Thursday, December 22, 2011

EFY Counsellor Trainings

Thought those of you who've lost me to EFY over recent months might enjoy seeing this photo montage of our three big full-day counsellor trainings :)

xo Tammy

Friday, December 2, 2011

I have no life right now...

THAT'S why I haven't been blogging.
Or emailing friends.
Or checking other people's blogs.
Or replying to friend's emails.
Or sleeping....

Very happy to be doing the stuff I'm so busy with at the moment - it's important - but am really excited to be done with it all on January 14th too. It's okay to feel that way, right?! :)

xo Tammy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dear Lauren...

I dedicate this new post to you.


xo Tammy

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wonderful - Day 9: We thank Thee Oh God for a prophet

Today Mum and I drove home from Uncle Dougs house. It took several hours, but I really enjoyed it. The company was wonderful (I so much enjoy spending time with Mum, talking about anything and everything - she's sort of my rock here on earth, my mum), and the weather was beautiful, and the scenery for most of the trip was just soo beautiful (we loved whatever river it was that the road followed along for much of the way. Bridges, farmlands, sun dancing on the water, tall gum tree forests. Mum and I kept pointing things out to each other). And for most of the drive - since it was Sunday, and since in Australia it was conference weekend - we listened to General Conference. I love General Conference, and I always look forward to it! And this October conference was no exception. I loved Elder Scott's Talk on the Power of Scriptures, and Sister Thompson's talk on Personal Revelation and Testimony; Presiden't Packers talk, Counsel to Youth was excellent, and Elder Cook's talk It's Better to Look Up has become a favourite (I've decided to adopt his 'Look up, Step up, Cheer up' as my motto. I'm pretty good at the 'step up' bit, but often fall short with the other two, so I appreciated that counsel). I loved Elder Ballard's talk The Importance of a Name, and if someone doesnt' stop me soon, I'll probably go on to list every talk, lol!

My favourite though, really, was President Monson's talk in the Sunday morning Session, Stand in Holy Places. What a wonderful message he gave, and with such love and wisdom. I tell you, there is no doubt in my mind that he is a prophet of God. And there is no doubt in my mind that I am incredibly blessed to live in a time where I can here prophets speak so reguarly, and with such inspired and diving messages. It all rests with me now, to take their messages and find was to apply them and build on them. I have been so blessed to hear and see so many of our apostles and prophets over the years (sometimes in person, and often via satelite) and I count each and every one of these experiences as wonderful highlights of the last 30 years.

Did you have a favourite talk from conference?!!

xo Tammy

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wonderful - Day 8: heritage

Tonight's post comes from the iPhone, so it will be short! Lol :) but I've spent the afternoon with uncle Doug, and it has been such a pleasure to hear and learn more about his life. I've especially enjoyed hearing about his mother (my great grandmother) Kathleen Mary Fitzgerald (how's that for a good solid Irish name? Lol). She had a very difficult life in many ways, and with a lot of hardship, but she sounds like a very kind and gentle woman with a sense if fun. Doug says she was very popular, because she was an accomplished pianist with a beautiful singing voice.

One story was about a time she was riding the train from Adelaide to Darwin, and for some reason (he can't remember if the train broke down or if it was flooded up ahead), but either way, the train (and everyone on it) was stuck there in the middle of Australia, for two days! Anyway, it was soon discovered that she could play and sing, AND it turned out that there was a piano in one of the luggage cars, so a bunch of fellows on the train unloaded the piano out onto the ground right there by the railway track and the train (in the middle of no where!), and as Doug puts it, she 'practically played for two days and two nights straight, while everyone enjoyed a non-stop singalong :)

She played everything, from all the great wartime classics (like 'it's a long way to tipararee'), well loved 'pop songs' of the era, like 'somewhere over the rainbow' and of course all the old Irish songs (like 'take me home Kathleen').

How wonderful that they had her and a piano onboard to keep the all so cheerful and entertained. And how wonderful for me to be part of such a wonderful family, with such a lovely heritage. Hearing stories like these aren't just fun because they're great stories, but they're also fun because they help me realize that I'm part of a chain of wonderful people. I start to understand more about who I am, and why I am the way I am. And it makes me want to live the kind of life that future generations could draw strength from.

So that's pretty cool, really ;)

xo Tammy

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wonderful - Day 7: Today, today!

Tonight's post is coming to you from Ballina. That's right, Ballina. Turns out that mum's weekend suddenly freed up yesterday, and since we've been planning to take a road trip to see (great)Uncle Doug for almost a year now, she proposed an impromptu weekend trip. With so much going on, I unfortunately couldn't take any time off work, but at 5:30pm this afternoon, I shut the computer, threw some things in an overnight bag and was out the door by 5:45pm to head over and pick up mum. (We left Dad trying not to look tooo excited about the prospect of watching his football DVDs on the couch all night :)

It's an 8 hour drive to Kempsey in NSW where Doug and Ella live, so we did 2 hours tonight (hence the stop in Ballina), then we'll do six hours tomorrow morning and spend the afternoon/evening and Sunday morning with Doug and Ella (we're hoping to transcribe a bunch of the fabulous life stories that Doug has bursting out of his head), and then we'll drive home Sunday afternoon/evening. It's a lot of driving! But Dad kindly burned all of the conference sessions onto CD for us (old school, I know, but I can't figure out how to get it onto my iphone), and we're really looking forward to listening to them.

So here's what's wonderful about my life for today's post: How amazing is it that we get to live in a time and place where we can MAKE a round trip journey like this in just a weekend? I know people moan about crime, and disease and global warming. But I love living 'now' (even if I do kind of yearn for the music and fashions of the 30s and 40s, which were awesome. Though with the depresssion and the world war, I guess it's not really a fair trade. But I digress....)

I'm grateful for cars, airconditioning, medicines and doctors who know more than medievel doctors did (I read a book recently about life in London in the 1,400s - and if I'd gotten sick back then, I think I'd rather have died in my freezing little mud hut than risk the 'skill' of a doctor with very strange notions!). I'm grateful for computures, and the internet, and google and wikipedia. I love Emails and blogs. I love airoplains and movies and phones, and music that can be enjoyed even when it's not being performed live. I love that my iphone always knows exactly where I am, and that the flashing blue dot can direct me to wherever I need to go (you rock, iphone!). I think it's wonderful that we books are everywhere, and that in today's world you can instantly know about things that are happening on the other side of the world. I love that within a day or two I could be on the otherside of the world!

You know, if I had no financial committments and a bundle of money sitting the bank...

But still!

xo Tammy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wonderful - Day 6: "I haven't lost my mind; I have a tape back-up somewhere!"

I actually don't know exactly what I'll blog about tonight... Oh dear. I should probably have figured this out before I sat down to write! Today was exhausting, and I'm absolutely brain-dead. I was at work, thinking, typing, talking, phoning, calculating, directing, and emailing at a frenetic warp-speed pace from 6:30am this morning until 9:00pm this evening, and I'm totally and completely spent. At least all of todays' huge deadlines have been met, which (if I do say so myself) is pretty impressive really! If you'd all just known how much there was to do! Mind you, tomorrow comes with it's own huge set of deadlines. So I'm thinking of just being in denial and refusing to go to bed tonight so that it won't be tomorrow. And on the upside, I'm so behind on EFY stuff at the moment, so staying up all night might work really well - think of the things I could get done!

Anyway, back to the task at hand: today is NOT going to be the day you hear about how 'wonderful' by job is! lol :)

On the way home, I was trying to think about something wonderful to blog about, but I really couldn't come up with anything! There's plenty of wonderful things IN my life, I just couldn't focus on anything long enough to decide on something.

Finally I thought - "Grrr! I can't even think! My brain is all used up!" Which led me to think "hmmm... My brain. I'm grateful I have a good brain that usually works.... maybe I'll blog about that... it's ironic though, to blog about having a good brain when you can't think straight... yeah, but you can't think straight because you used it all up today... yeah, but lucky you had the kind of brain that was able to direct those three jobs in post production and write those 4 big proposals today! That was a mammoth effort (go me!) and you're lucky your brain was up to it!... Yeah, but now it's all deflated! Wait! Am I have a conversation with myself again?! So sad!"

When I sat down to write this post, I thought "maybe I'll just find a funny quote about brains, and then that can be my post and I won't have to think of anything to write!' (which I thought was a bit of a brainwave). Of course then I started coming across quotes about insanity, and they sounded more fitting really. Here are some of my favourites:

“Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most”
-Mark Twain

Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked. ~Oliver W. Holmes, Sr

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you. ~Rita Mae Brown

Might we not say to the confused voices which sometimes arise from the depths of our being: "Ladies, be so kind as to speak only four at a time?" ~Madame Swetchine

Classic, right?! Also loved the one I put in title of this post... which is extra funny if you were at work with me today! Sadly, none of you were. (new low: Not only am I talking to myself, but now I'm also having in-jokes with myself!)

Anyway! In summary: I love that I have a brain that usually works. I love to use it to think about things, and write about things, and read and talk about things. And I'm grateful that it's only this useless when the occassional crazy-busy-five-projects-due-at-once day mixes with the not-so-occassional hormonally-blamed-lack-of-abilty-to-think-straight day!

I'm really glad those days don't collide too often :)

xo Tammy

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wonderful - Day 5: Aunty Tammy

Can't even begin to tell you how much I love these four (almost five) wonderful wonderful children. Being an Aunty is one of the absolute joys of my life :)

“Only an Aunt can give hugs like a mother, can keep secrets like a sister, and share love like a friend.”
~ Spanish Proverb

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wonderful - Day 4: At home or abroad

I've spent 9 years of my life living overseas. Four of them were spent in Papua New Guinea as a little girl, and five were spent in the United States as a BYU student. I probably have more vivid memories of my time in the USA than of my time in PNG (it was so long ago now!), but I have treasured memories from both periods and I'm so grateful for those experiences. They taught me a lot and gave me a greater understanding of the world we live in. I'm very aware, for example, that I live a life of unimaginable luxury compared to so many other people on earth. And having seen first hand as a little girl what everyday life is like in a third world country, I've always felt a deep since of gratitude for what I have and a desire to share where I can.

I've also loved the traveling I've been so lucky to do, and the wonderful things I've seen. But - and this will sound cliched - no matter how far or how wide I roam, I still love to call Australia home. I'm more grateful than I can possibly express to have been born here. They call it the lucky country - and I'd have to agree. The older I get, the more I start to realize just how much it means to me to be an Aussie.

I really love the Dorothea Mackeller poem 'My Country', it feels familiar, and as I read it I can almost smell, taste, hear and feel the landscapes. It stirs my blood and leaves me standing just a little taller :) These are a couple of my favourite stanzas:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

xo Tammy

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wonderful - Day 3: If it's between laughing and crying, you might as well laugh

In about September/October of grade eleven, we had the semi-formal. When you're IN grade eleven, that's a really big deal. It's a lot like the formal (aka Prom) that you have in grade 12, but just a tiny bit less fancy: basically, your parents drive you, rather then hiring limos to drive you. Otherwise it's pretty much the same as the formal.

I remember being excited about the semi (unlike my formal - but that's another story!), and mum sewed me the most beautiful outfit. It was a long, full, gorgeous black skirt, and a really pretty midnight blue, fitted silk top. And depending where you were standing in the light and how you moved, the colours in the top all seemed to change. I really liked it :)

I'm pretty sure I was sewn into it on the night though - because we were running really late! (I'll interject here quickly and assure Mum that I know it was my fault we were running so late, since I never made decisions about what I wanted until the very last minute, lol!). I seem to remember that my date was actually in the living room waiting, and mum and I were rushing frantically around in her bathroom to finish my hair and makeup. I had really long (gorgeous, full, dark, not-full-of-grey) hair back then, and we'd decided to wear it out and curly with a dimonti slide I think. Once that was done, it was just my makeup that needed doing.

I don't remember clearly exactly how what happened next happened, but one minute we were shaking the liquid foundation bottle (with a finger over the top), and the next minute, I inexplicably had liquid foundation ALL OVER ME! All over my hair, sitting perfectly over both shoulders, and all over the front of my beautiful midnight blue top. In my memory, at that moment, time just hung for a moment, as we both just stared in horror at my reflection in the mirror. Our eyes widened, our eyebrows rose, and our jaws dropped.

And then, mum suddenly started laughing. And I don't just mean a giggle. It was one of those 'I have never laughed so hard in my life' kind of laughs. I started shreiking and wailing and panicking and getting into hysterics (naturally!), and that just seemed to make mum laugh even harder. I actually remember mum dropping to the floor of the bathroom and sitting there, holding her sides as she laughed! And everytime she'd look up at me, a whole new round of laughter would start up.

Of course in spite of myself, I started laughing a little bit too (not too much though - I mean, I was covered in foundation!). And as Mum finally finished laughing and stood up to 'fix things', I remember her explaining to me (as I demanded to know WHAT could possibly be so funny!) that sometimes things just go so terribly wrong that there's really nothing you can do but laugh (she might not have used those exact words, but that's the gist of what I remember).

Dad was duly summoned and dispatched with a message for my date that he'd better make himself comfortable. The top had to come off, be hand washed and then 'hair drier' dried, and my hair had to be washed out as best as we could in the sink and then re-dried and curled. It took a while, but there was no other way around it.

I remember having a good time with mum that night, and that in the end, it all worked out just fine (my date may not have the same memory, but he's not the one writing this blog).

I have often thought of that night over the last several years - especially when things go terribly wrong! I'm really grateful that laughter was mum's first response. I often remember it when I find my eyes widening, my eyebrows rising, and my jaw dropping, and it's a lesson that has served me well on more occassions than I can count.

Because when it's between laughing and crying, you might as well laugh. In any event, you'll have a better time cleaning up a mess! :)

xo Tammy

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wonderful - Day 2: Testimony

I read the Book of Mormon - all by myself - when I was seven years old. I suspect it may have been Mum who first planted the idea in my head, but I eagerly took the challenge on: I wanted to read the Book of Mormon before I turned eight so that I could know for myself that the church was true, and have a strong testimony before I was baptized.

What kind of kid does that?! I'm in awe, sometimes, of the strength I seem to have been born with. I certainly don't have as much of that strength these days, but as I child, I had oodles of it. By the time I was 10, I think I'd filled 8 or 9 journals (with mostly unintersting tidbits about what I'd had for breakfast, and what friends I'd played with), but I wrote without missing a day for several years because I'd learned about the Prophet Wilford Woodruff and his personal committment to recording his day in his journal before going to bed each night. I can clearly remember, around the age of 11 or 12, really carefully examining my character and my faults and setting little goals to help myself improve: "I will be kind to everyone for 30 days" or "I will do 3 acts of service every day for the next 3 weeks", writing them down on cards and ticking of my progress each day. I even set (and accomplished) a goal to read the Old and New Testiments and the Doctrine and Covenants before my 12th birthday. I loved to learn and discuss the gospel with my (patient and wonderful) parents, and I had so many amazing experiences with prayer as a little girl - I knew I had a Heavenly Father, and that He was there ready to talk, everytime I bowed my head to discuss something with Him.

Looking back, it seems a bit of a wonder that I wasn't translated! lol :)

It's hard sometimes, remembering the innocent, committed, humble and completely obedient heart that I had back then - because I'm much more crumpled,spritually slow, proud and disobedient now! But life has it's ups and downs, and I've come to understand and appreciate that. In some ways I'm worse than I was, and in other ways, I'm much better because I have greater levels of the understanding and experience that comes with 'growing up'.

Today was Fast and Testimony Sunday, and I was looking forward all morning to sacrament meeting. I was feeling hungery for the strength that comes as we listen to other people's testimonies, and it really was a wonderful meeting. Two testimonies in particular stood out: the first was a fellow who said that he never feels that he 'knows' the things that other people talk about 'knowing' in their testimonies. But he believed lots of things, and he worked hard at that becuase it made him happy, and brought him peace. I know that believing is easier for some people than it is for others, and I really admired his 'decision to believe' even though it didn't seem to be a naturally easy thing for him to do. A second fellow spoke about the fact that he has always known that God is his Father, that Jesus Christ is his Saviour, and that the church is true. He said he'd had his ups and downs, and that he often is saddened by his seeming lack of ability to actually 'do' what he 'knows', but that he nonetheless has never been able to bury, or deny, or shake off that absolute knowledge.

I realize that I'm a lot like that second fellow. I spend a lot of time feeling frustrated and angry with myself over my millions of shortcomings, because I 'know' better! But the positive flipside of that, is just how gloriously wonderful it is to 'know' better at all! There are so many wonderful spiritual gifts that Heavenly Father gives his children, and I have taken for granted (for most of my life) the gift of Testimony that I was blessed with. I remember in Seminary deciding to 'pray to know' if the Book of Mormon was true. I spent quite a bit of time at it, and was hoping and waiting for a real 'lightening bolt' experience, before I realized that the Spirit was there (in my minds eye he was actually rolling his eyes at me), trying to point out that I already absolutely knew that it was true, so the question was a tad ridiculous!

All through the stalwart righteousness of my childhood and youth, and then through the spiritually-turbulent(and often less-than-righteous) years of my twenties, I've known that I have have a Father in Heaven, and that he loves me. It's an absolute in my mind, and forms the core, really, of my understanding of the world and the way things work. I've tried to imagine what it would be like not to know that, but I can't really, because I can't even imagine a world where that might not be the case.

Others who may not have the gift of testimony will undoubtably have natural abilities in other areas that I simply don't have, and we all have the opportunity to develop whatever spiritual gifts we put our mind to, but as I look back over the last 30 years, and the things that have made my life 'wonderful', I think my testimony has to be at the very top of that list.

There is a peace and a sense of place and context to my life that I take for granted because I've never known otherwise. But it's been such a blessing to also feel that safety net hanging just under everything I do; knowning that Heavenly Father has it all under control (if I'll just listen and actually 'do' from time to time!)

Pretty wonderful, huh?!

xo Tammy

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Suddenly Thirty

You know that Jennifer Garner movie, where she's at her 13th birthday party one minute, but then she wakes up the next morning to find that she's suddenly 30 years old?! Well no one has recently sprinkled magic dust all over me or anything, but I still kind of feel like maybe that's what's happened to me (Mark Ruffalo has yet to show up, but don't worry, I'm keeping an eye out for him). I swear it was only yesterday that I was 20, yet suddenly here I am, face to face with my 30th birthday. Today's the 1st of October, and this is the month that will force me (pretty unwillingly) into the next decade of my life.

I have been dreading this all year. I knew it was coming (duh!), and I've been having multiple preparatory 'break-downs' over the impending doom that is the 31st of October. Practise makes perfect, and so I'm getting really good at having 'breakdowns'. They leave me feeling depressed on a good day, and panicked and terrified on the bad days (which sounds overly dramatic, but is actually kind of true, lol!). I should clarify that it's actually not the 'getting older' part of this whole thing that bothers me (I don't really mind that part at all), it's the 'reaching my 30th birthday and still not being married with kids' that is leaving me in such a mess. I don't really talk about it much, and I don't like to, because there really isn't much point, but it seems impossible to personally consider myself as anything but a complete and utter failure, not because of what others may or may not think (I'm not too bothered about that), but just because of what I think about it all. I only had one real goal in life, and that was it! So it does feel like I've failed at life. (I'm sure lots of you would say wonderful things to try and make me feel better, and swear that I'm not a failure - which is why I love you all so much :)).

But anyway, that's not the point of this post, that was just to give you some context for this next part: I've been trying to find a different way to look at this birthday thing, and a week or two ago an idea occured to me that I've finally decided to adopt. I have 31 days till 'D-Day', and I'd really (really) like to be feeling a little more positive about things. And as I've tried to be positive, I've been trying to focus more on all of the wonderful things that have happened to me over these 30 years, or the wonderful things I've learnt, or the people I've met, or the experiences I've had. Because in my head and heart, I can't deny that my life so far (depsite it's disapointments and hard times) has been absolutely wonderful. I have so much more than so many people in this world could ever hope to have, and I certianly have more than I could ever hope to deserve. So as a tiny show of gratitude to my Heavenly Father, I'd really like to try and focus on everything I've been blessed with - because the list is so long.

Each day this month, I'm going to post about something wondeful from my life's experiences so far. I'm hesitant to make that kind of commitment because I'm extremely time-poor at the moment (so some of the posts might be really short, lol!), but I actually think it's too important not to do. All this dread and negative focus is having such a bad effect on me, and I don't want to get all bitter just because I'm in my thirties - lol! I'm also really hoping that if I start to feel all grateful and positive, than I'll stop feeling so completely frozen by panic, and will be able to start breathing normally again :)

Please feel free to read along and comment (or even to add 'wonderful' things I'm missing, lol!), and hopefully you'll notice a bit of a more positive, happy, less-tear-inclined Tammy by the end of the month :)

xoxo Tammy

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Anyone else excited for General Conference?

Pulled this from Brecken's blog... it's from the Relief Societ Broadcast... :)

xo Tammy

Monday, September 12, 2011

A weekend in Review... (via the twins)

Okay, so you may have noticed that I pretty much never write on my blog anymore! I was thinking about that today (and feeling guilty), and I realized that this might be because I've replaced any blog writting time I have with 'letters to the twins on their mission' writing time.

Anyway, here's a 'copy-and-paste' of a long letter I sent the twins recently. Hopefully this longwinded type-as-I-thought-without-proofreading letter will be of interest to those of you who have been asking me to write on my blog again, lol!


Morning Elders!

(I say 'morning' because where I am, it is early in the morning. Well, mum would probably say it was practically the afternoon and I'd wasted half of the day in bed, but I've been very busy this week and was kind of tired this morning. Alarm went off at 6:30, and I changed it to 7:30 so I could sleep a little longer :) I've given myself until 8am to write to my fabuous missionary brothers, and then I'm going to jump in the shower and try to be ready by 9am when Jonny is coming over to help me with putting together some IKEA furniture (can't believe you guys up and went to Japan when I was very likely going to need help with IKEA furniture during the 2 years you went! lol!). Anyway, the news of the week is that I no longer live in a rat/smelling/fly-plague house. Awwwwweeeeesssssoooommmmmeeeee! I know in my last letter I probably spent half my email describing all the things I didn't like about the new house (I was feeling kind of pessimistic about the whole thing, truth be told), BUT it turns out that I really kind of love the new house. Yes, the floor coverings are still pretty bad, and it IS an old house with light brown walls, BUT, it's pretty awesome too. It's so big, and it's exciting to have a change and organize everything again (exhausting, but exciting). You guys will be able to move every time you have transfers - that'll be fun! And just think, you won't even have to spend 2 weeks arguing with your old real estate agents and looking for a new rental property and signing a new lease, etc etc. Which is WAY more convenient than the non-mission way of moving house. Trust me!

So my week: Well. Monday and Tuesday, I decided to be in denial and just living life as normal. My roommates were all packing their rooms etc., but I liked my old room and didn't want to spend two days with boxes everywhere, so I just kind of did what I normally do... Wednesday I obviously got up REALLY early and started frantically packing stuff (it was the EKKA holiday and our day to move). My genius invention of this particularly move is that I bought a 300m role of glad-wrap and wrapped EVERYTHING up. People mocked me at first, but by the end of the day, everyone was saying things like 'huh. I hadn't seen the glad-wrap method before, but I'll definitely use it next time' (they called it a 'method' and everything - totally made my genius invention legit!). It basically meant that I didn't have to put as much stuff in boxes. My laundry basket for example (which has an open top): I just glad wrapped it, and put it with everything to be loaded in the truck. My blue drawers? Just pulled each draw out, put glad wrap around it, put it back in the chest, and then glad wrapped the entire chest so the pain wouldn't chip if things got knocked (James mocked me about that one, but go ahead James. And please notice that NONE of my furniture got chipped, though others weren't so lucky). My desk? Well, the draw wouldn't come out (James says IKEA designed it that way, I think maybe James and Oliver just built it that way), so I just glad wrapped the whole desk so the draw stayed in, and the cupboards didn't open. You guys are lucky to be related to someone as smart as me, obviously.

I did have to rush over to work at 8:30am to let a freelance editor into the building, but that only took about half an hour. At 10am, James and Jonny came over (with wives and children in tow) to help me, and a whole bunch of YSA started turning up too. I had worried the day before that we wouldn't have enough help, and so had asked the girls to invite as many YSA guys as possible. Well, we had about 15 turn up, so we had MORE than enough help. Mum and Dad would have liked to help too of course, but Dad had to work and Mum wasn't well, but that was okay because like I said, we had HEAPS of help. The plan was for everyone to help us move everything downstairs by noon, when the guy whose Dad owns a massive bread truck would turn up to help us move everything. But we pretty much had everything downstairs by 11am, so then everyone just stood around and waiting until 12:30pm when the truck turned up. (okay, so the packing in my room ran a little late since I hadn't started till that morning. But Abby did a fabulous job of putting garbage bags around my clothes and tying the coat hangers together with twine, and everyone was such a help that I was finished WAY before the truck arrived. (Our family is pretty fabulous!).

They ended up having to make two loads with the moving (aka bread) truck, partly because the truck was half full of bread for Thursday's delivery, and Brad didn't want to stack stuff too high in case it fell onto the bread (I of course, didn't want them to stack things too high in case it fell, full stop). It was a massive job for the guys to then get everything upstairs into the house, because there's a staircase at the front side of the house (outside) leading up to the big front veranda and then the front door. At one point, they put a rug over the railing on the veranda at the front of the house (above the driveway), and would pass big pieces of furniture up and over the railing. It was pretty scary to watch (very scary), but much easier. Bookcases and tables and mattresses all went up into the house that way! Jonny and the rest of the YSA were all very helpful of course, and then there was James, who is pretty much a machine with this kind of stuff. The day before, when I'd been worried that we wouldn't have much help and because Jonny's knee is still a bit bad (he fractured a bone in it a while back), I didn't know if there'd be anyone to help James move all the furniture. He was all 'I don't need anyone else, I can just do it myself if I have to'
Tammy - um, no, you'll need someone else to help with the other end of heavy furniture.
James - I won't.
Tammy - You will.
James - Nah, Tammy (laughing), I'll be fine.
Tammy - okay, what about the fridge? huh?!
James - 2 door? or 1 door?
Tammy - 1 door....
James - Yeah, I'll be fine. I've done that before.
Tammy - .... You'll carry our fridge down the stairs to the truck, all by yourself.
James - yeah (and then he gave me a look like I was the weird one)
Tammy - *** Collapsing into laughter ***
MORAL OF THE STORY - James really does think he's the man. But then when it comes to moving stuff, I have to admit that he kind of is. Unfortunately lots of people arrived to help, and I got busy, so I never got to challenge him with the whole 'walk down the stairs with the fridge' thing... maybe next move?!

We finished getting everything into the new house by about 3pm, and everyone left by about 4pm. And then I spent until about 2am unpacking and setting up my room (which is ALMOST done now).

Then Thursday morning, Trefyn came with me to IKEA because I've been saving up to buy a bunch of living room furniture. I got a 3 seater lounge with a chaise on one side, a 2 seater lounge, a footstool/seat for my room and a bedside table for my room. A side table for the lounge room, 2 bar stools for the kitchen counter, a chair for the piano, and a big entertainment unit (2 bookcases on either side - the same type I have in my bedroom) with a wide TV desk in the middle, and a bridging shelf above connecting the 2 books. I had decided to get it delivered for $100 since It was going to be way too hard to get that much stuff home and up the stairs again, lol! Anyway, Tref went all through IKEA with me while we picked the codes and then we got down to the big warehouse area, and I had my list. And because she had a few other places to go and because it had taken way longer than we'd expected, I said 'why don't you go. I'll be fine from here, I'm just going to take this list up to the checkout and then head over to the delivery counter so they can organize to get that list of stuff over to me'. Unfortunately, it turned out (when I went to the counter), that you actually have to (and this is how they make it a place with cheap-ish furniture apparently) pickup up all your furniture off the shelves and onto trolleys, pay for it, and wheel it over to the delivery counter ALL BY YOURSELF! I had figured if you were getting it delivered, they just did that bit FOR you! hahaha! My list was HUGE, and now I had no help!! Luckily, a (very) kind IKEA worker lady took great pity on me. She grabbed another trolley, we split up the list, and we spent 25 minutes pulling everything off the shelf (if James is the man when it comes to moving, this girl was TOTALLY the man when it comes to the IKEA warehouse). She pulled off way more stuff in the time it took me to grab the few light things she'd give me. And then she spent another 10 minutes reorganizing the trolleys so every fit onto two trolleys (which was kind of a miracle). AND then she helped me by pushing one of the trolleys over to the checkout. From there, I only had to get it across the floor to the delivery counter (right next to the 'large items' pickup area, which is where I had to pick up the 3 seater lounge with chaise), on a third trolley. And then I was able to wash my hands of all that stuff and head out of there! I tell you, I was so exhausted by then that I bought an $1 IKEA hotdog and sat down for 5 minutes to eat it :)

By then it was 12:30pm, and I decided to stop by Mum's because she's had a bit of a flu. And it was so nice to catch up with mum that I ended up staying there until about 4:20pm, when I had to race back down to work to catch up with that editor briefly. And then I was hope by about 6pm. I spent an hour cleaning the kitchen (there were still boxes everywhere and it was driving me crazy). And by 7pm everyone was home. So one of them made spaghetti while the rest of us started on the furniture. We managed (and here you will be OH so proud of me, though truth be told it was only because Tref owns a tool box and seemed to know what she was doing) to put together pretty much everything except the entertainment unit. I even put together one of the bar stools all by myself, and it had a back on it and everything. IKEA instructions don't have any words, by the way, just pictures. How weird is that?! lol! (another way to save money no doubt). We were finally done by about midnight.

So then on Friday (as you can tell, I took Thursday and Friday off work), I got up early and went over to the old place with Charlene to clean it ready to hand our keys in. We thought it would only take a couple of hours because we kept a pretty clean house. But it ended up taking AGES because it turns out that was way more to do than expected. lol! We got out of there after about 5 hours, but the place was sparkling. We had to pay a big deposit when we moved in, and if they don't see any problems we get it all back (which will be over a thousand dollars for me, which I'm looking forward to!), so think that should all be fine to come back to us (fingers crossed!). After that, I got a subway on the way back to the new place (the asian guy at the KP subway has learnt my name now, and he loves to us it. "Hi Tammy. How are you? Which bread would you like Tammy? How are Ben and Oliver, Tammy?'). And then I came home and sat and did nothing for almost a full hour while I ate a very slow lunch. I was pretty exhausted! Then Ashleigh came home and the two of us did the new house inspection (with a form, where you write down anything that's wrong with the house so that when you move out they don't think you did it), which took over an hour because the house is so big and old :) And then after THAT, Charlene came home and the three of us tackled the downstairs area so that it's all nicely organized. It's a gym down there, and it's a really huge and very cool space. Tref had a giant exercise mat so we put that together and then all the equipment is around the edges. It's very exciting to have a big indoor gym now. I can't wait to start on Monday :)

Then at 5pm I quickly ran upstairs, changed, and drove over to Jonny and Jessima's so I could babysit while they went to their stake Talent Night. Jenna had been promised that if she was good she could watch Shreck when I came over, so we did. It was so nice just to sit on the couch with Jordan on one side and Jenna on the other. They were both so cute and cuddlly (Jordan in particularly was very cuddly - he just snuggled up next to me under the blanket and watched tv for a while. I left Jordan stay up about 20minutes past his bedtime because he was sitting so quietly and was yawning, so I let him get good and tired so that when I took him up to bed he just went straight to bed (it totally worked - he didn't cry at all!) He's so cute. I put him in the cot, then I put one stuffed animal under one arm, one stuffed animal under the other, snuggle him under the covers, say his prayers, turn on his music, and close the door.

Jenna and I watched the rest of the movie, and then I said 'okay, tme for bed now' and she burst into loud tears "I need my mummy! I need my mummy!" Poor thing did NOT want me at all :) So I told her if we went upstairs and went to the toilet, and said our prayers and picked a story, THEN we could call mummy to say goodnight, and then I'd read her a story and she'd got to sleep. So that reduced the tears to sniffles and we went upstairs. Funny side note - when I walked into her room there were books all over the floor and I said "Look at this mess!" to which Jenna replied with a bit of outrage "This is not a mess! These are my BOOKS!" which warmed my heart just a little. Lol! When we called mummy I apologized for bothering her, but explained the situation and then handed Jenna the mobile (Jenna was sitting anxiously in her bed holding out her hand for the phone), and as soon as she got mummy on the line she burst into tears again "I need you here mummy, I need you here!" but Jessima just told her to read a story with Tammy and that they would be home soon and would come in and giver her a kiss. So we read the story (little mermaid) and then went to put her to bed, and of course, we couldn't find her doggy. So then we spent 15 minutes searching the WHOLE HOUSE, and couldn't find it anywhere. The tears were not far off, and it turned out that monkey wouldn't do even though I explained that he was probably "lonely on the floor there by himself" (I hadn't really expected that to work, but had to give it a try of course, lol!). And then finally I suggested (since I was exhausted anyway and was planning to sleep on the couch), that she sleep with me instead of with Doggy. Turns out that was acceptably. So we turned off the light and went to sleep. I probably fell asleep before she did, and then I woke up to Jonny and Jessima laughing at the end of the bed :) Good times!

This morning is Saturday, and my last day of 'not working' so It's a busy one again. I got up late (7:30am), have been writing to you guys for an hour, and Jonny's going to come over at 9am so we can put together the entertainment centre (with his awesome nail gun!) and then we'll go and buy a TV (the other thing I've been saving for), and once that's all set up I'll try and add finishing touches to the house and my room, and get everything finished and DONE in the house. And then tonight I'm going back to a girls desert night at Jessima's. It was going to be mum, Abby and me, but it's Uncle Mal's 60's birthday, so Mum and Dad are going to that, and it will just be Abby and I over with Jessima. Should be a fun night. I'm sure Abby and Jessima will both cook something awesome. I'm planning to bring Baskin and Robbins ice cream since I won't have time to cook today :)

Phew! Moving has been exhausting! You probably didn't need to know EVERY detail of my move, but once I start typing I'm like a weird possessed animal... lol!

Okay, I'd really better go now. Jonny will be here any minute and I"m still in my PJs :) I love you both so much, and am so proud of you. (I believe so much in what you're doing that I don't even MIND that I had to put up IKEA furniture and move house without the two of you!). Have a great week, and remember that you have a whole family of people back here in Australia who pray and fast for you all the time.

xoxoxox Tammy

Monday, August 15, 2011

Abandon Ship!

Okay, for several different reasons (including the rats in the roof, the smells, the dead rat (or worlds largest hairball shaped EXACTLY like a rat... but we're pretty sure it was a dead rat) I pulled out of my shower drain the other week, the worlds dodgiest real estate agents, and the plague of horse flies that are coming down through the vents from the roof where they're obviously feeding on whatever the rats left behind (we've all become expert horse-fly-killing-machines!)).... We have decided not to renew our lease.

We're moving on Wednesday!

It's an old house with granny carpet and cork floors (which I don't like at all), so it's not nearly as nice as the current one. But it's got great views and awesome decks and verandas, it's 4 times the size, it's a little cheaper per person, and it (fingers crossed) doesn't have any rats!

*please, everyone, knock on wood*

Watch this space for photos, and wish us luck!

xo Tammy

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Veto System

Okay, so I read this post on Abby's blog 2 minutes ago, and it made me laugh out loud. She totally caught the essence of the night out we had on Wednesday. Anyway, since it's the sort of post I would have written about our system if I wasn't too busy (and let's face it, lazy) to write on my blog, I thought it was appropriate for re-posting here.

So I'm copying and pasting.

(I apologize to family members who've already read it on Abby's blog.... lol!)


Last night I went out with Tammy for dinner. We're both vaguely pathetic when it comes to making decisions. This is okay though, because we have a system.

As we approached the piazza this is kind of how our conversation went last night (and most nights we hang out):

Abby: I veto the pub place.
Tammy: Okay I veto McDonalds
Abby: I veto the Mexican place - Cactus Jacks
Tammy: Huh, how come?
Abby: I don't feel like it.
Tammy: You always veto that place, interesting....I veto Sizzler - I hate that place!
Abby: I don't hate it...I veto...Addiction Cafe.
Tammy: How is that still open, does anyone eat there?!
Abby: I went there with friends once...of course I ate before I went...I bet James'd love it, he likes Asian food...
Tammy: Okay I veto the food court. The entire food court.
Abby: It's not even open!
Tammy: Well I veto it!
Abby: That's dumb
Tammy: I veto the foodbar at the bowling alley
Abby: I veto both chicken places.
Tammy: You can't veto two at once! Wait one of them's not a chicken place - I think it's Italian!
Abby: But we love Italian! How come we've never eaten there??
Tammy: I don't know - let's go walk past it. But I am not committing!
Abby: No way we're eating there on the night of our first walk-by - what if we don't like it!
Tammy: I veto Zarraffas.
Abby: Too late - you already did
Tammy: No I didn't!
Abby: Yes, but when you vetoed the foodcourt and it didn't count, I decided to transfer your veto to Zarraffas.
Tammy: But I transfered it to the bowling alley. Your veto.
Abby: Well, we just have Hog's Breath, the Coffee Club and La Porchetta left - I veto Hogs Breath.
Tammy: How come you don't like Hogs Breath? We never eat there!
Abby: I do like it, I love it when I'm pregnant! I just don't feel like it at the moment.
Tammy: Okay, I veto La Porchetta
Abby: Coffee Club it is!
Tammy: Thankgoodness for the veto system!
Abby: I know - we could never make a decision before it!

Later, at the Coffee Club...

Abby: I veto the breakfast page...and the drinks page...and the kids club/dessert page.
Tammy: I veto the alcoholic beverages
Abby: I veto...the pastas, and the two steaks in the mains menu... and do we need an entree?
Tammy: No
Abby: Okay, vetoing the entrees...and the salads section
Tammy: Wait! What if I want a salad?! Are you vetoing for me too??
Abby: You can do your own vetoing if you want..??
Tammy: Okay...I veto...
etc. etc.

And that's how we roll.


Thanks Abby - you rock!
xo Tammy

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Worst news EVER

We don't have a possum.

We have "groups of rats" living in the roof.

I can't even begin to tell you how grossed out I am. The pest man assures us it's not because we live in a dirty house (*sob*) especially since it's a brand new house and we've only lived here for 4 months. Apparently there's a plague of rats since the floods in January - but you only know about it if they've moved into your house.

Again, I'm so grossed out. The pest guy wanted to kill them for us yesterday, but he couldn't get onto the real estate agents to confirm that he could go ahead (*insert MASSIVE eyeroll here*), so I'll be emailing/calling/begging all day today that they call him and approve it, because I can't sleep another night in this house with 'groups of rats' keeping me up all night. *so so so gross*.

Brett and Michelle at work have taken great delight in our 'investation' though, and haven't stopped sending me rat-related you-tube links. Just between you and me, this one's my favourite...

Wish us luck!
xo Tammy

PS. Have I mentioned how TOTALLY grossed out we are?! No one leaves any doors or windows open AT ALL any more....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ew ew ew ew ew

Sharon from Pete's Possum and Pest Removal thinks it sounds like we have a possum and rats in the roof!


xo Tammy

Monday, June 6, 2011

Potential victory on the horizon...


SUBJECT LINE: Possums in the Roof - Worried about Damage

Hi xxxx,

Just wanted to drop you a quick email. I’m one of the tenants living at xxxx, East Brisbane.

We’ve got at least one very active possum living in the roof, and from all of the noise and banging, we suspect that they might be causing some significant damage? I spoke to the RSPCA, and they indicated that Possums can cause a lot of problems gnawing through the wiring, defecating, ripping up installation, etc. So we thought we’d better let you know before it got too bad. He’s been up there for a couple of weeks now. I left a message with your office last week, but no one called back, so I thought I’d better email.

Kind regards,

Tammy Munro



Good Morning Tammy,

Thank you for your email, sorry I was not in the office Thursday or Friday however I will speak to the owner today about having the possum problem attended to and be in touch.

Kind regards,



Apparently real estate agents respond if the property is in actual danger. Isn't that fabulous?!

Take THAT Mr(or Mrs) possum! Who's the boss now?

xo Tammy


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Possum (not so) Magic

Several weeks ago, we started hearing possums running up and down our roof at night. And they were loud. Surprisingly heavy too. Thundering across the roof really quickly, they sounding more like wild cats or buffalo than possums.

Then they started to fight a lot in the evenings. Horrible loud snarling and grunting sounds. Charlene and I have our bedrooms on the side of the house near all the trees, and that’s where they seemed to fight. It was surprisingly scary to listen to, and I’m now pretty convinced that possums fighting is a base sound that audio engineers use when they’re building the soundtracks for horror movies – you know the scene, when the girl-who-should-have-known-better goes running through the bush in the middle of the night with an unseen beast chasing after her? Yep. That’s the sound possum make when they’re fighting. And since the girl in the movies usually ends up dead, I started sleeping with my window closed. Anyway, the fights would last for about 2 or 3 minutes, and end with a shriek, a second delay, and then the thud of one of them hitting the ground 2 stories below. And the fights would go on for hours.

(Actually, someone told us that what we were actually hearing was possums mating, not fighting. But I’ve decided to ignore them and continue with the fighting scenario, which it’s less disturbing).

Anyway, all of that was a tad frightening (and annoying, since I like to have my windows open), but at least it didn’t ruin my life or anything. But last week, the possum found a way into the roof. At first it was “huh? Did you hear that?” and “wow. Sounds like the possum’s in the roof! How funny!” and even “feels like we’ve got people living in an apartment above us with that possum up there”.

But then he decided to mark out what I can only assume is a nest of some sort, right above my bedroom - a little to the right of my desk, to be more specific – and went on to have some kind of psychotic breakdown, since I’m pretty sure he’s as obsessive compulsive as the pewee birds at mum and dad’s place. And though I’m glad the doesn’t seem to be fighting (or mating) up there (for which I am unspeakably grateful) he’s still incredibly loud. And energizer-bunny crazy.

Possums tap. Did you know that? Loudly and constantly. They also scratch on the ceiling for hours at a time, leaving you to stare upwards with a resigned ‘any-moment-now-I’ll-see-a-long-clawed-paw-just-coming-through-the-ceiling’ kind of inevitability. Annoying. Distracting. A tad unnerving. But doable. Especially since I’m hardly ever home anyway.

But last night? Well, last night, the possum won.

1am – woke all confused and couldn’t figure out where the tapping was coming from. Finally woke up enough to realize and stood by my desk clapping loudly for a good few minutes before he stopped and I stumbled back to bed.

2am – Woke up again. This time tried clapping and turning the bathroom light on and off over and over again before he stopped and I stumbled back to bed.

3am – Woke up again. Clapped. Sang. Talked loudly. Turned bathroom light on and off many times.... stumbled back to bed.

4am – Woke up to find myself standing on my chair, outside the bathroom door, banging my drink bottle on the ceiling over and over again. Have no memory of how I got there.

5am – Figured it was probably lucky I don’t own a shotgun, or the roof would have been littered with massive Elma-Fudd-worthy holes.

By 6am, I’d decided to declare war.

I went to work, and I called the RSPCA. Now I was concerned that their suggestions would be a little too humane for the horrible creature in the roof (I was thinking along the lines of poisonous gas or a large bonfire), but I figured they’d be a good place to start. The chirpy animal loving girl on the other end of the phone sounded like she thought the possum was cute (clearly she’s never met one) and suggested we get a pest guy “they do cost money though”, or that we find the hole and patch it up one night when the possum’s left the roof (even though I explained that ours never leaves the roof).

I’ve since perused the website of several pest controllers who specialize in being possum-remover-extraordinaires, and while they tend to have very cool Steve Irwin style outfits and awesome action photos, they do indeed cost money. And I don’t think we’ll have much luck with the ‘finding and fixing the hole myself’ thing, since it’s a two story house and I haven’t forgotten the time I tried to climb a wheelie bin to access the second floor of Emily’s house in Washington last year...

So I did some more research and learned that possums are really bad in the roof because they ruin your installation and chew through wires. So I thought the real estate guys that manage the house we rent would be interested enough in this ‘horrific damage’ to fix the problem for me. They never reply to any of our emails or enquiries, but since this possum is likely ruining their house (“I’m just worried about the instillation and the mess he’s making up there and thought you’d want to know at once”) I thought they might be interested.

The receptionist sounded chirpy and interested and was going to get the agent to call me straight back. But that was 10 hours ago so though I’ll continue to try, he’s obviously going to ignore us about this just like he does with everything else.... *heavy sigh*

So for my first day of war, I’ve been pretty ineffective. And now it’s night time again. And he’s still up there! What is he even doing up there? I mean, they’re nocturnal! He’s supposed to be sleeping (quietly, I’d assume) in the roof during the day, and then going outside to hunt and eat and 'fight' on top of the roof at night. I don’t understand why he won't just leave me alone!

I’m going to head home now, and stare at the man-hole I discovered yesterday on the ceiling next to the main bathroom.... If I had a ladder, and a rabbies-proof-suit, and a shotgun, and a poisonous gas canister, and a gas mask, and if I wasn’t quite so scared that he'd kill me – I’d be tempted to stick my head up through the man-hole and into the roof, and show that possum who’s boss.

Because clearly, right now that darn possum is the boss.

And I just *yawn* I just want to get *yawn* some sleep tonight. That’s all...
*heavy sigh*

xo Tammy

Monday, May 2, 2011

Things I'm planning to write about...

... When I have some time.

1) My new house
2) My day in Sydney with Bethy
3) The twins going on their missions
4) Easter
5) My thoughts on being single
6) New career options (basically things that will make me a lot of money, but
without requiring a lot of time.... it's currently an unfortunately short list)
7) Andre Reui concert in Adelaide with Grandma
8) Keith Urban (and Lady Antebellum) concert with Abby
9) Cousins dinner
10) Mothers day outing with Mum
11) October Holiday with Jenny
12) An essay on QLD as the ultimate holiday destination (in an attempt to lure
overseas friends here)
13) Baby girl Easthope #2

Some of those things haven't even happened yet. Can you believe how ahead of the game I am in coming up with blog post topics?! lol!

Okay, so odds are you'll never hear about all of them *sad sigh*. Maybe let me know what topics interest you the most, and I'll write for my audience... if indeed, it turns out that I have one.... lol!

xo Tammy

Monday, April 18, 2011

"I love the rain...

... When it pitter-patters on my window pane
It makes the gardens grow
And the rivers flow
It makes everything green again
That's why I like the rain"

You're inside my head Don Spencer... everytime it rains, you're inside my head. So I ask the question: Do I love the rain because of you? Or do you just give voice to a love that was always destined to be? :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We played the Tennis Ball game in FHE last night...

... For almost an hour and a half!

I hate that game!

Like, really hate that game!

But, it was kind of funny that it took us that long. And we did laugh. A lot.

In between the crying. And the attempts at quitting. And the beating Oliver up when he dropped the hundredeth ball at the 54 minute mark.

(We really did kind of beat him up... He ran for shelter in the entry way and we all followed him and tickled him with a fury. Except Dad. Who was too tired because we'd been playing the game for so long. So he stayed where he was and tried to emotionally deal with the fact that we'd have to start all over again! But Dad did assure us that he was harrassing Oliver in spirit)

... LUCKILY I finally put everyone out of their misery and caught the hundredeth ball again. Excellently thrown by Oliver, might I add :)

I reckon it'll be three or four months before Dad let's mum pick the game again though...


xo Tammy