Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

What a beautiful Christmas we have had... It was so great to have my parents and Sarah and the kids back in Australia again. We all got together and swam and laughed and had a ball. At one point there was like 20 people in the pool! I guess with 17 grand-kids it will happen, haha.

We did our traditional Hunt Family Nativity and the kids loved being a part of it. We had extra participants this year with Ava,Sophia, Spence and Lauren all joining in, so all spots were taken, and it was a lot of fun to watch. Our girls loved being angels this year, they were sooo cute!

We did our traditional Christmas lights tour in Sunnybank Hills and had a lovely time as usual. We danced the night away on Christmas Eve with the girls, and Christmas day was filled with "oohs" and "aahs" and lots of smiles as we opened presents, where I received an new tablet from Juan I might add. Him and his electronic gifts!! Maybe he's trying to tell me something?? ;)  This lovely morning was followed by brunch at Grandma and Grandpa Hunt's and swimming all day in the pool. It was awesome :) Here, I'll let the pics do the talking. Merry Christmas to all!

Dancing with Bel on Christmas Eve...

Tori all dressed up in her 'dance' outfit when we turned up the music and danced around our living room.

In front of Grandma's perfect tree!

Charlie's Christmas Angels :) 

Christmas morning

Christmas lights in Sunnybank Hills

The Hunt Family Traditional Nativity.. getting bigger every year!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My new love

Meanwhile, I'm totally in love with the new print I just bought. I've been looking for-EVER for a print with perfect colors to match the theme I love, which is bright vintage beach classics. After probably two years of looking, I finally settled on this beauty. I love it. I love their clothes, the story it tells, the location, the kids, the mums, the setting, and I especially love the colors. Without even planning it, I already had the cushions on hand and they happened to match perfectly... and did I mention teal is my new fave interior design color? *insert choir singing* !

I plan on having it forever, but I thought I'd put it in here for safe keeping anyway :) 

Another year almost over....

I just can't believe how fast time flies.... This year has been the busiest year of my life, hands down. Also the most exciting and the one where I have felt most 'led'. Apart from being a missionary, I can't remember the spirit leading me step by step by step more than He has over this past year. I look back and see the pathway I am walking and I just feel so grateful that I chose to follow it. 

So, next year there will be some big changes. But first, I want to take you on a little journey back over the pathway I have walked along the past 18 months ....
Check it out - 

April 2013 - My sister moved back here from America and lived with us for 3 months. I spoke with her about her trials with studying and worries about finding work to support her family now that she was a single mother with no updated work skills, and it got me thinking about my own situation. 
May 2013 - Juan and hundreds of his co-workers were told their work contracts would not be renewed and suddenly we didn't have an income. Due to our high income we weren't eligible for any government support, and we had to live off of the savings we had put aside for a house deposit, for 3 months straight. Despite Juan desperately looking for another contract all over the country we were unable to find anything. In hindsight this actually turned out to be a blessing 1) because we had savings to use, which was a wonderful thing; 2) Juan was often needed as a support for Sarah and her kids and we were grateful to have him home with us more often; and 3) it made me begin to make plans for our future if something was to happen like this again or if I was left to look after the girls on my own.
September 2013 - By now Juan had a new contract and was settled down with work again. But I had applied for some part time jobs of my own and was not accepted by any of them. My skills were too outdated and it was going to cost me as much for child care as what I would be earning in a part time job anyway. My friend Megan suggested I open an FDC. It sounded perfect. So I did.
January 2014 - I'm fully booked with FDC kids and I'm up and running. What a great job! I get to be a full time mum, while earning money, picking my kids up from school, go to their school activities, and I don't pay for my lunches, parking, or child care! 
May 2014  - Still enjoying the FDC but constantly thinking about where this will lead and how I will turn my corporate training dreams into a reality...
June 2014 - At a party a friend suggests checking out uni graduate courses as many of them were changing from one to two year courses in 2015 so I might be able to make the cut off. It was then that I discover the Masters of Training & Development online, just about to be changed to a two year masters unless I got in that month...I knew it was meant to be!
July 2014 - I start my Masters and I love it! I chose two classes which focused a lot on various issues in Vocational Education and Training and how it affects workplace practice. As I was working in child care I chose to focus my area of interest on this industry. And that was when it got really interesting! While writing every single assignment, I was led to more and more issues surrounding the child care industry. Issues ranging from government dilemmas, VET courses and into child care leadership and retention issues. I found government and public documents about the issues in child care leadership as I was doing my assignments, even if I wasn't even LOOKING for those topics. I couldn't deny the evidence. As a corporate trainer I knew that the industry was in serious trouble and nothing would change for these leaders and directors without help. I knew I couldn't fix the massive governmental issues such as pay,  but I could help child care staff with professional development. 
August 2014 - I randomly called a training centre to see what qualifications I needed if I was to apply for a VET training job. They said that I was actually qualified now and invited me in for an interview. I went in more for curiosity sake than anything, and it was in the interview that I learned that the government was giving child care centres $200 million towards professional development training to help with leadership and other staff issues *insert light bulb moment here*.
September 2014 - I began to look into starting a training business but didn't know where to start. My CT mentor, Gerald Pauschman was hiking through Peru so I couldn't ask him. So I went online. I came across a woman named Judeth Wilson, an owner of many huge CT companies. She was selling a product to help people become a CT, and I expressed my interest. Before I knew it, she called me and asked me to tell her more about my plans. I did, expressing to her my desire to train "Leadership skills" within child care centres. I explained why, and she then said "From what you have said, I think you need to focus more on Employee Engagement rather than just leadership and keep it niched only to the child care industry". The woman was brilliant! And, despite deciding not to go ahead with her product, I began planning my own CT business based on these plans. 
October 2014 - Gerald Pauschman suddenly contacts me out of the blue after years of no contact. I chatted with him and received awesome advice about where to train, how to advertise etc. I was chatting with my mum about it all and she suddenly suggested "What about Essential Training" as your name? I loved it :) 
November 2014 -  I informed my FDC parents that I wont be returning next year, and despite being surprised, these were the responses:
- "It's not a problem, we are moving to the Sunshine coast anyway"
- "Oh, I'm sorry to hear it, but it actually works out OK for us because I have stopped working now so I can keep her at home with me!"
- "I wont be needing it next year anyway, since I'll be working extra time and I know you can't fit her in, so I've made arrangements with a friend to do kid swaps with her".
- "Oh no, I'm sorry to hear it... But you know what? Just the other month  I received a call from a child care centre where I had his name down for years, and they informed me that there is a spot available now, so I can probably take that".
- "Aw, that's sad, but my sister is always asking if I need her to mind her, so I know I can always use her for babysitting".

No joke. And here we are. I'm in the process of designing a logo and a website and of course, the training material. I have registered a name and webpages as "Essential Training Group" and I'm getting it all organised. I've spoken to many different child care directors and they are showing interest and looking forward to assisting me in making the programs etc. 
Despite so much taking place, it has felt extremely peaceful and I have just waited for the next step of direction and then I follow it and I'm led to another one. I am loving this feeling and I am so excited to see where it all leads. I can see that this is been a path I have been walking for years, ever since Gerald 'discovered' me nine years ago as a worker at Energex when I attended the Presentation Skills course. The rest as the say, is history. :)  Meanwhile, I'll keep you posted :-) 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy 65th Birthday Grandpa!

My dad's 65th birthday was this month, and my mum held a big party at their house to celebrate. All of my dad's closest friends were there and it was a lovely time.

It's quite strange seeing my parents get older. I am noticing things about their personalities that I had never noticed before. My dad is a quiet man, and quite reserved. Although throughout my childhood, those are the last words I would have used to describe him. To me, he was always hilariously funny, witty, and seemed to be very social and outgoing. I see this now as it really was, which is, that he was not so much 'social' as 'busy' with church callings and always helping others. And he wasn't so much outgoing, as he was just basically 'a great dad' who wasn't afraid to speak up whether at church or elsewhere, and stood for what was right no matter what. He was the dad who, when at a daddy-daughter activity at school, participated with all the kids in the softball game, instead of standing on the sidelines talking about sport with every other dad. And even though the memories I have were often him running late, it was ALWAYS because he was helping someone else. I remember one time we were meant to leave on my first daddy-daughter date and he was late; it must have been at least half an hour. I was waiting anxiously, all dressed up and ready to go, and even mum was getting worried. Finally he came home, and told us how he was driving back along the freeway on his way home, and he passed a woman who's car had broken down. He of course, had stopped to help her, and he had to drop her off somewhere well out of the way before continuing on his journey. Once he came home he had a long stemmed red rose and he handed it to me and offered me his arm and walked me out to the car for our first ever daddy-daughter date. As a ten year old I was so emotional, I think I began crying with overwhelming love and excitement. We chatted and laughed as we ate icecream together, and I felt his undivided attention. He made me feel like a princess who deserved the absolute best. He was a wonderful father and he still is.
Happy 65th Birthday dad, much love to you. xxx

P.S. Yes, I made the cake according to mum's design skills. And no, the car is not edible ;)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Students of the Week

You can image my delight and surprise when I receive two letters in the mail informing me that both Vettoria and Eadith would be receiving the Principle's Award for the month of December! What a proud moment! It was lovely to see them receive their award at the special ceremony held that morning, and I proudly took a photo with my two little superstars. 

I'm so proud of each of my girls, they are so kind and smart and loving. A big kiss to you both, you do your mama proud! :)