, got them to sing and dance and then did a craft with them. The woman leading it took Drew under her wing because he asked for help with his craft (didn’t want anything to do with me, wanted the teacher!), and thereby found out where he’d moved from and was very kind and understanding about our experience and how we were doing.
By the way, Australia pays mothers who stay home with their kids, as long as they are not independently billionaires or something. So, I’m starting to make some cash for my efforts here! Maybe that will give me more patience with the little angels…….yeah, right.
Also today we got the boys on the public health system, thanks to their citizenship, so now I can make Drew an appointment with a specialist; we can get our “own” doctor, etc. That will help! We also got more of my immigration forms completed (apparently I am much more suspect than my children, and so have a lot more hoops to jump through), and hope to send my application in soon. I can get on the system a few weeks after I apply, and should also be allowed to work then. We also made some headway in getting our incoming shipment paid for (again—you pay on both ends apparently!) and cleared through customs. We may have our stuff sometime next week.
The highlight for me of these past couple days has been finally getting to Skype with both my youngest brother and my parents. Watching my parents and the boys chat made my eyes tear up (seems to happen pretty often lately, eh?)—-it was like they were all in the room together playing. It was good and bad, because seeing them made me miss them more, but seeing them and the boys was just beautiful. My Dad as a grandfather continues to amaze me and warm my heart (let’s face it—it was a pretty known fact that my Mom would be an amazingly loving and attentive grandmother), and watching him ‘hop’ a bunny across the computer screen to entertain Zach just cracked me up!