Saturday, January 31, 2009

Out of the blue

Today we went to Matt and Claire's wedding. Congrats guys! Awesome wedding! Wish you all the best for your future together.

As special as the day was (I was green with envy at how beautiful and meaningful their wedding was! Wish I had been that creative with ours.) I found it very difficult to sit through. One of the most difficult things about losing Zoe is that I never know when grief will strike. It struck fairly early on in the service, during the worship at the start, making it incredibly difficult to share in their joy.

There was a line from a song (I can't even remember the song now) which spoke about how God destines all our days, from the first cry to our last breath. As I sang those words, something within me cracked again. Surely God destines our days from the moment of conception, not just the first breath? Because if it was only from the first breath, then that means God had no plan for Zoe's brief life, and that the life she had was outside his power or will or something. Although I still struggle to accept that God allowed her to die before she was born, I have to believe that every moment from her conception was in his power, that he had amazing plans for her life.

Of course, the moment I had started thinking about her, I couldn't help myself thinking about all I will never share with her - particularly her wedding to some amazing man. I will never have the honour and privilege of giving her away. Needless to say, I spent a good portion of the wedding frantically wiping away tears and trying not to break into sobs. Thank God we were in the back row, so no-one would have noticed anyway, even if my mascara had run all over my face.

One of the passages read, which was rather obscure for a wedding - at first glance anyway, was from Nehemiah. It spoke about the fact that time of mourning and weeping has come to an end, and that now the time for rejoicing and laughter is here. Over the past few days I have been coming across verses that, in various ways, have encouraged and exhorted me to leave my grief behind, trust God fully, rejoice in him fully, and move into the next season - which is joy.

On the one hand, I am very pleased by this. I would love to be able to leave this heavy heart behind. I would love to stop crying and mourning.

On the other hand, the thought that I might forget Zoe really scares me. I don't want to forget her. I don't want to stop missing her. I don't want to pretend that it will ever be okay that she's not here.

So how do I bring these two extremes together? How can I possibly experience the full measure of joy, laughter and a spring season in my life when my daughter is dead? I know that I have good days, days filled with laughter, and I rejoice that I am able to have those, because I know that to remain in grief for ever is unhealthy for me. However, I just don't see how I can go from this current space where Zoe is often on my mind, where the very thought of her makes me cry, to a space where when I think of her it is only with joy and thankfulness, with no hint of sorrow or longing.

Then again, maybe I'm completely misinterpreting these verses.

There is no doubt in my mind that if this child survives, my heart will be full of joy and love for it. There is no doubt in my mind that this child, if it survives, will make me laugh and smile, and will make my heart feel so full it will want to burst. But none of that can erase the pain I feel that Zoe is not and never will be with us here on earth. No matter how much joy this 3rd child of ours brings us, I just don't see how that joy can overpower the grief and pain in my heart that comes from missing Zoe.

I've realised that the comfort God offers does not wipe away the pain. The comfort he brings is that our pain is not pointless, or meaningless. The comfort he brings is that one day we will see her again, and that her death can bring about hope & help for others. But it does not wipe away the pain. I always thought it did. But God didn't wipe away Jesus' pain on the cross. In the Garden, the Father did not wake away Jesus' fear of the cross. Rather, he gave him the strength to do what had to be done despite his fear. The Father did not abandon his son on the cross, but neither did he make the pain any less to bear. God's comfort does not mean pain is wiped away - at least, not here on earth.

One day, all injustices will be righted and vindicated. One day, all pain will be healed, not just comforted. But that day is not today - at least, not for me. I look forward to the new spring season of life that God seems to be preparing for me. I look forward to the birth of this child. But I doubt that either will miraculously heal the pain in my heart. Rather, I live in hope of that day when all sorrows will cease, all wars will end, and shalom comes in the full glory God always intended.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Once in a blue moon

We had a partial solar eclipse yesterday - 65% in Cape Town. Apparently, the next one we will be able to see in SA will be in several years' time. I took the liberty of taking my class outside to see it - I thought it would be educational (and it was). It got me thinking though, about blue moons (a blue moon occurs when you have two full moons in the same calendar month), the frequency of events (or infrequency, in some cases) and the cyclical nature of life.

I've had one full week of work (although not one full week of lessons) and already my life feels so frenetic I feel like I've lost all control. My to-do list at work is longer than I think I will ever have time to complete. All other chores and tasks have been relegated to weekends (which is a problem when there are business things to take care of... like going to the bank to open & close accounts).

This evening, despite being exhausted and sore and having feet that were cramping so badly I could barely stand, I made supper. (Graeme has a tummy bug again, possibly food poisoning this time.) In the process, I discovered a nest of cockroaches behind the stove. If you know anything about me, you will know I have an intense dislike of these creatures, one that borders closely on pathological or phobia status. So while tackling the meal, I was also tackling the beasts.

Then, while sitting eating at the kitchen table (in order to keep an eye on the beasts' nest) I saw a weevil climbing on the cupboard. I had seen one last week, and asked the maid to check out the pantry cupboard and deal with it. Clearly, this had not been done. So after the meal, I hunted weevils... and was incredibly successful in the hunt - 3 packets of lentils had to be jettisoned, but I think I got them all.

Then I noticed that the laundry had blown off the line and was all over the lawn. So I went to pick that up (although why the maid hadn't brought it in I don't know....) only to notice that Baggins had once again dug several holes in my garden.

So, the first time I got to sit down this evening was at 8.30pm, when I had my injection.

The really sad thing is that it feels like every day since I went back to work has been this frenetic. I spend every free period stumbling from one crisis to another. Break times are spent dealing with pupils who want to change classes (I'm head of subject) or who have questions about the Science Fair in 3 weeks' time or managing the trainee teacher (who is also an exchange student) or sorting out some other minor crisis (like the lack of gas in my lab, or photocopying that I need for the next lesson). The fact that I haven't skipped a meal yet is something I am very proud of! Lesson times are hectic because I haven't had time to prepare properly, so I feel like I'm stumbling in the dark most of the time, while trying to maintain discipline and learn names. Then, at home, we've been having minor crises of all sorts (mostly financial) - plus Nellie has stopped having her afternoon nap, so is usually in a FOUL mood come bath/ bed time and requires Mommy's attention (yup, I'm flavour of the month again).

This year was supposed to be different. It wasn't supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be calmer, less frenetic, less manic. Or at least, I was supposed to be able to be more relaxed about it all, so that I could take it all in my stride.

Is this just the cyclical nature of school - that the first few weeks really are this crazy and that things really will calm down in a week or so? When I look at my diary for the weeks ahead, I don't see it calming down at all. Am I really that unable at effective time management? or am I just too much of a perfectionist? It doesn't feel like there is anything I can delegate - they're all head of subject or head of chess or personal planning things, which are all my responsibility. I honestly feel that I don't have the hours I need to manage my work, let alone have time or energy for my family, my friends, myself, and my business.

Maybe the fact that I'm not sleeping well is another contributing factor. I know that when I'm tired, I get ratty and things seem far worse than they really are. Sigh! I wish there was an easy answer to life. I wish that ordinary life was as predictable as the passage of the planets around the sun, as predictable as the next date for an eclipse visible in Cape Town.... It may be boring, but boring is manageable, and right now manageable is what I need.

PS. A colleague took a great pic of the eclipse. You can see it here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Table Mountain from Kirstenbosch

Dancing in church

From past to present

Over the past few weeks I have thought of my dead children more often than usual. While on holiday in Sedgefield I spent some time weeping at Zoe's memorial tree. Today I realised that my eldest, had s/he lived, would be in Grade 7 this year - the same age as one of my favourite nieces (I know, you're not supposed to have favourites, but I do). My life would have been so different had either of them lived.

Feeling the movements of the current little one has been great, except when it hasn't. Hasn't moved, I mean. It would seem that the little one has turned again, so that it either isn't hitting the uterus wall, or is hitting an area that is less sensitive. With that, the DBTs have returned. Again, I am resorting to telling myself that as long as there's no blood, the baby is fine. It's a poor substitute for movements, but it's better than running off to the gynae every 5 minutes.

The past week has also seen a possible new development for Born Sleeping. Friends of ours lost a baby a while back, and now the wife is starting up her own social work practice at a GP clinic. We're looking at possible ways to work together. We're also putting together a brochure that we're going to distribute to local gynaes and ante-natal clinics. This gives me hope that Zoe's death might bring about something useful to others... good out of bad.

I was re-reading my preggy books... to see how much baby has grown, and it's now as long as my hand. Imagine that! Still not capable of life out of the uterus, though. I'm really looking forward to the next scan in 2 weeks (5th Feb), where I'm really hoping to see more, and be reassured that all is well.

The other fact I was reminded of is that my blood volume is now double normal, and my heart is working twice as hard as normal to ensure that all my vital organs and my skin get supplied with enough. That explains my breathlessness at the slightest exertion!

I've been doing my Wii exercises to build up strength in my legs (for labour - I plan to give birth as vertically as I can) and to try to keep my hips together (the pubic symphysis problem has returned with a vengeance, but I'm determined to beat it through exercise so I don't have to wear that nasty belt contraption). However, the difference in breathlessness between the middle of Dec and the middle of Jan is marked. I can only manage one or two exercises before I have to sit down and breathe hard for a few minutes. I feel completely unfit - think beached whale, except I don't look like that yet.

I've noticed that I've stopped looking fat (my tyre has been shifted up to my ribs, so it's not that visible to anyone else now) and I now have a proper preggy belly. Yay! No more need to hide - people no longer need to worry about making a mistake in diagnosis if they comment.

With this change in my belly, I've also noticed my belly button has changed shape again. My poor skin! I really feel so sorry for it. It goes through the most awful stretching when you're pregnant, and (in my case anyway) never really recovers.

Oh yes, and the leg and foot cramps have started. I meant to go to the health shop this weekend and get some tissue salts, but I thought it more important to spend time with my family. We went to Kirstenbosch for lunch today. It was wonderful walking (slowly! for me and for Nellie!) through the beautiful gardens (how much water must they spend on their lawns to keep them that green in the height of summer?????) and laze under the trees, doing bollemakiesies down the hill (yup, even preggy mom did one!) (umm... in English they are.... tumble turns, I think?), watching the pheasants and guinea fowl, paddling in the brooks, and examining every statue we could find.

But this wonderful day makes me think that actually, weekends should be 3 days long, not 2. Tomorrow will be church, my family for tea, Graeme's family for lunch, then a brief rest before the bath/ bed routine, and then the new weeks begins. Really, I could use another day to catch up on chores that don't happen during the week. But I'm grateful for the 2 - some people get only 1, and others none. I'm grateful for the one beautiful day of rest I've had this weekend. May that be the indicator of many more to come.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

At Belinda's

What fun! Nellie had the entire custom-made jungle gym & wendy house all to herself! All the appliances work, & the slide goes into the pool.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Houston, we have lift off!

Dead baby thoughts are no more. Why? Because today, on two separate occasions, I felt the baby move. It's ALIVE!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Being an adult

I am feeling more and more like a grown-up as the months and years roll by. This week, I've taken 2 more steps towards being my mother:

1) I (we) have employed staff;
2) I (we) are starting building works on our house.

These are things that only adults do.

Of course, I have a child. I have a job. I have a mortgage. Yet, in many respects, I still feel like I'm playing at being an adult. I still need my mom and dad to help me, to guide me, to comfort me, to rescue me. There are many times I still feel lost in this world of adult stuff. (Like tax?!?!? No clue! Don't ask me!)

But this week we took on a full time domestic worker (maid) and a gardener who comes twice a month. I feel so grown up!

Of course, with this growing up comes the attendant responsibility. And wouldn't you know it... we're up the creek without a paddle. Yup, somewhere we didn't do our sums properly. We're going to be living off the bond for the next year or so. Shucks!! But needs must.

I wanted this particularly wonderful woman (Priscilla) as the nanny for the baby and childminder for Janel when she starts pre-primary (so is only doing half days). I didn't want anyone else to grab her, and the only way to avoid that was to employ her ourselves. Paying her works out cheaper (by a third) than employing a cleaner twice a week and paying for the baby to go into a creche. How do you put a price on not having your child in a creche where they are exposed not only to the germs of hoards of other kids, but will not get the individual attention they would at home? How do you put a price on training someone up to do things EXACTLY as you would like them done (which will never happen in a creche situation)? Plus there's another added benefit that your baby is secure and familiar with home surroundings and will have the same care giver for several years (rather than changing care giver every year as they change classes). How do you put a price on these things? No, I think we've scored here... in the long run at least.

But in the short term, well, I guess we will have to just bite the bullet.

And the building works... well, if you could see our little box of a home (the one we bought while we were in the UK), you would understand. You cannot raise a young family and run a business out of those premises. OK, well maybe you could, especially when you see what people are putting up with in informal settlements. However, I know that I am not good in confined spaces. It was one of my biggest struggles in the UK. Most of the places we lived in had teeny, tiny little rooms where if you stretched out your arms you would probably be able to touch opposite walls, or very nearly. Confined living spaces make me cranky, moody, irritable and just downright unpleasant to live with. I can't imagine being like that for the next 5-10 years, especially now that we will have 2 kids and 2 dogs, and the business to run.

So all in all, when you see our little box, you will understand why we have felt it necessary to build. Again, this will be a long term gain for a lot of short term pain. The increased mortgage payment will be a killer. (Please God, let the interest rates stay low for a decade or so!) But this too shall pass. God has been so faithful to us in the past where money is concerned. I have no doubt he will continue to be faithful to us in the present, provided we continue to apply the same financial principles we have in the past.

The only 'luxury' as I see it, is the gardener. Quite simply, this isn't my house and I don't have the time to maintain the garden as I should if I were an ordinary tenant. Since my mom is planning to sell the house when we move out, and as the garden is such a huge selling point for the house, I owe it to her to ensure that it's looking as lovely as possible.

I have to say though, I'm really enjoying the fruits of Priscilla and Atwell's labours! I can't begin to explain how much pleasure it gives me to climb into a clean shower every morning, or brush my teeth at a clean sink every morning. Over the years since I left home, I have increasingly learnt to turn a blind eye to dirt - either because we couldn't afford a maid, or because I was too busy to clean, or because I was too tired to clean. But one can't change one's fundamental personality - and mine, I'm afraid, is that of a clean/ neat freak. Everything has a place, and there is a place for everything, and everything must be clean. I don't like dirt - except in special circumstances (like when I'm gardening).

Again, having a baby, and now a toddler, also makes you re-evaluate your policy on dirt. It's impossible to keep a house neat and clean when there are children (or pets) living in it. Simply impossible. So I learnt to turn a blind eye.

But now! Oh joy! Oh bliss! Now I can return to my natural state because there is someone who can make sure things are just as I like them. I guess that's more like being a child again, than an adult. Hmm.... That's a thought!

Anyway, thus we enter a new phase of adulthood.

Back to work

While Jacob Zuma goes another round with the courts as his appeal of their appeal of his appeal was turned down, I'm starting another round of lessons. In the famous words of the writer of Lamentations, 'There is nothing new under the sun.'

So - that said, it was off to work I went today. (I did go in yesterday too, to do my filing from last year so my desk is clear for the start of this year.) It's not officially the start of work for me, but new staff and management are required to be in today. They do the induction procedures today, so that when school officially opens on Monday, the new staff are (in theory at least) up to speed.

I was really quite nervous about going in, but I'm glad I did. Probably a 3rd of the staff were in, and I had a lovely natter with many of them. Of course, the first question was about the pregnancy, and I was surprised by how easily I could share with them the myriad of dead baby thoughts I've been having.

(Yup, still having them... tomorrow is the start of week 16, when one is supposed to be able to start feeling movement. Let's hope I feel something SOON. I have been reassuring myself though, by telling myself that since there's no blood, I'm not miscarrying, and so the baby is still alive. It's working in my more rational moments.)

Unfortunately, I never got to meet any of the new staff, but I did notice they overheard my comments, and some of their expressions would have been laughable if I wasn't so worried about what people think of me - first impressions, and all that. Now I fear they have already decided I'm that "lunatic pregnant woman who thinks her baby is dead". Sigh!

Something else that struck me this morning is that, just as I'm getting determined to have a life APART from my baby and this pregnancy (ever notice how new mothers only seem to talk about their baby's poo? you'd be amazed how fascinating a topic it is!), other people have decided that's all they want to know about. I realised that I'm going to have to answer the same question a million times over and that it's pointless getting frustrated about it. People are concerned about me (aaah, sweet!) and so are going to enquire about the pregnancy, and since we have a staff of over 60 teachers (let alone support staff!), that means I'm going to be talking about the minutiae of the pregnancy a HANG of a lot - unless I decide to hang out in my classroom for the next 4 months, which I'm not inclined to do.

So, after dreading this week, and dreading going back, and feeling FAR TOO TIRED to start teaching again, I'm now looking forward to Monday. I'm looking forward to seeing my colleagues, and I'm actually looking forward to having a bunch of pip squeaks as my tutor group.

As I was driving home at lunch time, I was listening to the radio, and just caught the end of a programme. The DJ was reading out Obama's letter to his daughters, about why he ran for president. It was incredibly well written, and incredibly inspiring. (I'd love to get hold of a copy of the text and read it to the kids at school one assembly.) It made me think about what I want for Janel, and the priorities of my life as a result.

I want Nellie to have the best education possible - stimulating, engaging, challenging. I want her to be enabled and inspired. I found myself questioning my own teaching style. If she were in my class, would I make more effort in my lesson prep? Would I change my style of teaching? Would I be more or less demanding? Would I be more or less sympathetic to the problems encountered? Would I be more or less willing to take risks?

All of which, inevitably led me to this question: Why do I treat the children I teach any differently to how I would treat Nellie if she were in my class? It made me realise afresh that every little pip squeak and near-adult I teach has parents who feel the same way about them as I feel about Janel. If I want the best for Nellie, don't I have the responsibility to make sure I'm also giving the best to these other kids? Surely every child I teach is as precious (to God if not to their parents or me) as Janel is, and has the same worth?

I know it's easy, at the start of the year, to make grand plans and to be enthusiastic about education, and to put lots of energy into stuff. I know it's easy to make resolutions. I also know it's not so easy to put them into practice. But I have one resolution at school for this year: I will take 30 seconds at the start of every class (or at least at the start of every day) to imagine that Janel is sitting in that class, and then I will try to teach every child as if he or she WAS Janel.

Of course, that's not to say that I always do right as a parent. Often, I'm more interested in my own stuff than in spending time with her. Often, I'm too tired to really give her of my best. Often (especially when she is tired and cranky) she annoys me intensely, and then I respond in kind, rather than with love and understanding and patience and grace. I'm far from perfect as a parent. So this resolution comes with fine print. But I will try.

Hey ho, hey ho, it's off to work I go....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Scan baby

Here's the scan photo from the 23rd Dec. What I didn't share with anyone was the fact that for several days leading up to the scan I was convinced the baby was already dead, so it came as rather a pleasant surprise for me that the heart was still beating! Don't ask why, I don't know, but I did.

I'm now attributing the presence of ongoing nausea to the Clexane I'm taking, as it leaves the most foul taste in my mouth (did you know that you can taste injections done anywhere in your body a few seconds to minutes later?) for hours afterwards, and then I get the same foul taste as it's busy wearing off - so leading up to the next injection.

As a result of thinking the nausea is brought on by the meds, rather than the baby, I've found myself having dead baby thoughts again. We're not yet at the stage of feeling movement (although officially that starts next weekend), although I am convinced I felt 3 little kicks at 11 weeks (and nothing since). I'm probably getting paranoid because I can't feel anything yet, so I have no means of telling that this baby is still alive. The little machine that a friend bought me (to hear the heart beat) only works during the 3rd trimester, so at the moment I have nothing to help quell the fears, apart from reason and logic - which doesn't really help as I'm an emotional person (rather than a logical person). If you're into Myers-Briggs, I'm an N.

Anyway, back to the photo....
The black dot you can see in the chest area is the heart - or part of it at least.

Given that my cycles are irregular, the measurements taken indicate that my due date is earlier than anticipated - 4th July now. This will be confirmed next month (at my 20 week scan, I'm now 15 weeks). At that point, we will be able to book the induction date, assuming, of course, that I don't go into labour at week 33 again. In my head, I'm working on the basis that it will, and trying to be prepared for that. Then, if it doesn't, I get to enjoy a further 3 weeks before we do actually have the labour.

I'm not looking forward to that, I have to say. My first was horrendous - your worst nightmare kind of stuff. My second was done while I was high on drugs, and that STILL hurt. For this one, I don't want an epidural if I can last, but I honestly don't know.... The idea of having yet ANOTHER needle in me, after I've been sticking myself on a daily basis, and this one into my spine... it doesn't fill me with joy, I have to say, pain relief or not.

I've also caught myself actively trying not to bond, to disengage from this baby. I guess it's a subconscious survival tactic. My worry is that the baby is aware of that, and that it will affect things after the birth - either that the baby will feel unloved, or that I won't be able to bond with it properly. It's not that I don't want this child, but I just don't want to fall in love with it if God's going to take it away again.

I can't focus on choosing a name, although, oddly, I have already decided this one is another girl and I keep catching myself talking to Nellie about her new baby sister. I have to stop that - at least until we know for sure what the sex is.

Guess what? If 36 weeks is my version of full term, then I'm only 2 weeks away from half way! How weird is that?! And, I already look like I'm 5 months pregnant, if not more. Although I do have a lovely tyre around my middle normally (I thank my mother's side of the family for that), even if you discount that fat, I look seriously pregnant. I've given up trying to suck my tummy in... and I'm reconciling myself to the idea that my body will never look like either of two of my sisters-in-law's. Both of them look like they've never had a baby in their lives, and one has had 3 children already! It's enough to make one ill, but I'm not jealous... no, not me! Never!! Just give me a sec to twist that pin on my voodoo doll... (joke! seriously!)

I'm a little bit nervous about heading back to school being so obviously pregnant now. Part of me wants the kids to know nothing at all until I either do or don't have a baby in my arms. I'm nervous about the questions, about how they will respond, about whether they will still take me seriously. All silly stuff, really, and I know that, but I'm still nervous about it.

So, on reflection, my reaction to this pregnancy is affected by Zoe in ways I hadn't anticipated. I'd expected feelings of hate, or dread, or being weepy all the time about Zoe. I hadn't anticipated this stuff. Isn't it amazing how the mind and soul work?

Some photos

Here are just a few of the photos I took - because I'm still learning how to use my phone camera effectively, some didn't come out the way I hoped; others I took for my own pleasure and will mean nothing to anyone else, so I won't bother posting them here. Anyway, enjoy! (You have to click on the photo, and it will take you to the photo album.)

Christmas Holidays 2008

Can it really be over?

I can't believe that the holidays are nearly over. Graeme is back at work tomorrow, Nellie is back at school on Wed, and I will probably go in for at least a day later this week to do some filing before I officially start on Monday. Although we've had a fabulous time, I still feel really tired. (Having a child around does not make for a restful holiday! Plus, my nausea has continued unabated, which makes me tired in and of itself.)

My exciting news though is that I finally have my spanky new phone and I've been able to take some really lovely photos of the holiday with it. I'm looking forward to uploading them here to share with you guys.

We spent a week with my family on my brother's smallholding (termed, the Farm) for Christmas. After new year we then went up to Sedgefield to spend 10 days with the G's family (well, 5 days with the hordes, and a further 5 days just with G's folks). Both were really great times, and also very important times for Nellie, so I'm glad we went.

We had our 13 week scan and all is going well. We have another scan next week (I think). I'm not sure when we find out what the sex is, but when we can, we will. Nellie is getting to grips with the idea of the baby. For instance, she knows that the baby has to grow a lot before it will come out of Mommy's tummy, that we have to name the baby, and that she will have to share her things with the baby when it comes. Beyond that, whether she even begins to grasp how it will affect our lives, I'm not sure. I think being with Ariana on holiday was a good experience for her, because she got to ask lots of questions about babies in general - like why they cry so much and what they eat, and why they can't play properly. Of course, Ariana is already 6 months old, so I think she will still be rather shocked when she sees how helpless her sibling will be at birth!

We've had some fun and games with Discovery, but in the end everything has been sorted out. Of course, we would go through all this hassle the day before we were due to leave for our holiday, and while we were on holiday.

And so begins another year. Already I find myself thinking in terms of how many months I have left till maternity leave. The year is already broken up for me as 'before Baby' and 'after Baby'. In one sense, that's probably wise, as I'm not sure I have the energy to teach for a full year! (Then again, maybe that's more a factor of already being pregnant than a factor of how busy our holiday was.) I'm trying very hard not to contemplate what might go wrong, or the fact that I might have to teach a full year, rather than just a half year.

I'm sure this year will be easier - not studying, for one thing, will make things a lot easier. Having been at this job for a year though will also dramatically reduce the stress now at the start of the year (I hope). So all in all I'm really looking forward to this year. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things - although I'm not sure whether I should rejoice or weep that I have a Grade 8 tutor class (the babies of the school... who will want & need me to wipe their noses and give them permission to write in black rather than blue ink).

But back to photos. I'm going to upload a whole bunch (if I can get my phone to talk to the computer), and I'll put the link here, rather than post them all here I think. Anyway, we'll see.

Hope the new year delivers on its promises for you, and that you have the best year EVER!

New haircuts