Almost There

Well, we are almost at the end of 2019. What a frantically busy year it has been for both of us. Kyah finally has some time now to slow down a bit and get her breath back ready for next year.

Just after the last post, we went  to a girlfriend’s (Hannah’s) 18th birthday party. That was loads of fun. A few of us are now of the age where we really have no concern for what people think of us having fun, enjoying ourselves. So Kyah ended up having a great laugh with a friend of ours, Steve, at the rest of us enjoying ourselves. We all had a great time; perhaps for different reasons but that’s OK.

We had one homestay girl leave and another homestay arrive. This one was a male school teacher from Japan. He was really interesting. We had lots of great discussions about life in Japan. He was a real pleasure to have stay with us. He only stayed in Australia for ten days, so it was a very short stay, but also a busy time. The other homestay girl we had staying with us, finally moved out towards the end of November. She was also an absolute pleasure to have stay with us. I think that might be it for homestays for the rest of the year.

It is kind of nice having just Kyah and I in the house for the time being. We are looking at the possibility of having someone stay with us permanently next year, so that will be nice.  We are discussing it with him at the moment. In the meantime, we are going through all our stuff we have managed to accumulate and are culling things we do not need. The house is a mess, but soon enough it should be a more sparse, tidy home.

How is this for decoration on a coffee? I thought it was pretty cool, so decided to take a photo of it. I have never seen swans on coffee before and found that pretty amazing so thought I should show off someone else’s handiwork. The swirls are a result of me stirring the coffee. Even this was quite amazing – a different pattern was created. I found that quite fascinating and thought I should share.

                     

Kyah went to the Powerhouse in Brisbane and saw QB perform Bespoke. Apparently it was really good. I had a ticket but I somehow managed to double book myself for that night. I gave my ticket to a girlfriend and I caught up with an old school friend. We both had lovely evenings. It is very unusual for me to overlook something like that, but there’s been heaps going on. That’s my excuse and I will stick to it!

We had a girls night one night. Who needs a reason to get together? We don’t. Just a group of girls decided to get together and catch up over food and great conversation. We all had a great time. It is not often we take the time out of our busy schedules, but it is essential sometimes to have some down time with lovely friends, just so we can get up and go the next day, week, month. We both find the enjoyment and good memories of these times far outweighs the tiredness we may experience from an hour less sleep. It is worth it. We also try to schedule these things for Kyah on weekends, so she has a chance to catch up on any lost sleep immediately. It is not good for her to be living her busy life sleep deprived.

Weekdays have been busy for Kyah with finalising all school assessments, doing her diploma as well as her dance commitments. She is ploughing through her business diploma; it has proven to be more time consuming than we thought, in that receiving decent feedback from drafts is taking a lot longer than anticipated or expected. So Kyah currently has  four modules on the go, waiting for final approval of each and then checking them off. It will be really nice when it is fully completed. We anticipate she should be totally finished by April next year.

One weekend in November we had a very quiet, very low-key weekend. Did not go anywhere. We both needed a rest and I wanted Kyah to be fully rested and prepared for her ballet exams that following week. It was such a nice restful time. Both of us benefited from it. It is so unusual for us to have literally nothing on over a weekend. It was just wonderful. I should try to make sure there is more of them next year.

Kyah continues to see her physiotherapist regularly for prehab. Jo is great. She was a dancer in a past career, so she can very much relate to Kyah and her niggles and knows exactly what she needs to work on. It also helps that Jo and I think along the same lines, so I am very confident with what she recommends for Kyah, which is fantastic. The best thing is that Kyah listens to Jo! Prehab is essential; the prevention of injuries is so much the preferred to rehabilitation. So far what we are doing seems to be working quite well. Kyah has not had an injury this year. We will continue doing this over the Christmas break as well as next year. If we are finding it is not as effective as it has been this year, we will reassess and implement new plans.

Kyah had her dance exams  over four days in mid November. She felt quite confident that she did a good job. We got her results and she is back in QB for next year, Praise The Lord. They have asked her, and two others, to repeat this year. We are actually really pleased about this for Kyah. The year she has just completed, and is going to repeat, is focused more on technique, so she will have a chance to really master her technique, get a great foundation of technique, get a lot stronger and a lot more confident, especially with pas de deux dance. It is also really nice that the other two people that have been asked to repeat she gets on very well with, so we are looking forward to next year.

Kyah’s dad came up to stay with her while I went to Sydney for a weekend. I am sure she thoroughly enjoyed her dad’s company instead of mine for a change.

QB allow family and friends to watch classes on a specific day each semester. I was fortunate enough I could rearrange clients and sit to watch all the classes Kyah was in. It is always nice to see how they practice and how they interact with each other. I do love watching Kyah dance and I can see she just loves dancing. We are still believing it is part of His big plan for her, and we walk by faith.

Kyah has been attending Pilates sessions regularly. Getting stronger and more aware of what she needs to work on. In the holidays she plans to do Pilates at least four times each week, plus other stuff in our gym to stay strong, and prepared for next year. Once they start back it is straight into it. There is a level of expectation that each dancer stay strong, fit and flexible over the break so Kyah plans to do just that.

We did a very quick trip down to the Gold Coast. Kyah needed to see the orthodontist for a check up. While we were down there, we stopped in at a number of dance stores and fitness places and showed them my books I have written. So far they have proven to be very successful and very much wanted, which is great. I hope it continues. Kyah doesn’t like the dance book because it features her as the model for most exercises. Oh well, too bad! She was the best, most convenient option for a model I had. If any of you are interested in looking at the books, here is the link http://www.corestrengthhq.com/product-category/books/

We managed to see a couple of friends for very short times while we were down on the Gold Coast.  It was nice to see friends, and catch up, even if it was only for a very, short time. Even though it is only an hour away, we hardly ever get down there anymore.

We set the Christmas tree up and all the decorations. Kyah didn’t like the Christmas wreath we had. (I have had it for at least 20 years – it has served me well though). Anyway, she kept on about how it was too small and didn’t look nice. So we went to Spotlight and spent two hours in there; choosing things that I could use to make a new Christmas wreath. We do like to wander around and browse in that shop. We ended up purchasing a number of things so I could make a new wreath from scratch. I wanted to make my own rather than buy one. At least that way I know it is ours and no one else will have one the same .Here’s the before and after.

Here are the items I used to make the new wreath

This is the new wreath. It is at least twice the size of the original – Kyah is now happy!

We have had a lot of socialising this past month. It has been nice. We also went and saw A Christmas Carol; at QPAC. It is adapted and created by shake & stir theatre co. We both thoroughly enjoyed the performance. It was really different to go to QPAC and see something other than the ballet. I am not complaining at all about how much ballet we see, it was simply a nice change.

I (along with many others), had helped QB on their “Giving Day” – making phone calls to help raise money to fit out the new building that is being constructed at Kelvin Grove State College. As a “thank you” to the volunteers, QB allowed us to watch the rehearsal of Act 1 of The Nutcracker. It was so interesting … simply fascinating to see these dancers performing in clothes that were not their costumes, and having imaginary props – some props were there, but others weren’t. Then when you see the actual performance (I have seen The Nutcracker a number of times) it is just amazing that what they have been rehearsing is almost identical to what they do on stage with props. It is definitely a very underrated skill and talent these athletes have.

Here is a photo of the very unique Christmas tree Queensland Ballet have. I think it is fantastic. The pointe shoes have been put to good use.

We have pretty much completed our Christmas shopping. A few different shopping expeditions, and we are pretty much done. We need to give each other our presents before Christmas Day. We will not be at home then, as we are off on a cruise – so it is necessary for us to do it beforehand. It is amazing how fast the time is going. Almost two weeks and it will be Christmas! Still so much to do before then.

We are planning for Kyah to have some time down at The Bay in January, with her dad and other friends of hers. She will also be doing exercise, and her diploma, just to ensure she is on top of everything. It kind of never ceases, but this is the life of any serious athlete.

We went to the QB breakup yesterday. It was nice to speak to all her teachers, even if it was only briefly. They are extremely happy with Kyah and her efforts this year, but want her to get much stronger. It is difficult for someone with Kyah’s body type. She is hyper mobile and so the perception is that she is not as strong as others. But in actual fact, sometimes she is stronger than other people that are less mobile than her. It can be deceptive. We really don’t mind that she has been asked to repeat. We totally believe it is God’s will and the best thing for Kyah. She knows all the dancers in the year below, so next year it won’t be that daunting for her, she will be with two friends from this year and she knows everyone moving up to level 2.

Kyah is off to see The Nutcracker  this Thursday night. It is part of the QB Academy program, and if the academy students are around and want to watch the final dress rehearsal, they are able to. I think it is a great opportunity for the students to watch. Most of the kids will be heading home to wherever they live, so we are thinking that there won’t be many students there watching. But Kyah enjoys watching the dress rehearsals – it is a great way to see the company perform.

So we are winding down to Christmas, or rather winding up to Christmas and all the activities we have planned over our break. Still so much to do before we go on our cruise. I am hoping that  once we get on that ship we will be able to turn off the brains and relax for a while, in amongst the daily gym sessions, rock climbing, indoor sky diving, dodgem cars and all the evening entertainment we have planned.

Life has been good to us this year and we are very much looking forward to next year.

Deut 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (NASB)

She Performed Beautifully

The Queensland Ballet Academy Gala for 2019  is now complete. There were four performances in total. Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night and Sunday day. The week leading up to the busy weekend was rather hectic too. We had a new homestay arrive on the Sunday morning. All dancers had the Monday of school and dance and the entire week off school to prepare for the shows. Kyah used her time wisely; did a pilates class, some school work and rested on the Monday. Tuesday onwards she had 11-12 hour days. Leave home 9am, home by 10-10.30pm.

The change in routine was tough for both of us. We are usually in bed, if not preparing for bed by 8.30pm. So the late nights were a bit of a shock to the system, but it needed to be done. In preparation for a performance or competition, if you are performing / competing at 10pm, there’s no point training at 8am. You need to try to get your body to adapt to performing at the new time. So I figured that’s why they were working those hours. It may have been another reason totally, but I am sticking with that line of thought.

Anne arrived on Wednesday evening. So I had to pick Kyah up from rehearsals at 10pm and drive to the airport, pick up Anne, and then drive home. Anne had to wait at the airport for us to come to pick her up, but she knew that would be the case.. Kyah drove. She did well. Once we got home, we sat up for a short while chatting to Anne.

Thursday, we picked up another girl, Meg, (we did this every day that week), and drove Kyah and Meg to rehearsals. Then Anne and I volunteered for 2 hours at Queensland Ballet. It was their Giving Day. Queensland ballet were hoping to raise $2m in a 24 hour period. For every dollar that was donated, certain sponsors were quadrupling the amount. So Anne and I helped for a couple of hours with that. In the end QB were successful in raising the money they wanted. This money will go towards fitting out the new premises at Kelvin Grove State College. Hopefully it will be complete by early next year, ready for the academy students to use.

We picked Kyah up at 10pm. By this stage her dad had arrived, so there was more excitement in the air for her. I still had to work, so I got both Anne and Kevin working for me! They were preparing lunch for Kyah, doing the drop off and pick ups, and I had them do lots of food prep for us. It was almost like a commercial kitchen at one point. We had so much food being cooked, it was amusing. The freezer is now full of ready made meals for us to pull out and eat when we need. I think they will last us for a good 2-3 months.

On top of the meals made, chocolate brownies and protein balls were made. Some of these were consumed over the busy weekend. The rest are being consumed this week, while I recover.

Their first performance was Friday night. When Kyah came home, she was hyped up so it was difficult for her to settle and go to bed and sleep. Saturday was a hectic day: I had clients early. Kyah needed to be  at the venue by 10am. We had another homestay student arrive at 10.30am. A friend, Grace, arrived at midday, because she was coming with us. We left just after midday. Met up with Ruth, Clare, Kirsten, Annie, Deb and Eloise. We were all spaced around the theatre because we’d purchased tickets at different times. Me being the ardent mum that I am, managed to purchase tickets in the front row! Kyah is used to that by now – having me right in her face. Her biggest fan and also one of her biggest critics. The performance was great. Amazing talent, ability, technique, choreography, presentation, costumes, music, lighting, staging. It was great. Very much worth seeing.

Deb, a friend who came with us has been going to the ballet for many, many years. Her comment was that she “…forgot she was watching adolescents…” That’s a good compliment, one that I totally agree with. QB are doing a fantastic job of teaching these up and coming dancers.

The ten of us (Ruth, Clare, Kirsten, Annie, Deb, Eloise, Kevin, Anne, Kyah and I)  met afterwards, took photos, and then had burgers and a drink. It was so nice to see everyone and catch up on some of their news, even if it was only for a short while. We are both very thankful to everyone who came and supported Kyah as well as those who sent messages of well-wishes for her performances. It means a great deal to both of us.

Kyah had to prepare for the next show that evening, and we all headed home. Kevin (her dad) drove back to Newcastle. Anne and I sat around and waited for 10pm to come again, for pick up. This particular evening Jimmy Barnes was performing at Riverstage; right beside Gardens Theatre. Needless to say there was people everywhere and I got to hear a few songs from Jimmy while I was waiting for Kyah to come out.

Sunday was again another hectic day. Dropped Kyah to Gardens Theatre. Anne and I found the Northside Flower Market and bought some absolutely beautiful flowers. Believe it or not, they actually have a scent and as I am writing this, 4 days after the purchase, they still look as fresh as the day we bought them!!! We then went to church, had lunch with a group of friends, picked Kyah up at 4.15pm. Drove Anne to the airport. Drove home and Kyah unpacked from the busy week. Then I had to turn around and go back to the airport to pick up one of the homestay girls.

It was a very busy week and I am still recovering. Kyah had Monday off school, as it was a pupil-free day, so that gave her a bit of an opportunity to recover, which is great for her. Unfortunately, one of the girls coughed on Kyah all weekend and now Kyah is feeling a bit unwell, but we are hoping she can get on top of it by the morning.

 

The last couple of weeks leading up to the Gala week were also busy, but we had some fun activities thrown in there as well.

We went to the Queensland Museum to see the Space Exhibition. It was pretty interesting; lots to see, loads of facts and information about space travel. We spent almost 3 hours in there, so that should say something. That same afternoon we went to the movies and saw Ad Astra, with Brad Pitt. The movie was good to watch, especially after we had spent so long in the museum looking at space stuff beforehand. (It wasn’t planned that way – it just worked out it happened that way). So we had a very space-focused day. At one stage when Kyah was young, she wanted to be an astronaut, so it was very absorbing for her.

Kyah was asked to do a dance at church as a special celebration to pray for the Jewish people and Jerusalem. She looked beautiful, and her performance was lovely. She choreographed the dance a few days beforehand, so it was all totally her input. So many people gave her compliments afterwards about how they were in tears and deeply moved because the dance was so anointed. That was really encouraging for her to hear. I can imagine there will be more of that to come.

We are looking for a new place to move into. Where we are is really not that accessible with public transport. Even though we live 4.5km from the school Kyah attends, it may take her over an hour to get home some afternoons, because of the timing  and routes of the public transport. This is not really ideal. She had dance practice recently that fell on a public holiday, in preparation for the Gala performance. Kyah had to leave home with me very early so I could drop her to public transport that would get her there on time. I was working with clients, otherwise I would have dropped her in there. So, we need to look for a new place to live. That is taking a bit of our time at the moment. Checking places out on the internet, going to look at some of them…. My gripe: it is very interesting the measurements written on floor plans … for some reason they seem to be very exaggerated in some cases. I wonder when the real estate industry will get an overhaul. It is very disappointing to turn up to a place when you are expecting floor sizes to be 4.5m x 7.2m and you know by looking at the room that the measurements have been increased by 25% at least.

We went and watched a local dance school perform their end of year show. The intention was to see the standard the kids are at and what type of dance school they are; what genres they focus on, music selection, costumes and age appropriate dance moves. We were very pleased with what we saw and had the assurance that Kyah would be able to teach dance to the younger kids. This is something we want to look into her doing next year, so we are looking around now. Obviously, the dance school will also be determined by where we move to. But it doesn’t hurt to look.

We are now in the final term of school. Lots of things for Kyah to complete before the end of year. Dance exams will be coming up very soon. As yet they have not been told a date, but I can imagine it will be very soon. After that they then get told if they are accepted back into Queensland Ballet Academy for next year. We are hoping and believing for God’s plans to come to fruition. Everything is in His time.

Numbers 23:19-21  God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? 

Upcoming Gala Performance

Gosh how the time is flying. Another month is gone. School holidays for Kyah have come and gone. She was fortunate enough to have one week off both school and dance, and now she is back into dance, with another week off school.

I will fill you in on the happenings since the last post, as best I can. Kyah was doing some of her Diploma work on her computer and managed to spill some water on her laptop computer! It wouldn’t turn on so I suggested she grab a tea towel and place it on the bench, then cover the tea towel in raw rice. Place the laptop keyboard on the rice with some books on it, to ensure the laptop did not fall. Leave it for more than 20 minutes and hope and pray. Well, after 30 minutes the computer worked again. I am figuring the rice absorbed the moisture that was in the keys. So she was able to use her computer and back everything up. Even though the computer worked, she said it was running very hot, so it was off to the computer store to purchase another laptop. Oh my gosh they get you with the price now don’t they? Captive audience aren’t we??

I have had to delete all the files from Kyah’s laptop and iPad so we can trade them in, as we no longer need them. As I was going through the files I found the journal Kyah had done on our trip through Canada. It was so nice reading it and remembering the holiday, but also reading it from a nine and a half year olds’ perspective. We would happily go back to Canada, especially Yellowknife; we had such an amazingly different experience.  Down to minus 30 degrees. Snow over one meter high beside the roads. Dog sledding. Snow shoeing. Ice walks where crampons were essential footwear. Seeing beavers nests and how they set up for winter. Watching the set up for ice fishing nets on the lake the ice truckers use. Riding snow mobiles. Mushing. Skiing Whistler and Blackcomb. Having snow come up to your waist as you walk. And the most memorable of all experiences – seeing the Aurora Borealis.

This was taken in Canada when we were doing an ice walk in Johnston Canyon.

Back to reality…

Kyah has managed to get through all her subjects for term three. She is confident she has passed all her subjects; as yet we have not received a school report for all the subjects she is doing. I imagine the report will be forthcoming.

She is now almost half way through her Diploma in Business so she is able to drop a subject at school. This will be implemented as of term four – starting next week. What a relief for her. The Diploma course is proving to be very time consuming as it requires feedback on numerous drafts for the same module. The feedback is taking time to receive as well, so it seems to be a bit frustrating in that Kyah is not able to complete a module, have it marked and signed off as ‘successfully completed’ and move on to the next module. She is currently waiting on feedback for three modules and starting another one. It’s a bit confusing, but it is how she must do it in order not to waste too much time. She will get there.

We are thinking that next year while she is completing year 12 she will be able to undertake a part time job. We are hoping it may be in dance teaching or in a dance shop. But she should have some time free for a job. This would be amazing to think with the huge load they have with dance and school, but it is a genuine possibility. It will also be good for Kyah to get out there into the employment world and take on added responsibilities. Available time for her will be the determining factor.

Our two homestay girls finally moved out. They were with us for two months. They were very pleasant to have around and absolutely no problem at all. It is great for Kyah to have people around that she has to consider. Being an only child she can become very used to not considering others, so I think it is a good thing to have others in our house. We have another student arrive in a couple of weeks and two teachers attached to international schools coming. I think by the end of November we should be just about done with the homestay people for the year. It does keep us busy, but also it is nice to be able to open our home to others and make them feel welcome when they are in our country.

Our cruise has been paid for. We are definitely going to NZ. Both of us are very much looking forward to it. It will be a much needed break. Loads of activities to do on the ship, as well as participate in fitness classes, go to the gym, racing dodgem cars, rock climbing, indoor sky diving, along with simply sitting down to meals and not having to prepare them, nor having to clean up afterwards. My idea of a perfect holiday. Bring it on.

The last few weeks of school were pretty busy for Kyah. Finalising all assessment tasks, getting her diploma done and ballet. Queensland Ballet have an upcoming Gala performance in October. So the dancers have all been preparing for that. Kyah has been doing her 2-3 sessions of pilates each week as well. She has got to stay on top of prehab and maintain and improve her strength all the time. The preparation days for the Gala are very long. She leaves home by 6am and arrives home after 5pm. She is at dance all day. So when she gets home, it is feet up or feet in an ice bucket,  bit of rest, eat a healthy dinner, shower, unpack, prepare for the next day. Then she repeats the process the next day… a bit like Groundhog Day. She is enjoying it though.

There are a number of dear friends coming to watch Kyah perform in the Gala. I am really looking forward to catching up with every one of you. It is only 2 weeks away. So much to get done before then…

We had a bit of a gathering at our place in September. About 20 people, all playing games, laughing, enjoying each others company. It was lovely. Kyah managed to corrupt one of the “more responsible” women. She had Luell and herself go out on to the back verandah with a bottle of water and gently pour it through the timber cracks down onto some of the people sitting and chatting at the BBQ table!! I knew what was going on, but the others didn’t for a little while. They thought it was spray from a bottle being opened or sprinkles of rain. It was actually very funny to see it happening. They had fun. It was a great time for all, memories made and friendships strengthened.

Kyah went down to see her dad for a few days last week. She flew down and back. While she was there she caught up with a couple of friends, which she loved doing, she went to the gym with a friend. But mostly she spent the time with her dad and the dogs. She said she had a nice time. I think the fact she had no structure, except attending the gym each afternoon (thank you Tina), and just chilling without any commitments was exactly what she needed. Now it is back to the routine.

She arrived back on Thursday night, to give her a day to unpack, settle back in and wind up for the sprint to the end of the year. She started back dancing on Saturday, and it will be full on until after their Gala and exams.

We received her report for QB and she is doing really well. We are both very pleased with the report. Obviously there is always room for improvement, but it seems she is doing well and is meeting all criteria more than satisfactorily. This is not a guarantee she will be in again next year, but we walk in hope and faith on that promise. We will find out after the Gala and the exams, which will be early to mid November. Keep praying for God’s will to be done, please.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. KJV

September 26 marked three years since her horrendous accident. She was boarding the plane to come home at the exact time it happened three years ago. Her foot does not give her any problems at all. It is still a bit larger in the ankle, but that will probably never change. I thank God every day for the miracle of healing and the blessing He has given her. We are blessed in that others have heard of her injury and can see the number of miracles that happened regarding her foot including the complete healing of it. It may give them hope and direction and possibly plant a seed of faith in them that will grow.

We have heard that one of Kyah’s most lovely dance teachers, back when she was very young, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Robyn really was the instigator in us pursuing Kyah’s ballet career. She recognised Kyah’s ability even when she was 8 and 9 years old. When we left Port Stephens, it was Robyn who said to us that Kyah really should pursue ballet and that she has huge potential in the ballet world. We catch up with Robyn when we can and hopefully we will be able to see her over Christmas. Our thoughts and prayers are with her through this tough time.

On another sad note, one of my dearest friends has been diagnosed as having a tumour in her pancreas. We are hoping surgery to remove and then reconstruct the pancreas will be all that is needed, but we must wait and see, and hope and pray. Both Kyah and I simply adore Sandra and this has been a huge blow to us.

Trying to stay positive:

Ever wondered what cheese and bacon rolls would look like if your child (Kyah in this case) left a packet of them in the glove box of the car for 16 days? Well, here’s your answer!!  Thankfully the bag was closed and there was no smell. But I would not recommend anyone do it. Needless to say, they went straight in the bin, no consideration of giving the scraps to the birds or dogs.

Kyah has been doing some driving and is going well. Her confidence is growing along with her ability. She is learning to read the traffic more effectively each time she drives, and she is becoming more aware of how to spot a lunatic on the road. Driving home yesterday there was one of those tiny motor scooters that simply do not have the power to reach 40km/h. What an experience for her. Cars were trying to get away from the scooter, pushing in and out of different lanes, the scooter rider was (I think) totally oblivious to the traffic confusion they were causing. It was quite amusing to watch, and teach Kyah what to do and what not to do and see how certain drivers respond when they realised they were driving behind a very slow vehicle. Kyah did well to merge with the traffic and avoid being stuck behind this scooter.

We use the driving app and it is so easy. Kyah simply puts in the odometer reading and the start location. Presses start and the app follows where we drive. When we get to the end she then puts in the odometer reading again. If it is night time she needs to specify that, otherwise it gets registered as a day drive. I then go online with an email prompt and approve the drive. Then the time gets added to her diary. It is so easy. If any of you are thinking of doing it this way or manually, I recommend doing it this way. It is so easy.

Our home is turning into a bit of an animal farm. We have a cat that visits us every day; Lunar. He is actually a nice cat – if there is such a thing !!! He used to live here and when the previous tenants moved out, apparently he wanted to stay, so he moved in with the neighbours, but comes over here every day. He almost behaves like a dog and he and Kyah have a good play a few times each week. He is a lovely natured cat, likes to make himself at home. We also have a few currawongs that come into the house now. They obviously feel comfortable enough to walk into the house. Mind you, the birds don’t come in when Lunar is around. It’s entertaining if nothing else.

 

Kyah is dancing at church this Sunday. It is a low key dance, just her. We have a ‘Day of Prayer for Israel’ on Sunday and Kyah has been asked if she could dance just for one song as part of the entertainment and celebrations. She is such a blessing to watch when she dances, so those of us that know she is performing are all looking forward to it.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. NIV

 

 

Term Three Almost Done

The year is flying by. We are racing around every day, trying to fit everything into our busy schedules. We have to forego many offers of catch-ups and get-togethers, but both Kyah and I realise there is a means to an end for all this work, dedication and relinquishing of special times.

This term is the busiest one she has had so far; school commitments, assessments, assignments, her diploma, a dance performance night. Then add to that the dance commitments she has with Queensland Ballet; six days each week, her pilates for prehabilitation and strength enhancement three times each week, and the fortnightly physio appointment to ensure no bad habits creep in. We hardly see each other at the moment, with her schedule and mine, but sometimes that is not a bad thing when they are teenagers!!!! Did I just say that???

Kyah had a few Sunday dance commitments for school prep for their “2019 Night of Dance”. She was only in 2 dances for the night, but the planning and prep requires all dancers to be there for certain times. This way the teachers know all students are fully aware of what they are required to do, where they need to be and when. She enjoyed performing “A Chorus Line” and the “Finale”. She realised from last year that being in too many things added extra pressure on to her, and that is something she simply does not need at this point. Most of the year 11 Queensland Ballet kids only did the two dances, for this reason.

This is not a good photo but it’s the only one I have access to at the moment. The night ended up being quite a late finish, which was expected, but not really what she needed.

Kyah performed in “A Chorus Line” with the Year 11 dance class.

It was nice to see Kyah dance as I have not seen her perform for a while. Soon though…

Kyah’s school commitments have been huge this year. Her load, if she completes it all will have her graduate high school with 27 points. Even though she and I planned and sorted her subject selection carefully to ensure she had a relatively “easy” load, the school requirements have been such that she has had to undertake other subjects up to this point. It is now at the point where both Kyah and I know she needs to reduce her load by at least 4 points. 20 points are what is required to graduate. So I called a meeting with some school staff and thankfully, we have come up with a plan.  We are implementing a better program for her so she is not going along blindly with certain subjects, and she will be able to drop certain subjects once she has accumulated a specific number of points. Already it seems to be a much better option and program for Kyah because, this now gives her guidance and instruction on a regular basis, as well as an incentive to get her business diploma done, as this accumulates points with every module completed.

Just recently, Kyah had do to a practical dance assessment and then report on it. The assessment was quite a task, and involved filming of the dancers in a specific room. The issue Kyah faced was trying to coordinate the availability of the room, when she and the other dancer were both available, as well as having someone film the entire dance. It ended up far too hard to coordinate and have access to the room, so Kyah ended up using me as her dancer!!! So the initial choreography was altered dramatically to compensate for my lack of ability to look like a ballet dancer. We had a great laugh, mostly at my expense, but we finally got the job done. The story was told, and it was a very effective method of putting the story out there. We used our gym, so we just packed up half the room and made it look like a ballet room as best we could, then went for it. Kyah ended up getting a very good result for it. So, all in all, even though it was a very stressful time trying to get it done, it was very successful in the end. Thought I’d include this photo for those of you that want a bit of a laugh. Kyah is not even trying to look elegant, and I am!!! Note to self: stick with my vocation, and don’t expect a call up from and dance company any time soon. Haha.

Kyah has managed to have a bit of social time. Catching up with friends from school and ballet outside of both, but her main focus this term has been school and dance. Just trying to get all her work done and handed in on time.

I made her some “cookie dough flavoured” bliss balls for a relatively healthy snack, along with apple and cinnamon muffins and banana bread. All have been consumed pretty heartily. Kyah’s whole existence revolves around her dance; eating well, getting enough sleep, getting through her school work quickly and effectively, to ensure she has enough time to do all that is required for dance. This is a lifestyle she has adopted and will continue to do  for the length of time she wishes to pursue this avenue. It is almost 100% dedication, which she does not seem to mind at all.

These are pretty yum!!! Cookie dough flavoured.

We went and saw Bangarra Dance Theatre perform at QPAC. It was their 30th Anniversary Season. The performance was great. That was last Saturday night. The night was not too late, and Kyah was able to have a good sleep-in on the Sunday, so she was well prepared for this week of school and dance.

https://www.bangarra.com.au/

My dad has been unwell the last few months and this came to a climax two weeks ago. Both Kyah and I have been on edge a bit with that; as it is stressful when close  family and friends are unwell. We are believing for God’s will to be done in the situation and whatever that looks like, we know it will the best for all concerned.

Winter is just about over, but we had a couple of mornings recently with some beautiful heavy fog. It was just amazing to see. Kyah still got up and was ready and out the door by 6am. No complaints from her. She got some great shots of the city all fogged-up while she was travelling to dance. I was training people in this and it was just so serene.

 

Queensland Ballet are currently performing Romeo & Juliet at QPAC. I went to see them on Tuesday night; dress rehearsal night. Kyah made the decision not go to. Reason being: early in the week, so much school work on at the moment, and a very late night, hard to catch up on missed sleep at the moment. It was a wise decision. She did miss a good night though.

The ballet was absolutely beautiful. Lots to look at and enjoy, the story was told very well, costumes were great, music performed by Queensland Symphony Orchestra was wonderful, dancing was amazing. It is easy to see why Queensland Ballet are considered one of the best Ballet Companies in the world at the moment. I very much recommend you go to see this.

Link is here:

https://www.queenslandballet.com.au/2019/romeo-and-juliet?gclid=Cj0KCQjw753rBRCVARIsANe3o45LJLeekL6EqvR8TrE2AIcc4nb_ATrAfNKt6rXgvRDqwWH_VQ2qB_oaAr_2EALw_wcB

So we (mostly me!) are going through all our “stuff”. There’s 2 huge boxes of barbie things that we are currently preparing to sell. It is time to move on from the childhood and get rid of things we simply do not need any more. There are so many thing we accumulate over the years. Now it is time for us to get rid of what we don’t need. We are still renting in Brisbane and one day we hope to move into our own place, so the fewer things we have to move, the better. Culling can be very therapeutic and cleansing. It is that way so far for us.

The school holidays start September 20, 2019. There is so much to get done before that, so it is heads down and get it done. Kyah will also be doing her diploma through the holidays as well as dancing, but at least the intensity will be reduced a bit and she may not have the early mornings…

Queensland Ballet have their Academy Gala coming up, from October 18-20. I have had lots of people asking how to buy tickets to come and watch. It is a great performance to see if you want to see good quality dancers at not a huge cost. Obviously the dancers have started preparing for the Gala now, and will do so over the school holidays as well. I am looking forward to seeing Kyah perform. You never know what dances they are in until the actual performance time. But that is part of show business.

Here is the link to purchase tickets if you are interested.

https://www.queenslandballet.com.au/2019/queensland-ballet-academy-gala

2 Cor 1:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our AMEN to God for his glory. (ESV)

Moving Right Along

It will be August in a few days. Gosh the year is flying by. Kyah continues to get up at 4.50am, get herself ready for ballet and school, and is out of the house by 6am every weekday. Some mornings are harder than others, especially when it is cold. But thankfully it has not been a very cold winter – neither of us like the cold much.

We have done our share of cold temperatures. In 2013 we went to Canada in their winter and did all the winter activities – skiing / snow boarding both Whistler and Blackcomb, dog sledding, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, climbing glaciers, saw the Aurora Borealis. It was a fantastic holiday – the snow was over one metre high on the sides of the roads, the snow was freezing on the windscreen of the vehicle; the wipers didn’t work, so you had to stop the vehicle and gently hit the windscreen to break the ice so the wipers would work and you could see again. We had icicles on our eyelashes, all the lakes were totally frozen over, cars were sliding off the roads because of the ice. I could go on for ages about how different the life is over there to here, especially in winter. It was cold: we were aware the temperature at one point got down to minus 34 degrees celsius when we were there. Not sure why we don’t like the Brisbane winter mornings when they get down to 6 degrees, but we don’t.

We used to go to the snow every year. Kyah would ski and I would snow board. She started skiing when she was 2 years old, and she got to practice every year when we went . She became quite good at it. However, once she decided to take dance seriously, she had to make the decision to stop skiing. It is a risky sport for knees and other injuries and she cannot afford to get injured, so we really have not been to the snow since 2013. Oh the sacrifices we make! Not complaining … I do not cope well in the cold.

We have noticed the mornings are getting lighter earlier, so that makes getting up a bit easier. It won’t be long and spring will be here. If this winter is any indication of what a “Brisbane winter” is usually like, bring it on. It is quite pleasant. There have been a couple of quite cold mornings, but mostly it has been very manageable.

We have had one week with no students and it has been really nice. A bit of a rest and normality in the house has been good. By the end of this week, we will have two students for a month. That will keep us both busy and on our toes. It is always disruptive having strangers in your home, but usually the students are lovely and it is nice to welcome them into our country and help them get set up.

Kyah has been driving a fair bit. Most days she drives somewhere. So far she had proven to be a pretty good driver. Each time she drives I notice her confidence improves, which is great. Every now and then something happens and she realises she needs to stay totally focused and be aware of other drivers, and pedestrians  on the road. You know the “blind spot” – it is called a blind spot for a reason…. she learned that one when she was on the motorway!!! Learning to drive is a huge lesson, and  experience is the best teacher for us all. I am amazed at how aware of her surroundings she is; this awareness will really help her become more proficient at driving. There are some people driving on the roads totally oblivious to everyone else. I am glad Kyah will not be one of those people.

On August 9, the school has a “Night of Dance” showcase. Kyah, along with the other kids, have had to attend school on Sundays for rehearsals. Add this on to the already very-full schedule and you have a very busy, tired person. She missed this Sunday as we had a special day with some dear friends – we caught up with Kate and Misha first. Then we had lunch with a small group of lovely friends for Ruth’s birthday. It was a long day, but very worth it.

The restaurant we went to had very healthy options, so we were forced to eat well, which  shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. This salad was amazing. It was all greens with smashed avo and a lovely dressing.

Kyah has been doing pilates at least twice each week. She sees a physio at least once every three weeks, just to keep on top of things, and she has me constantly on her to ensure she is doing something constructive. It is a never ending  requirement that she look after herself. She eats well, goes to bed early, drinks lots of water, makes so many sacrifices to ensure she does not go backwards, or get run down. I assume every dancer is the same; if they want to be any good at what they do. Kyah does not complain about it, but does get tired… tired equals grumpy. There is a huge incentive for me to try to prevent her from getting tired!!!

Queensland Ballet Academy are currently preparing for the end of year gala performance. Usually all the dancers really look forward to this. Performing is why they practice. I also look forward to seeing Kyah dance. She is beautiful to watch. Then coming up after that will be the end of year exams and reports, along with notification as to whether they are asked back into QB or not.  Very soon this year will be over.

Kyah got her hair cut the other day. She got it cut as short as possible so she can still put it in a bun. Because her hair is so thick, it gets really heavy when it is long, then put long, thick, heavy hair into a bun – it can actually cause neck problems and headaches. So I am glad she has realised it is more appropriate for her to have short hair. For the time being, Kyah is enjoying the short hair. Again, it’s another sacrifice that she is making to accommodate her dream. There are so many sacrifices to be made on a daily basis. The life is very different compared  to other teenagers her age. No late nights, no going out on weekends, minimal socialising because of time constraints, constantly being mindful of what she is eating and drinking, being aware of physical activities that may cause pain or injury. The list goes on.

I have just ordered new pointe shoes for her. About a year ago, she found a pair of shoes that suit her feet and feel relatively comfortable – if pointe shoes can ever be described as comfortable! The only issue was that she was wearing out a pair of shoes every second week. This was costing me a small fortune. Thankfully Bloch do take special orders for shoes. We order the Synergy with an extra strong shank. Because you need to pay extra for special orders we order 8-10 pairs at a time. And, because Kyah’s feet have stopped growing, we are able to buy 4-5 pairs one size and the other 4-5 pairs a half size larger to fit her larger foot. When the order arrives we pair up her shoes to suit her and the sewing and darning begins. Apart from the fact I almost have to take out a small loan each time I place this large order,  the only real problem with this is ensuring the order is placed soon enough so Kyah is not without suitable pointe shoes.

We have managed to book a holiday for the end of the year.  Usually Kyah has dance workshops on through the holidays, so us going away is very difficult. This year I have managed to find a cruise for us to go on straight after Christmas. It’s over to New Zealand. Cruising some of the north island, but mostly the south island. Kyah has never been to the south island of NZ before. I am sure she will notice the striking difference between north and south islands. The timing of the cruise is perfect, the duration of the cruise is perfect; 10 nights, the onboard entertainment is perfect, the activities on the ship are amazing; indoor skydiving, rock climbing, dodgem cars, the highest viewing deck on an arm that moves out over the ship, gym, pilates, spin classes,  and the list goes on. It should be a great holiday.

I made some more protein balls. Something simple and quick to grab. Healthy and filling. Kyah also likes the chocolate mud cake muffins and the banana bread I made her this week … surprise, surprise!!!

Psa 112:1-2 Praise the LORD.

Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. 

Their children will be mighty in the the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

 

She’s driving!

Well, if it is at all possible, we have been more busy than ever.

The last few weeks have been holidays for Kyah. She pretty much had 2 weeks off ballet and 3 weeks off school. The way QB plan their later half of the year is that they do a 9 week term for term 2. The school term is 10 weeks, so most of the kids take the last week of term off school to ensure they actually get 2 full weeks off both school and dance. This is to help the dancers prepare for the gala performance they have in October and other requirements that need to be fitted in and scheduled appropriately for the end of year.

Kyah participated in Pilates classes most days in the holidays when she was at home. It’s really important for her to maintain her activity levels while she is off dance. If she doesn’t maintain activities, then when she gets back to normal routine, her body will be too sore and the program is so busy she just wouldn’t have time to catch up and recover from the muscle soreness. So prehab (injury prevention) is crucial.

She flew down south and spent a few days with her dad. She enjoyed the time away  from her usual routine … and me! Lazy walks along the beach, time with the dogs, she managed to catch up with just one of her friends from down there and spent a bit of time with her dad.

On Tuesday, she flew back with a friend of ours, Anne. Once they both arrived it was pretty much full on from the start until we dropped Anne to Kirra on the Sunday.

On the Wednesday, Anne and Kyah went to see Synergy. It’s a performance by the Pre-Professional and Jette Parker Young Artists Programs in Queensland Ballet. The performance  focuses on contemporary and neo-classical works.  It was at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. Both Kyah and Anne loved it. Kyah missed out on seeing it as part of the QB program, because we had tickets to see the Bolshoi Ballet the same night. So it was good that she got to see QB perform on another night.

Kyah got her results from QB for the first half of the year. She did extremely well and the three of us, (Kyah, Anne and I),  were so pleased with her results. As a token of her hard work – getting up every morning at 4.50am, catching two buses to dance every morning,  pilates classes 3+ times per week and everything else she does with no complaints at all, I bought her a beautiful Ted Baker back pack. I saw it on a fantastic sale (thank you TK Max), and knew she would love it. I think acknowledging her hard work and the great results with the present, is an incentive and an encouragement for her to continue.

 

My toblerone cocktail

Our drinks in the piano bar

Anne had organised a night at the new Emporium Hotel at Southbank. This was the final celebration for Kyah’s 16th birthday. It was a surprise for Kyah, and a lovely one at that. The hotel was absolutely amazing. I had to work so I left Kyah and Anne at the hotel for the afternoon. They had drinks in almost every bar and lounge in the hotel. Then I caught up with them for a cocktail (mocktail for Kyah) in the piano bar. The first photo above is of my Toblerone cocktail. It was delicious. Unfortunately, because I was driving I could only have one.

Then we had a lovely dinner there – we did room service and why wouldn’t you? Their room overlooked Southbank and Brisbane city. Kyah and Anne stayed overnight and just loved it. The facilities were simply divine. The two of them enjoyed the indulgence, even having a “pillow menu” to choose from.

Just one image that was in the elevators – every single panel – all four sides, top and bottom.

This was another image that was in the elevators. I did not see the same image twice in any elevator.

IMG_2196

On the Friday morning, Kyah and Anne walked down to the cultural centre precinct, from the hotel.Kyah participated in a masterclass conducted by the Bolshoi Ballet. She really enjoyed the experience. While Kyah was doing the masterclass, Anne went and saw the Margaret Olley and Ben Quilty exhibition at GOMA. Apparently the exhibition was fantastic. Something Kyah and I plan to see before the exhibition finishes.

That evening we went to see “Yank” The Musical. It was on at The Powerhouse Museum. Our friend Alex Gibson-Giorgio performed as Mitch Adams. It was a great production. Alex has such an amazing stage presence, you can even notice when he is not on the stage. He definitely has a huge future in musical theatre. Amazing voice, and great acting ability. He should go a long way, and we both hope he does

Kyah, Alex & Anne

The cast from Yank

It was really nice to see both Alex and his dad, Tony. It was a very momentous occasion, as it was the first performance Alex has done without his mum, Gayle, at the opening night. Unfortunately, Gayle was killed in an horrendous car accident back in March this year. I am sure she was looking down watching him and would have been so proud of him. I know we all were.

Tony & Alex

Saturday we spent  almost the entire day out; shopping and eating at James Street, New Farm. Something different for us, and it was lovely. Saturday night we had Theresa come over for dinner. It was a great evening had by all. Chatting, laughing, great food, good company …. what more could four girls want?

Sunday we drove down to the Gold Coast where Kyah and Anne did some more shopping at Robina, while I caught up with a friend. Then we dropped Anne at Nel’s place at Kirra.

Our time with Anne here was extremely busy – lots of great memories made, loads of food consumed, and lots of laughs. Needless to say, Kyah and I were in bed asleep rather early on the Sunday night.

Ballet has started back this week. One more week of school holidays so it is kind of an easy introduction back into the onslaught of term three. She was able to watch a performance by QB called The Little Green Road to Fairyland on Friday at QPAC. The performance is targeted at children and apparently it is great. If you have children and have time, it is definitely worth going to see.

Kyah got her L’s through the week. I have taken her for a few drives already. I notice each time her confidence is improving, as are her skills. It can be quite difficult to stay calm at times, but I am learning, and Kyah is listening well, and she is not doing too bad at all. She has done some driving and parking practice in large car parks with only a few cars, loose trolleys, pedestrians and trolley tractors around. She has also driven home on a rather busy road from one of the car parks. We got up early one morning and drove across to West End, before the bulk of the traffic started. She is definitely getting some hours up and her knowledge and experience is growing each time. I am exposing her to more distractions and challenging environments each time, and she is coping really well.

Yesterday,  Kyah caught up with her dear friend Ebony. Ebony has been in France dancing for the last 12 months. She is doing really well over there; she has been accepted back into their program for this coming 12 months, so she goes back over in 5 weeks. Hopefully Kyah and Ebony can spend some decent time together before she has to go back. It is lovely seeing Ebony doing so well with her dance career.  Ebony and Kyah have always got on well and it is so nice to see them reconnect each time they get an opportunity.

Well, it’s back to school and dance tomorrow. Kyah has a large dance assignment due this week for school. Hopefully she has done enough to get good marks. She has plodded along with her diploma through the holidays. Hopefully she can knock over a couple of modules this school term.

Isa 50:7  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,  I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (NIV)

Bolshoi Ballet

We are almost half way through the year.
The last few weeks have been very busy for Kyah. Dance exams completed. She feels she did fairly well with these. We are waiting eagerly for the written report to come so we can see what  the teachers think of her performances.
Even though Kyah got the flu injection, she managed to get a bit of a flu / cold thing which knocked her around a bit. She seems to be much better now, which is great.  A lot of people seem to have the cold / flu hang around for weeks or months on end. So she has done pretty well to avoid it lingering.  She eats very well and I am sure this helps with her recovering faster and not being knocked around as bad as others.
Queensland Ballet had a “Demonstration Day” performance. It was held over two days and the dancers performed three times in front of dance teachers, dance kids, family and friends. It was great to see the different levels of the Senior Program showcase what they are doing and to notice the progress Kyah has made since last year. We had some friends come to watch Kyah perform and they loved it. It is really nice to have people support Kyah on this journey, and give her their feedback on how she dances, especially those people that know something about dance. I have to say I just love watching Kyah dance. I truly believe she has a blessing and a gift and it is a pure joy to watch her.

Krystle, Kyah, me, Luell

Krystle, Kyah, Deb, Luell

We finally had a chance to go shopping for Kyah’s birthday. I decided that after the demo day  Kyah needed, and deserved, some time out and some retail therapy. So we went to Chermside Shopping Centre. We spent a good few hours there and a bit of Kyah’s birthday money. We had a great time wandering around and looking at stuff, purchasing the things she wanted, and not having to worry about being somewhere, or doing something.
For the last 6 weeks we have had one homestay girl from Japan. She has been lovely. We then had another girl arrive last week, so it was time to empty “that room”.  You know the room that you shove everything in? Well, it was emptied and sorted for the new homestay girl. There was lots of things to sort through and decide what could and should be done with stuff. There was about 8 leotards that Kyah has outgrown that she may have worn once or twice, skirts that go over the leotards and maybe 10 pairs of stockings that Kyah will never wear again. Not to mention old dance shoes, craft stuff, dance outfits, all our office and school work, along with desks and furniture. The forced culling and sorting was great and is a process I have not yet finished.
It was our dear friend, Theresa’s, birthday through the week, so we went out for dinner with a few friends to a restaurant  called “George’s Paragon” on Eagle St, Pier. The food was absolutely divine. It was also a lovely night catching up with friends we don’t usually see on a social basis. So a night out, that wasn’t too late was great.

Carol & Theresa

Last night we went to QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre), and saw the Bolshoi Ballet perform “Spartacus”. It was fantastic. Neither Kyah or I had seen “Spartacus” live before, and it was really good. The costumes, props, choreography; as well as the technique and execution of the ballet by the dancers, and the live music by Queensland Symphony Orchestra, was all just fantastic. It was a sell out, and I am not surprised. We went with friends who just loved it too. The applause went for about 7-8 minutes, so that indicates the audiences’ appreciation of the show. If you have not bought tickets yet, and you have time to go, I suggest you go see them; it is not often the Bolshoi Ballet come to Australia.

Bernie, Michael, me, Kyah

Kyah has been on holidays from school and dance for one week now. In that time she has been doing pilates every day, doing some of her Diploma in Business ever day and doing her PrepL course. That is one huge benefit with her subject selection for years 11 and 12. Kyah has minimal assessment deadlines for school. So many of the kids have had assessments due these last few weeks. Kyah has had an English exam and needs to prepare for a dance prac exam, but the only other subject she needs to really consider at this point is doing her diploma. At this stage she could be a bit further on with her course than she is, but handing the first module in was the indicator as to what level is expected as well as the amount of work to hand in. Once she figured that out, doing the modules after has been relatively easy.
Kyah would like to get her learners permit over the holidays. The PrepL course is the new way to do the theory exam. I think it is a great way for the kids to learn. Once they have satisfied a certain amount of criteria, they are able to sit their theory exam. Apparently it is going to be the way potential new drivers will have the learners permit taught and to do the exam in the near future. From what I have seen, it is very beneficial. Kyah is learning a lot and is retaining what she is learning. I think she will have time to do the exam before school and dance start again in just over a week.
So there is never a dull moment here. Always something going on. Kyah flies to see her dad tomorrow for a few days. Then she comes back home with our dear friend Anne. Another very busy week here next week, then ready for school. More on that next time.
Ecc; 11:6-8
Sow your seed in the morning,
    and at evening let your hands not be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
    whether this or that,
    or whether both will do equally well.

Birthday Celebrations are almost Complete

The month of May is now over. Under normal circumstances, once May is done, so are our birthday celebrations. But this year is a special birthday for Kyah, as she has turned 16. She still has another upcoming surprise to celebrate her milestone.  More on that later – once it happens.

Theresa & Kyah

Kyah’s birthday was two weeks ago now. She was given some amazing presents and experiences from some very beautiful people we have in our lives. A hair makeover which she loved. She got as much hair cut off as she could so it still reaches into a bun. Kyah’s hair is so thick and heavy it becomes cumbersome after a while in a bun. So, she has opted for as short as possible for the time being. She loves it, and it looks beautiful.

The day of Kyah’s birthday was a bit of a surprise for Kyah. Her dad came up and surprised her.  Also, the group of girls I have for training that evening were more than happy to hang around for a while after their session to celebrate Kyah’s birthday and share some of the  delicious  GF chocolate mud cake that was made. They all gave her some beautiful presents, but the most meaningful thing these girls gave Kyah was their time and love. They each adore her and them being there made it a very special day for Kyah. Thank you all.

 

 

 

Kyah was given a gift of a facial, massage and pamper package, so the weekend after Kyah’s birthday, straight after dance practice, we raced out with Theresa to Carindale where we each had a scrumptious drink, and then Kyah had her pamper. When we picked her up, it was like she was on another planet – totally zoned out. Her skin was glowing and more beautiful than usual, and she was so relaxed. She just loved it.

That same night there was a celebration for her and another ballet girl, who share the same birthdate. The dancers all went to Southbank and enjoyed food at a place called “Cowch” – it’s a dessert bar. All the kids enjoyed it. Some of the others wandered around after, but it wasn’t a late night for Kyah as she is pretty focused on getting enough sleep and looking after herself so she can perform at her peak, or as close to, all the time.  I picked her up and she was home, in bed fairly early.

We caught up with our friends from the Gold Coast; Kate and Misha. There was an eisteddfod on last weekend and they came up to Brisbane to participate in it. It was lovely seeing them again. Kyah actually got to see another girl, Leila, she used to dance with about 4 years ago. It was a great night. Company was great, food was good. Only problem was it was a bit cold outside!!! Winter is coming. We do not like the cold.

Kyah had her ballet exam last week and she just completed  her contemporary, pas de deux (partner) and character exams this week. It is always a bit stressful for the Kyah because the exams contribute to her being accepted back next year. These exams are more for her to find out where she needs to focus on for improvement to ensure she passes her end of year exams. So it is critical for her to preform as best she can in each and every exam.

Tonight was the Year 11 Semi Formal celebration for the school. Kyah went to a friend’s house with three other girls and the five girls got ready together and all arrived at the pier together. They went on a boat along the Brisbane River. Kyah reported that it was a good time had by all participants. There was about 300 year 11 kids on board, so I can imagine there was fun and frivolities. Again, there were after parties to go to, but Kyah needs to get up early tomorrow morning ready for dance, so she has opted to come home and sleep. There are constant sacrifices she makes in order to pursue her dream. I continue to pray and believe that she is walking the path chosen for her, and that path is becoming more defined each and every day.

     

Tomorrow after dance we plan on going on a shopping spree. Kyah received some money for her birthday, plus gift vouchers. So we plan on spending a few hours looking at things she may like to buy. This will be a nice little break from the high pressure of the last few weeks.

A huge thank you to everyone who made Kyah’s 16th birthday a very special and memorable time. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful and beautiful friends in our lives. Each one of you that played a part, impacted Kyah in a special way. Both of us are extremely grateful to you all and  you all have a special place in our lives and our hearts.

John 15: 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 

 

Almost Sweet Sixteen

What a busy few weeks we have had … for a change! May is birthday month for us. My birthday is in early may and Kyah’s birthday is towards the end of May. This year Kyah will be sixteen.

Here is a photo of the most amazing chocolate and beetroot cake that we had for my birthday. A dear friend, Carol, made it for us all. Thank you so much Carol.

We had Gerry,  a friend, come up and cook a lovely meal for us. BBQ ribs, mashed sweet potato, and salad for dinner. Then we had fruit salad with cream for dessert. It was difficult to be training my clients and smelling the food cooking. It smelled so great;  we were all getting hungry. Kyah and Gerry made sure the meal was ready as soon as I finished work, so the evening wasn’t too late. We have very early mornings at our place. Thanks for taking the time to come up from the Gold Coast and cooking a very yummy meal.

We both went to the dress rehearsal of The Masters Series, by Queensland Ballet. It’s the first time I’ve been to a dress rehearsal of Queensland Ballet’s and it was very good. Pretty much the same as if it was a normal performance – you could not tell it was a dress rehearsal. As I have said before, as part of the Academy Program, students are able to see the dress rehearsals. It is a great way for them to learn a bit about how Queensland Ballet operate  and to watch the company perform; they are just amazing, a real pleasure to watch. I have to drive in to Southbank to pick Kyah up at the end of the dress rehearsals, so I figured I may as well watch the ballet on the same night, and  we could leave together. It turned out to be a good idea. Here is a link to Queensland Ballets website describing The Masters Series. If you get a chance, I recommend you go see it. Well worth the effort. It is ta triple bill showing Serenade, Shadows Behind Us and Soldier’s Mass. Soldier’s Mass was an all male cast. It was really enjoyable to watch; 12 male ballet dancers performing.

https://www.queenslandballet.com.au/on-stage/2019/the-masters-series

On Saturday afternoon, I gave Kyah her birthday presents, because we had an international student arrive on the Sunday. It was nice to be able to sit and enjoy her opening her presents. One of her presents was tickets to see Expressions Dance Company (EDC), perform The Dinner Party, for that Saturday night. It was great. We haven’t seen EDC perform for a while, and they are simply amazing, and so enjoyable to watch. Very different from ballet. Most ballet companies have a contemporary element of dance style as part of what they do. The styles are so very different, however, both require huge amounts of talent, dedication, and motivation. This is why Kyah has also participated in the Expressions Dance Company workshops over the years. It is all good experience, and training. Again, if you get  a chance to see EDC perform, I thoroughly recommend it.

The international student arrived today, Sunday. She was a few hours late, because the airline left her luggage in Japan! She was able to buy some pyjamas and essential toiletries for the first night. The airline assure us her luggage will be delivered tomorrow. She seems to be quite nice and both Kyah and I are looking forward to getting to know her while she is here.

We have another very busy week coming up. It is Kyah’s actual birthday this week. There are a number of functions and activities for her to be a part of. All of these things on top of the usual frantic pace we run at, but we would not have it any other way.

Psa 19:9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

 

 

Powering On

It is the middle of May 2019 already. Kyah is going along so well. She has been extremely diligent with getting up at 4.50am every day to get ready for ballet and school. Leaves the house by 6am. She has been doing Pilates at least 3-4 times per week. Any opportunity she gets, she will book herself in and go and participate in another class. She is definitely getting stronger and so many people are commenting on that when they see Kyah, especially  if they have not seen her for a while.

ANZAC Day, Kyah got up early and watched the dawn service on the television. She very much enjoys watching the dawn service. It is a bit difficult and unwise for us to get up at 3am to get to a service and stand around for a few hours in the cold. Both of us are running on the edge of not getting sick, so we simply don’t push the boundaries too hard. If she gets sick, she simply does not get an opportunity to stop and recover and get better, so we need to be wise with what we do and do not do. One of Kyah’s uncles, Vincent, passed away on ANZAC Day 5 years ago, and he used to always attend the dawn service, so there is another incentive for her to attend; to honour him. He wasn’t in the services, but he very much admired and respected them and attended every dawn service for many, many years.

Kyah got all her hair chopped off. As part of her (upcoming) birthday, I gave her a treat of a hair wash, scalp massage, style cut, blow dry. She loves going to the hairdressers, having her hair washed and the scalp massage. The only issue is that we don’t really have time for her to do it in school term. So this was a treat for her at the end of the school holidays. Here are the before and after photos. She really likes having shorter hair because it means the daily bun is easier to do and less weighty. It is also much better for the load on her neck.

         

I had the opportunity to meet with Kyah’s main ballet teacher at the end of April to discuss how Kyah is going. It seems she is doing quite well. Obviously there is always lots of room for improvement and progression, and she needs to continue striving to be the best she can be. I was pleased with the discussion we had and the feedback I was given from her teacher; considering the stage of the year we are in and how she will continue to be moulded and improve as the year moves on.

Kyah does not have any issues at all with her foot. No-one can see there is a difference in her feet – strength, function, balance, agility etc. They are both extremely strong and almost identical in performance.  If anything, I think her left foot (the injured one), is stronger and has more balance and proprioception ability than her right one. Her left is still slightly larger than her right, and that is something I do not think will ever change now. The huge blessing is that she does not have any residual issues with her injured foot at all.

We have had quite a busy social calendar these last three weeks. Kyah went over to a friend of ours from church,  Luell, house and had a dinner with her and some other girls. They had such a fun evening, when I went to pick her up she did not want to leave. That is a great sign. We ended up both staying for another couple of hours.

We met up with a friend of Kyah’s, Emma, and her mum, Susan, and sister, Addilyn, in the city. We went out for dinner and wandered around for a while. We were going to play Ten Pin Bowling but the lanes were totally booked out for at least 2 hours, and it was getting late, so we decided not to do that. But Kyah had a great time chatting with Emma. It is always nice to see them. Kyah has known Emma since we moved up to Queensland in 2013 and they have kept in contact since then. They don’t see each other regularly but when they catch up, they just continue on from where they left off.

Kyah had organised a bit of a surprise birthday party for me this week.  She has been very busy contacting people and organising the finer details of it all. She told me a day before the event  so I at least had time to sort out nibbles, drinks, prepping the house etc. The party was Saturday night and it was really great fun. We had some dear friends come up from the Gold Coast as well as from our church, and everyone got on so well. It was a fairly late night for both of us, and Sunday, Mother’s Day, was a bit laid back trying to rest and recuperate as well as clean and tidy everything.

Friday night Kyah took me out for dinner and to the movies. We saw The Hustle. It was entertaining. The nicest thing was spending time together. I often think about how our relationship has changed as she has grown up. We interact differently considering the stage of life she is at.

Growing with our children and meeting their needs as they mature and change is a gradual process, but when you look back it is amazing to see the changes they have gone through and how much they develop and learn from us as parents, as well as their peers and life experiences. Kyah has had a few very tough experiences and although they were very difficult for us to go through, she managed to get through them with help from some people close to her. They have all made her who she is today: one very strong, determined young lady. I am so blessed to have her as my daughter, and I thank God every day for giving me her to look after on this earth.

Each morning for the last couple of weeks, Kyah has been having toasted banana bread for breakfast. So I decided to make her some. Gluten free banana bread with crushed walnuts and some LSA added. This way I know what she is eating and it has some protein added. It was delicious, especially straight out of the oven.

This week is going to be very busy. A friend is taking us out for dinner for both of our birthdays; Kyah’s is coming up.  We have The Master Series, performed by Queensland Ballet, we are out to see Expressions Dance Company Perform The Dinner Party. Not to mention, the usual dance, school, and Pilates schedule on top of that. In there somewhere she needs to do some work on her Business Diploma.

Psa 110:1-2 The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”