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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Where did that month go?!?

Hi family,

It feels like it's been ages since I wrote an update.. and after checking the last few posts, it's been more than a month! How did that happen?! And what have we done with ourselves since then?

The last couple of weekends have seen us in 'Spring Cleaning Mode' - we've taken a car-load to the tip and 5 bin-bags full of stuff to the op-shop. I've packed up half of my wardrobe (all of the things that don't fit me right now but that I want to keep) and Bruce emptied out at least half of the shelves in the store-room and moved around some of the furniture in the lounge. *phew* Clearly, this is all part of the 'get ready for baby' preparations and we know we've got lots still to do.

Speaking of preparations, for those of you who missed the photo on hangouts, here's the bumpdate. This was from last weekend when we were out looking at prams and cot-beds (note: it's still not warm enough for t-shirts yet.. not for longer than a few minutes anyway.) :-) This week I'm having a glucose test (fingers crossed for no gestational diabetes) and I think we're almost sorted for all of the 'big' purchases - car seat, pram & cot-bed. Now it's just all of the 'little' things we need to work out (and I don't even know what they all are!). And I realise that I need to get in-shape - I've got about three months to build up my strength and flexibility. Anyone got any good links/suggestions for programmes/stretches/etc?

Work has been keeping B & I busy, as always. We've both been travelling lately, with more to come over the next month.

Easter was a welcome break - we had a lovely quiet Easter at home and then headed up to Birmingham(ish) for Phil & Sarah's wedding. Phil and B have been mates for years, so B was a Best Man. Here's a pic taken by Gwen - I'm sure you'll agree that Bruce scrubs up pretty well. :-) The wedding was lovely - religious ceremony in a little church followed by reception at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. Good food, good company and we stayed at the hotel, so I didn't have to wait for B to be finished before I could go to bed. Yay!

After the wedding we headed even further north for a short-break with Vicki and Stephen. We stayed at a lovely little flat in Gatehouse of Fleet (Southern Scotland) and spent the time exploring castles and abbey ruins, spying on the local wildlife (we saw a seal in a field!), playing games whilst it rained, and enjoying wine, cheese and chocolate! I haven't looked through my "real" photos yet, so here are a few from my phone.

Caerlaverock Castle
Feeding the red kites
Sweetheart Abbey
The coming month is looking like it's as busy as the last - I've got two weekend conferences and at least two trips to North Wales! But we've also got two bank holidays in May (yay!) and I'm planning on taking some leave (not to go anywhere, but to sleep-in and relax a little). Next weekend is May Day and there's a local festival in Radyr and Morganstown - we might even see what that's all about.

What are the rest of you up to?

Thursday, 7 April 2016

2016 Seminar and Grading

We got the kids out of bed, into clothes and into the car early Saturday morning and were off to Melbourne for the 2016 Hokushin Victoria annual grading and seminar. What was originally planned as a single day of training turned into a two day fiesta of swordsmanship, but at the end of it I think everyone was exhausted and happy.

Saturday morning Shihan Tao flew in from Adelaide, and classes kicked off with him at 10am. It was a big group, so we split up teaching duties amoungst a few of us - I was looking after a couple of kids from Karate who had wanted to try it out. We broke for lunch (a fundraising BBQ organised by Melbourne) and then returned for a special Instructors session with Tao while one of the other students taught everybody else. This event was the main reason (for me) to take part in the seminar - it was 3 hours with just three other students and I working with Tao, so we learned a lot. We also Skyped the session to a couple of instructors in New Zealand.

Classes finished up at 3:45pm, followed by photos and then a short break before a big group dinner at 5:30. We headed back to a hotel pretty early on that evening in preparation for Sunday (and Tao flew back home to Adelaide).

Sunday morning (after a Maccas breakfast nearby where I saw 3 other students who were staying at the same hotel) classes kicked off at 9am. I really like this photo, because it shows how tired we all look pre-9am before getting focussed and back into it.

We trained for 3 hours, then broke for lunch (pizza this time) before returning at 1pm to continue training while students were called over one by one to grade. Around 3:30 everyone was getting pretty tired so we started to wind things up, and finished with certificate presentation, photos and the like. This photo was from Sunday - it was a massive class

After the training we also had a quick AGM for Hokushin Victoria, where I was reelected into the role of President. I even nominated someone else! I'd like to rotate people through the roles a bit more, but I'm happy to do another year. Oh, I was also awarded the title "Chief Instructor", I guess to put me above the "Senior Instructors", "Instructors" and "Assistant Instructors".. it's pretty much a meaningless title (kind of like Vic President) but it's nice of Sei Shihan to try to assign a hierarchy I suppose.

You can see all the photos here.

Monday we planned on having a day shopping in Melbourne, but Ossie was feeling nauseous and my legs were getting pretty tired (especially after carrying Lily) so we basically did a big loop through the mall and then headed home. I bought a massive TMNT hardcover comic so I'm not complaining ;)

While I was doing all this, of course, Cheryl and the kids had their own adventure. They'll have to tell you all about it - suffice to say it involves DINOSAURS and so is much more interesting than anything I did ;)