Friday, September 27, 2013

Studying the Reformation

Our children have been studying the Reformation during their history lessons. We all like to supplement our history with some videos (usually on Youtube), and of course their favourite show to watch is "Horrible Histories". It has a little bit on lots of different subjects, although it's often a little bit light on.

Today I found four great short videos on the Reformation that were easy to watch, fairly good on facts and explanations (with no derogatory statements about Christians) and with no "reenactment" scenes (which at this time tend to be rather violent). Under the title: Introduction to the Protestant Reformation, the four videos are: Setting the StageMartin LutherVarieties of Protestantism, and The Counter-Reformation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

History and Gardens

Tutankhamen, Pharaoh of Egypt
Viking ships and the Parthenon.
Our town holds a fantastic flower festival every spring. We are just a week and a half away from the opening,  but the public parks are all open and nearly ready.

What a joy it was to explore Laurel Bank park today and discover that the theme for this year is: A Long Time Ago...

It was a wonderful combination of two of my favourite things: History and Gardening!

The children raced around deciphering the pictures and telling the story from their memory of their history lessons. It was a delightful joy!!
Anubis, Ancient Egyptian god of the dead  

Solider's helmet...Mummy says Roman, Tiger says Greek.

When the Carnival starts there are little signs with  overhead pictures to tell you what each creation is...but at this stage we had to work it out for ourselves! Good thing our kids have a good grasp on their history.
The Trojan Horse and some happy Fandrich soldiers.

Family Politics

Preparing to vote.
There was an election recently...did you vote? Our children did!

Initially, they were a little unenthusiastic (weren't we all), but that was just because it was a Saturday, and they needed convincing that we could do school on a weekend.

With Daddy's help, I explained the two houses of parliament. And then we voted for favourite food in the House of Reps and meal time parties in the Senate.

Princess votes for our Senate.
Firstly the House Of Representatives, which we explained to be like the children in our house, because the House of Reps gets to make decisions and plans but they are reviewed by our second house, The Senate (also known as The House of Review). The Senate we likened to Mummy and Daddy. The children make plans, but all these plans have to be taken to Mummy and Daddy for review. If Mummy and Daddy agree that it is a good idea, then the new rule (or plan) is allowed to happen. If Mummy and Daddy don't agree, then we send the plan back with some ideas of how the children can change their plan so that we will agree.

And who gets to be Prime Minister? The leader of the biggest group (party) in the House Of Representatives is the Prime Minister.

In an effort to teach our young ones about preferences and how voting works, we made up some voting forms for each house, then carefully counted the votes.

All voting involves thought! The Man votes for our
House Of Representatives.
We have been told by friends and family that our children often talk politics to other children. Initially we wondered where they got this interest from, but we realise that we often talk to them about the important political issues of the day. Issues like "same sex marriage", refugees or the homeless. We don't impose our thoughts,  but allow them to think through each issue biblically. They come up with some really interesting ideas for how to solve some of these issues

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Wedding Veil Came From A Rubbish Bin!

My Dad was determined to wear his scottish
regalia. The Campbell scarf I am wearing
was intended to be worn by Mum, but was
a last minute decision. Dad had worn a kilt
to their wedding 30 years before.
A friend recently ran a wedding dress fashion parade, telling the love stories that go with the dress.

She asked me to share 500 words or is that possible!

The story of my dress starts with my veil and bodice. My Dad pulled it out of a rubbish bin one night in the early 1990's. It was really good quality veil and satin fabric in a bin outside a top dressmaker's shop in the centre of Sydney. There was no wedding in sight, but we couldn't pass up the bargain (my Dad is one of those who rummages a bin if he sees something he can recycle).

The love story started in 2001 at Australian Lutheran College in South Australia. I was that "late to start" student who got their own personal introduction. Christian noticed me.

We noticed each other after church my first Sunday in Adelaide. We chatted for some time. He offered me a ride home, but I had come with someone else, and felt I should go home with them. I joined the church choir, and then walked a few times in the hope of a ride home, I walked to church each Sunday for 8 months (under the guise of exercise)...sigh...he didn't think to offer again.

I noticed Christian in a class we had together. I occasionally left my books behind so that I could share with him. These, of course, were the few classes where he couldn't come because he was called in to work as a doctor.

In August he invited me to coffee after church, with my girlfriend and another sem student. He was then rude to my friend and "scrubbed" from the eligible list in my mind.

My father married us at Brighton Presbyterian
Church in Victoria. Our Lutheran pastor preached.
In late September I asked Christian a medical question. He said "That will be $50 thanks!" I told him it was only friendly advice and if he wanted I would buy him a coffee. He said "I'll take a rain check." And I thought I was off the hook.

In early October he rang my room and asked to cash in his "rain check". I was stuck. I didn't know how to say "no" to him. Technically, I owed him! The only time that was mutually agreeable was Friday night. We went to dinner at Kwik Sticks. I don't know what he thought, but he barely spoke all evening! When he walked me home I asked for a lift to the airport the next day.

He took me to the airport, but instead of a drop off, as I expected, he parked and walked me in. My plane was 2 HOURS late!!! He stayed!! We sat and I tried to get to know him. Conversation wasn't always easy, but it wasn't impossible. Still one line stuck in my head. He said:

"I'm nearly 30, and I've done nothing with my life!"
I thought: He's a doctor, studying theology in his "spare time"? This can only mean that he is looking for a wife, and he's looking right at me!!! Oh no! How do I get out of this!!???

The plane couldn't come fast enough!

A week or two after I came back he rang and asked if I would see a movie with him. I was stunned. Speechless! Without realising it I said yes, mostly because my brain froze and I couldn't come up with a reason to say no. What was wrong with me? It was a Friday night, we saw the least romantic movie I could come up with, which is always a good thing when you are on a date that you want to stay purely platonic.

We walked next door from the church to the rose garden for
afternoon tea, and photos.
We went for pizza afterwards in Glenelg, and then a quick walk up the jetty. Okay, this was not a good move. He started to hold my hand, and my brain again froze. How do I get out of this? So I detoured to show him the church my grandfather was minister, and firmly stuck my hands in my pockets!

We got back to his VW Golf. I just wanted to get home. But he made a move to kiss me before I got in the car. I did that "sink" move to get out of his embrace. I did like Christian, but suddenly this all freaked me out.

The next time I saw him was Sunday after church. I asked him up to the common room in my accommodation hall. There I laid it out. I remember the point I went over more than once was "we are not 'kindred spirits'". I was trying to say, and I'm sure I said it, I was NOT interested in a relationship. As I saw him out the door he asked: (in a slightly confused voice) "so can we still go out as friends?"

"Friends, yes! Nothing more."

I went back home to Mum and Dads in Melbourne for a weekend. We talked a lot about this Christian fellow. I explained that it was just too hard to be friends with him. Whilst I was away he rang and chatted to me for an hour and then invited me to Cirque du Soliel. I wanted to go, but with him? This sounded like a date! Sigh! This was an opportunity that I didn't want to pass up, and as my Melbourne friends said "who says it has to be more than friends?"
Long before I was wearing my Campbell
scarf, Christian decided to have a Campbell
hatband, as a nod to my family.

Cirque du Soliel was BRILLIANT! He held my hand. I decided I didn't mind that all too much. I also decided to be brutally honest with him. Maybe he might not be so interested. I told him that night that the girls in my dorm all laughed at the way he flicked his hair, and all thought he needed a good hair cut. I told him worse than that, but it doesn't bear publishing. He bore my criticism so beautifully. He was amazing.

But no, this couldn't go on. I didn't want to lead the poor guy on. He invited me to lunch one Sunday soon after. I was talking about my parents going to holiday in Tasmania after Christmas, and he suggested we should join them. I instantly put my foot down! "I am not THAT kind of girl!!!" He assured me that he knew I wasn't and he was thinking about separate rooms.

Tempted as I was, I told him that it just wasn't going to happen between us (again). After all, I said, I believed God wanted me to teach in Queensland. I remember his response clearly: "Well, I guess they need doctors in Queensland." I was horrified! What had I gotten myself into! He was a stalker!!

It came to a head one Sunday when he invited me to his home for lunch (actually his Dad's house). I decided I had to say "no" once and for all.

I arrived before him, and I distinctly remember seeing him as he came around to the front door from the garage. The sun shone on his hair so that he had one of those "ahh" halos that you see in adverts sometimes. He looked amazing! I mentally slapped my face and reminded myself of the task at hand.

Extra fun photos were taken at the beach houses on
Brighton Beach.
We went to the backyard and sat down, where I preceded to tell him "it's not you, it's me. No, there is nothing you can do to sort out my issues. I will not travel to Tasmania with you. We are not kindred spirits. It's not going to happen!" Poor guy. He was concerned, and clearly deeply upset. But he bore it beautifully.

Monday, next day...I took a good male friend over to speak to him (in a group), so as to "break the ice". Both my friend and I noted how chatty he was! Unusual.

Tuesday. I was behind in a few assignments, and borrowed a heap of heavy books from the library. Christian saw me, and questioned me over them as I stood holding said heavy books. Then he drew me inside the library where he added a few more heavy books to my pile that he said would help. No, he didn't help me carry them to my car. But that night, I noted to my girlfriend that I was living with that  "he's just like Mr. Darcy!" I was hooked. But how could I tell him I was wrong, when I had been so clear that there would be no relationship? That night, he dejectedly told his boss of Sunday, and she encouraged him to ask me out again, "just as friends"

He called me that night, and when he asked me to go to a movie with him "just as friends" I was stoked. I had a way to change my mind without much trouble.

All the girls dresses were different colours (a nod to
 Mum and Dad's wedding) and slightly different design.
Wednesday. We went home from choir together, I attempted to tell Christian that I was mistaken on the Sunday just past. But I wasn't sure that he got the message.

Thursday. After seeing a movie together we walked along Semaphore Beach. I finally got the courage to give him a kiss. I figured that since I had been so negative, I should jolly well make it clear I had changed my mind. When we got back to his car he gave me some wilted roses that he had picked from his garden, but was obviously too nervous to give to me.

Sunday. After watching Shrek where the main character says "I love you" right at the end, Christian told me that too. I told him that was "nice" but I wasn't prepared to say that just yet. Truth is, I somehow had this idea that if I told him I loved him he would ask me to marry him in the very next line, and I just felt that was too fast!

The day was overcast, and ready to rain...
until just before this photo!
Following Sunday, November 18th. I had decided I was well and truly in love with Christian, but that I was going to save it for Christmas. Funny! After a teary discussion, it was decided that I needed to sleep, in the process of which Christian made it clear that he intended to marry me. I couldn't help just happened! I said:

"Christian Alexander Fandrich, I love you!"

and his very next words were:

"Will you marry me?"

We were married five months later on April 5th 2002.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Birth of a Tiger

We had a lot of snow that year!
Waiting for our Tiger to arrive in 2003 felt like forever!! Tiger is our firstborn, our ground breaker in our parenting journey, and like most first time Mums I told a lot of people the "actual" due date, instead of my due month. And I showed BIG, so we all kind of expected that the due date would be more like the last date.

We had bought a 6 acre property a few months earlier, with a beautiful four bedroom, bullnose verandah home. Our dream home, in Cooma NSW. My Mum came to stay with us for the two weeks before Tiger was born. Since Tiger wasn't in a rush to arrive, we spent those two weeks raking leaves in the paddock and burning off, chopping down dead trees and thinning out the weedy ones. I distinctly remember sitting on the ground trying to saw through the base of a little tree (only as thick as my calf) with my gigantic belly in front of me, thoroughly getting in the way, making the task twice as hard as it should have been. One would have though that all the action should have got something going, but it didn't!

Mum and Christian even had time to put together our massive bookshelf. But finally it came to Sunday August 31st, and after church Mum said she had to go home for some Uni assessments. We were both so disappointed, but decided to leave the plane ticket buying till after our traditional Sunday afternoon nap.

I didn't nap well. I couldn't get comfortable. When I finally got up I had the worst back pain, and felt in a daze...until I saw my "show" a minute later. Finally I understood that the aches meant labour! Christian and Mum were ecstatic!

We sorted out plane flights, for Mum and Dad (he was anxious to meet the new little one), then, as you do, went to town for supplies and DVDs. I remember having some pretty huge contractions in the video store, and trying desperately to cover it up. Being so HUGE, people had been ushering me out of their stores for well over a month now with the words: "Don't have your baby here!" 
Such a gorgeous happy little Tiger!

We hired Lord Of The Rings (the first one), we thought we were in for a long night, so we might as well enjoy it as much as possible!

We tried lots of ways to help things along during labour. At midnight, with no progression other than significantly more pain, Mum sent us to bed to rest. At 2am, realising that I had 10minutes to drive to get into town, and that I needed help with the pain, we drove to our country hospital.

Further checks confirmed that labour had not "properly" started as I had not reached 4cm dilation. Baby seemed fine, and so we tried out gas. Disgusting stuff!! I didn't like how weird it made me feel. Tiger was keen to avoid detection on the handheld doppler, so I was strapped to a monitor. The nurses also confirmed that Tiger was posterior, however, I was already labouring leaning forward or on my knees, so there was nothing else to be done.

At 6am Christian's GP/Obs colleague and friend David was called in to check on us. By this stage I was resting on the bed, with Tiger's heart under constant monitoring. Due to my level of pain, which with constant contractions was not abating, we consented to an epidural. As they were prepping for this David asked for me to use the gas. I didn't want to, so Mum and Christian held the mask to my face as I moved my head from side to side. I don't think it offered pain relief, but I became so drowsy that I felt I was in and out of consciensness. When finally I was asked to sit on the edge of the bed I told them I was going to be sick. Then for the first time in over 10 years I vomited...all over the newly scrubbed nurse. For the first time in David's career the epidural was instant and perfect. The pain relief was wonderful, God, our Heavenly Father provided in an amazing way.

Soon after, Mum saw David as he left the room, and our usually happy, easy going doctor was worried.
He's a real thinker, our Tiger!

The nurses started prepping me for a caesarean. I asked them to wait for the doctor to talk to us about it. David came and told us that Tiger's heart rate had dropped during a contraction and whilst this was normal, his return to a normal heart rate had been exceedingly slow (over five minutes), I had merconium in the waters, I had not progressed in dilation at all even though the contractions were on top of each other. Christian and I had prayed that should intervention be necessary it would be really clear cut. David was worried that we might lose our baby if we didn't move fast.

Within half an hour we were in theatre, and David announced "it's a boy", Christian responded with: "His name is Enoch Matheson Fandrich." We both cried to see and hold our wonderful little boy. David then sung "Happy Birthday" to our little man.

We named our Tiger after Enoch in the Bible, the seventh from Adam, who walked with God, and didn't die, because God took him, and who (according to Jude) prophesied about the coming of Jesus. We continue to pray that our delightful young man continues to walk with God his Heavenly Father.