Thursday, July 17, 2008

In Process

Another week is winding down. We've been busy with a few extra visits, a few extra emails, and a bit of work in the garden. We also have finished the supposed last possible requirement for immigration.

After re-double checking, we found out the government would want a copy of Martha's heart specialist report directly from the heart specialist. We had originally been told by the secretary of the specialist that if we wanted a copy we would have to get it from Martha's GP. The GP's secretary told us, on the second round of inquiry (this time in person), that they could not offer any kind of certification of authenticity for the specialist's report. All the GP's office had was an electronic copy and the best they could do was print it out for us. So I went back to the heart specialist's office yesterday, for the third time, and explained the situation to them.

The specialist's secretary told me she did not see what difference it should make to immigration if the GP's office printed out the report or if the specialist's office printed out the report. I told her I agreed with her but that this is what immigration wants. After once again asking the secretary to print out another copy of the findings for immigration, and her once again asserting it didn't make any sense, and my once again agreeing but saying immigration wants it that way, she agreed to print it out for us to send to immigration. She kindly told me to pick it up tomorrow.

Today I went back to the specialist's office and I picked up the specialist's findings. I went straight to the post office and sent them off. We just need to wait for our immigration agent to send the findings to immigration and wait for approval, the Lord willing.

Then... sending in Martha and Julia's passports for visas to be put in. Then... searching for a ticket for them for the soonest possible date at the least ridiculous price.

Well, this is the latest. Love to all.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Soooo cute!

The Latest

Once again, we have heard back from the government regarding Martha and Julia's immigration paperwork. Julia's health check was fine, and apparently the government is now satisfied that we are indeed living together as husband and wife, but they had further questions about Martha's health check. The doctor who examined Martha for immigration found a very slight heart murmur and the government wants her to see a specialist to make sure it is nothing serious.

Thankfully, we had already been to see the specialist a few days before the governments request arrived. The specialist said she has an "innocent heart murmur," i.e. not one to be worried about. Now we are waiting for the specialist's office to send his report to Martha's GP so we can get a copy of the report and send it to my immigration agent who will send it to the government.

Hypothetically, this should be the last of it; apparently the government has asked for everything they could legally. Once Martha's health is approved it should only be a matter of having Martha and Julia's passports evidenced with their Oz visas
with a special sticker. I believe the evidencing should only take a couple of days, but we'll see.

Below are a few of the latest pics!

Edwin and Elva Salmon, members of our congregation who live in the city of Ulverstone, were in Launceston so they stopped by for a visit. Edwin had a chance to "nurse" the baby for the first time.

Julia took to Edwin very well and gave him a few big smiles. I tried to catch them on the camera but the digital delay always brought me in a hair too late.

They had quite a conversation.

Hangin' with the guys.

Here is Little One sleeping in her car seat/baby carrier.

That's all for now.

The Lord Jesus Christ bless you all!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The 4th of July Part II

Little one and mommy enjoying a walk in the snow.

Yes, I see you, Daddy. What's that silvery thing in front of your face for, anyway?

On top of the world...

Seeing a bush somewhat encased in ice reminded me of Michigan winters. The bush was beautiful, but not nearly as breathtaking as seeing a tree completely encased in ice with a thousand brilliant rainbows glittering off each and every part of it as the sun shines down.

The building above is a little lookout/shelter/touristy building with a great view. Inside there is information about Mt. Wellington, a viewing platform, and labels of the different parts of Tassie you can see from the look out.

Water in the air, water in the river, water on the mountain... a view of the water cycle

Julia's got a little tear on her cheek from the cold wind

Lovin' the cold weather!

Heading back down the mountain.

From this picture you'd never know it was the middle of winter...

Pic of the harbor across from the restaurant we tried to eat at.

A real bummer part of our 4th of July trip was our failed attempt to get Mexican. We stopped in at the only Mexican restaurant we knew about in Hobart. They were packed, but they told us we could get seats outside. No doubt some of the people thought we were crazy. They did bring us menus (after Terry went back in and asked) but after 15 to 20 minutes of just sitting out there we realized we were not going to be served soon. Plus, if it took them 20 minutes to take your order, how long would it take them to make your food? It didn't help that we saw other people arrive after we had, get their drinks, and then get their meal while we shivered outside. We looked at the time, thought of how long this would take in light of the two-hour drive home, and decided to leave. Not eating there seemed like a much bigger deal than it was; we were very disheartened and hungry. However, we still needed food, so we did what all good Americans do: pick up McDonald's and eat it in the car on the way home. Thankfully, our friend Emma has promised to show us a few Mexican restaurants we didn't know about next time we're down in Hobart.

On a more happy note...

Here's another pic of Julia and mommy singing. I had one with her mouth wide open but it was too blurry. Julia can't wait till she finds her voice. For now, she just smiles and moves her mouth as Mommy sings. You can see her working her tongue trying to figure out how to join in. Sooo cute!
The 4th of July Part I

We spent the 4th of July in Hobart. Originally, the SPC had their Presbytery scheduled for July 5 in Hobart. We were going to go down a day early and spend the 4th with Iain and Mary Smith. However, Iain and Mary both became ill and Presbytery was canceled. Seeing as it was that great American holiday, we decided to spend the day in Hobart anyway.

We left at 8am and headed down the Midlands Highway toward Hobart. These next pictures are of some of the frosty paddocks (pastures) we passed on the way down.

Our first stop in Hobart was the Bosveld household. We met the Bosvelds for morning tea. We had a marvelous visit with the family, minus Brian (father and husband), as he was at work. The Bosveld family numbers 11 in total but one of those is in utero. We rarely have a chance to fellowship with them but when we do it is a real blessing. They are a large Dutch family with friends and relatives in Grand Rapids. We can discuss family, church, theology, and the things of the Lord very freely. Plus, large families in Oz are a rarer thing these days.

In the above photo, left to right, are Lauren, Robyn, Elloise, and Lochlan.

From left to right is Martha and Julia, Ruth (mom and wife), Ashleigh, and Owen. We missed getting Daniel and Felicity in these pics. As you can see, Julia decided to have morning tea with us. However, she declined the homemade sticky buns Ruth served, opting for her usual favorite instead. The rest of us finished them off in a jiffy.

From the Bosvelds, we headed up to Mt. Wellington, the tallest mountain in Tassie.

As you move up the mountain, you eventually cross the snow line. The snow only shows up in winter.

Gum trees always stay green; they never lose their leaves.

Up near the top, a snow plow must have gone through to clear a bit of the snow.

At the top of the mountain, there were people all over the place playing in the snow. Here are just a few.

Not sure what this tower thing is, but it is on the top of the mountain.

A view of the Derwent River and the outskirts of Hobart below.

Julia braved the cold well and seemed to enjoy her first encounter with snow. There was something oddly appropriate about celebrating the Fourth of July in the snow; although snow is rare in Australia, it was a normal part of our lives in America and thus links us with our memories of the U.S. Of course, you'd never see it in July except on mountains, but hey... in Tassie you don't see it even on mountains except in July (and a few more months).

It was neat to have a cloud drift past our view. Here's the edge of it floating by.

Little One is wide awake and soaking it all in.

Mum and bub (as the Australians would say).

Gotta love the transforming effect of snow on a place. There's a wonderful freedom and wildness in a rocky landscape drifted with snow. Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Biscuits !
(or Cookies!)

Last week Martha had some of the young ladies from church over to make "bick-eez" (cookies).

On the trip to Melbourne we picked up some cookie cutters of various shapes: heart, kangaroo, butterfly, alligator (snout doesn't seem long enough to be a croc), dove, dolphin, gingerbread man , rain drop, and a pine tree. A little while ago my Mom sent us a cookie cutter of the good'ol US of A.

Here is a brief example of some of the finished project.

Here is (from left to right) Rowena, Hannah, and Emma apronning up for the icing.

The marvelous mixer Martha's family gave us as a wedding gift worked very well for the frosting.

After all the decorating was done the ladies were kind enough to clean up.

Here they are!!!

After the cookies were done we got Pizza from Domino's Pizza. Yes they do have Domino's here in Tassie. In fact the Domino's is down the street from McDonald's and Pizza Hut and next store to the Colonel's (K.F.C. or Kentucky Fried Chicken). The Domino's here is equivalent to Little Ceaser's in the States.

After pizza the ladies gave Julia a bath and we settled down for a rousing game of Bible Trivia.