Friday, January 29, 2010

Some Centrelink staff are ROOLY STOOPID...


I applied for a pensioner education supplement earlier this month to help me pay for course costs of my Cert. III in Children's services.

The eligibility criteria for this supplement include being an Australian citizen, recieving a pension payment (or other eligible payment), studying full time (or an agreed upon part time load), and studying an eligible course.

I fill all these criteria, so liked my chances of getting the supplement.

So, then today I get a letter stating,

We cannot pay you Pensioner Education Supplement because it is not payable for Masters or Doctorate studies.

First thing that sprung to mind was that the site says "some Masters courses" are eligible, so that statement is immediately incorrect, but MOREOVER, the course I'M doing is not a Masters OR a Doctrate degree.

Yeah, so obviously there was some kind of mistake and I called up their offices to discuss this error. The lady on the other end of the phone then informed me that because I'd previously completed a Masters degree I wasn't eligible for this payment.

  1. That WASN'T the reason they gave for rejecting my application in the letter, so if that was the reason they rejected my application, why not just say that???
  2. WHAT??? NO WHERE on the Centrelink site or in their pamphlets does it state that having previously completed a Masters or Doctoral degree a person is NO LONGER ELIGIBLE for a pension education supplement.
So, I've rung back to have the decision appealed. This appeal will be referred back to the person who made the decision in the first place. That person can then either uphold their original decison or overturn it. If they uphold their decision, I can have it reviewed a second time by an Authorised Review Officer. If that decision still comes back negative, I fully intend to take this to the media because Centrelink can't just make up new rules as it pleases them and if this is written policy, then the public has a right to know BEFORE they apply (and get their hopes up)...

Besides, the letter didn't even reject me on the grounds of having previously completed a Masters degree, but rather because they claim not to pay pension educaiton supplements to Masters or Doctrate studies even though their sites states that some Masters degrees are eligible.

Yeah, clear as mud, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

15 months old...

After the untitled, un-worded blogpost below (which was actually just me sending Luey a pic of a hat he could have from our local shopping centre - if he liked it, that was, and he did, so I got it), I thought I'd better post a proper blogpost...

First of all, it's currently 11.26pm, so obviously I didn't get to bed by 10pm tonight either. I had forms to fill in for Bryn's Kinder interview on Friday, and for my course which starts on Monday... For these, of course, I had to sign and date stuff, and that's when I realised today Ari turned 15 months.

So, I thought I'd give an update on my... my... well, I guess I have to comes to terms with it, my TODDLER...

He's been walking for five weeks now, since just before Christmas. These days he runs more than he walks. My suspicion that he's be another "runner" like Luey were confirmed this past week when I took him with me to visit my parents in Adelaide. Now, you see, Erik and Bryn were both very content keeping close to their Mama Bear, but Luey was all about, "Getting away to investigate the world"... The positive spin I put on this at the time was always, "Well, he's obviously very confident and trusts I'll always be close by when he needs me"... Of course, being close by meant I had to chase after him. Sometimes he was SO confident, he'd cheerfully go and play hide and seek with me. I wasn't a fan of hide and seek.

So, on the morning we arrived in Adelaide, we immediately went to an airport cafe for much needed caffeine, and the moment Ari's feet touched the floor, he was off. He didn't care that he'd never set eyes on this place before, or that there were multitudes of STRANGERS around him (mostly melting into puddles of goo at the site of his 73cm tall frame toddling along, hands clasped behind his back like a little old man). No, he was beaming with confidence!

Something else happened in Adelaide. Ari sprouted a tooth, his FIFTH (the boy is taking his time with this particular part of his growth)!

New words this past week included, "bread" and "Yay!".

His favourite toys are still balls, anything with wheels and books.

He loves to dance whenever he hears upbeat music, the "bum wiggle" is his favourite move.

"Erk" is the only one of his brother's names he can say, so they're all called, "Erk".

He can throw spectacular tantrums complete with chucking whatever he can get his hands on and growling at whomsoever looks at him the wrong way.

Whenever Dave or I are telling one of the other boys off, he likes to get in on the act. He mimmicks our tone and rhythm perfectly - it's both hilarious and a bit embarrassing...

He loves snuggles, and giving kisses.

Even though he has shown himself to be a bit of a runner, he also - curiously - seems to have a great ability to control his impulses (like Bryn! unlike certain other brothers who shall not be named), so there's hope for him yet!

The poor child isn't really sure what to make of water... Admittedly, he's only ever had a handful of baths in his entire short life, and the same number of showers. Mostly, I've stuck to flannel washes because it's quicker and easier, but recently he had a bath in the kitchen sink for the first time in a long time and it took some convincing to get him to relax... So, have bought a laundry tub and will work on water familiarisation with him some more!

Fifteen months is such a lovely age!

PS. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll get to use my lovely pram until the end of this year, though. He is already keen to walk with us when we walk, by the age of two I'm expecting he won't want to be in the pram at all anymore (again, like Bryn)...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The first month of the year nearly over...

They say time speeds up as you get older... I must be getting very, very old!

I thought I'd check and see how I'm going in reference to my rules for 2010 and 101 list...

Rules for 2010:

Achieved :- #3, #6, #7 and #9

Still plan to achieve :- #10

Haven't had the opportunity to do :- #8 (there are no Sabbats in January)

Have completely dropped the ball on :- #1, #2, #4, and #5

So my overall score for January is about 60% (as long as I paint a canvas in the next few days, which I reckon is very doable, and taking into account the rule that doesn't actually apply to January).

The ones I've dropped the ball on:

  • bed by 10pm
  • breakfast each morning
  • drinkiing 8 glasses of water
  • walking 10 000 steps a day
These are all very achieveable, so I fully plan to have a much better overall report for February!

101 List:

I can cross off...

#15 and #57... By the end of January I may be able to add a couple more, tho...

So, January has been productive to a certain extent.

Next month is the beginning of the hectic part of the year (how appropriate that it should start on a Monday)...

Before Monday I need to:

  1. Get Erik and Luey school shoes and a watch each.
  2. Label Bryn's kinder stuff and assemble it in one place for Dave to access everything easily.
  3. Fill in Police check and Working with children forms ready for lodgement.
  4. Organise a schedule for getting my Thesis completed this year.
  5. Sort the boys closets and make sure Dave can find things in Ari's closet!
We have Bryn's kinder interview on Friday, and tomorrow I'm renewing my Victorian Writer's Centre membership.

I'm a sack of nerves at the moment, but also very excited to just GET INTO IT!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What the reader brings to a book...

I've just had the most rip-roaring discussion about Twilight on Twitter! I'm all jazzed now!

I was NEVER going to read Twilight. First of all because I tend to shy away from books and movies that many other people rave about. Hearing too much about a book or a movie before reading or viewing it usually puts me off. I don't feel like I can come to the book or movie with an open mind, particularly if it's been raved about because then I tend to be far too critical of the book or movie to enjoy it - it's my rebellious streak, you see.

Then Dave's mum gave me the first two books in the Twilight series. She'd read them (she's 81) and thought I might like them. I don't particularly like the Vampire genre. Was never a fan of Buffy or that other Buffy spin-off. Had no interest in seeing "Interview with a Vampire" when it came out. I did watch and like, "Lost Boys" but somehow not because of the Vampire aspect.

So, anyway, with the books at hand, and from my MIL, no less, I felt somehow obligated to read the first chapter anyway, so I could hondestly say, "Dipped in, but it really wasn't for me"...

And then I read, and I read, and I read, and I found myself at the end of the first book.

It's not literature by any means, I haven't found any disagreement amongst my friends about that point. There is plenty of disagreement about the feminist issues with the books though.

Yes, yes, I'm a renowned "feminist hater", so I expect some of you to close this window at this point.

For those of you who have decided to read the rest of this point (you few brave souls), I will reward you with assurance that I don't hate feminists. Most people who know me would say I'm as feminist as any proclaimed feminist in our society. But this is not what I'm hear to talk about, either.

Through the discussion on Twitter, it became clear to me that how the reader reads the book can change the message of the book COMPLETELY!

As a writer, I often come to a story with something I want to communicate, though sometimes I'm not aware of what that thing is until I'm halfway or more through the book. What I sometimes forget is that what I wish to communicate may have absolutely NOTHING with what the reader teases from the storyline.

The reader brings a world of experiences and schema to a story, some of which I have NO HOPE of understanding. Some of which I couldn't possibly relate to because I haven't had their experiences or possess their philosophical view of the world.

Where I have read a story about overwhelming attraction between two people, at an obsessive level on both parts, others have read control and submissiveness. Where I have read inexperience and first wonder, other have read being taken advantage of. Where I have read protection and concern for, other have read dominance and attempts to control.

I've brought to reading a book one set of life experiences and understanding and come away with one particular understanding, and others have brought a completely different set of experiences and understandings and come away with completely different understandings.

Neither can be "right" or "wrong" in as much as they are opinions, understanding and therefore completely subjective, but how I wish I could understand what the author intended - though, if she is clever, she will keep that to herself so as to not alienate to many readers...

I personally don't believe that any person can be controlled against their will (oh, I hear hackles rising). I know one person can kill another person, and the fear of dying can motive people to do what they otherwise wouldn't choose to do, but even that is a choice. Choosing not to die is an empowered choice, even if choosing to do something otherwise degrading might be percieved as being disempowered. What is in our mind is our own, no one can take it from us.

However, I think wisdom is gained through experience and the gaining of experience is a journey no one can take for anyone else. Our children can't become empowered simply through doing what we tell them to do. They have to experience for themselves, and some of those experiences necessarily have to be bad, so they can know when they've made better choices. Even still, our children may not perceive realities the way we perceive them. To say books shouldn't portray perceived control over others (if it even is control over others or simply the perception of such) is to assume our children will be whatever we pour into them, because they are empty vessels who bring nothing to this world themselves...

I don't subscribe to the empty vessel theory...

And I digress.

Whatever the writer intends may be waylaid by what the reader perceives in the writing based on their own life experience, understanding and view, this is definitely something for me to keep in mind in my own writing!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Only 17 days left of the holidays.

You know, I had to look that up! Maybe not seem like a big deal, but usually during the Summer holidays, since the boys started school that is, I could tell you at any time just how many days and hours it was until the kids went back to school. Mostly, I've "endured" school holidays more than "enjoyed" them. These holidays have been different. At first I just thought it was because I'd somehow matured, or maybe the boys had matured, to a point where I wasn't constantly feeling on edge with the kids around 24/7. I thought it might be because I was being kept busy with the eye operation, followed closely by Christmas, and then sorting some stuff out in this house. I thought it might be because Bryn is about to start kinder this year and there is stuff to organise, as well as me starting my course, with stuff to organise for that. I thought it might be a number of things.

Then yesterday morning I realised what actually was making this big difference in how I was experiencing this extended time of family togetherness. It was, in fact, the fact that Dave has been home and with both of us here, we've been able to wrangle the kids, tag-team in refereeing the rather inevitable squabbling, and most importantly, touch base with each other adult to adult throughout the day!

That ability to just have a conversation about a news article or relate an anecdote about a conversation with someone else is a huge stress reliever!

It has also meant that we could get out and meet friends without kids, or with a minimum number of kids... It means I can go and visit my parents in Adelaide for longer than a rushed long weekend and only take Ari!

This last item has been something I've been able to look forward in the midst of arguments over who own which Bakugan, and who should be allowed to wash the dishes this time, LOL.

Having a car would have increased the Summer holiday enjoyment exponentially, but that'll have to be for next Summer. Finances and the lack of a car has meant yet another Summer holiday without a family getaway of any kind, so the kids are a little bored, but the way we see it, even if we did get away for a few days, they'd only not be bored for part of that time, anyway (because it's their disposition to be bored, that's what 8 and 10 year old who expect the world do, I believe)... So, no real loss there, LOL...

But yes, the dayse are steaming by and I constantly lose track of when the holidays will be over, and that's good - well, at least until it suddenly dawns on me that they are over "tomorrow" and I still have so much to organise!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The neverending task of household management...

I'm forever trying to find better ways to keep our home running more or less smoothly with a minimum of effort (hmmm, I wonder if that is any good for my waistline, but let's not dwell too long on that thought...).

I really don't like visual mess. Being very short sighted probably plays into it, but I'm also a visual person and I need visual order to feel peaceful. I like the flow of the house to be practical and also convenient, so I'm always on the look out for areas in the house that aren't "working". I can usually tell they're not working because stuff piles up in those places, either because the stuff is being used at a distance from where it belongs (and so people aren't inclined to put the stuff away once used) or because the place where the stuff is being used is too cramped...

So, anyway, recently I realised I wasn't doing a lot of my writing work because the books I should be referring to were in the study, and the study has more or less been overtaken by Dave and his various hoards (he calls it not throwing out stuff you might need later, I call it hoarding)...

Another issue that had arisen lately was the overflow of books on Bryn's shelves, and the fact that the mostly up, these days, Ari kept pulling out and dumping Bryn's books all over the floor.

As well as this, Bryn was also outgrowing his toddler bed and needed to convert to a full length single, meaning I had to find a place for the drawers that usually make up part of the length of his bed...

So, having sized up the "problems", I decided I needed an 8 cubby Expedit bookcase from Ikea for the boys room to replace their 16 cubby bookshelf, which I would put in the dining room to house some of my books from the study, as well as Bryn's book and toys - leaving Bryn's old toy corner of the loungeroom available for Ari's ever growing collection of his own toys, as well. I also needed a full length mattress for Bryn's bed.

So, here are the before and after photos... These were all taken today :)...

Starting from the left of the entrance to the boys' room. This table was constantly collecting clutter, so I moved it to behind their bedroom door, for putting the Lego storage units on top of. I put the 8 cubby shelf in place of the table and have stored the Thomas TTE box, and the Duplo box, as well as Bryn's Lego on top of these shelves. Erik's boxes are in black, and Luey's in red, each set closer to where their beds are in the room.

Bryn's Bunkers convert-a-cot/lower bunk, became a single, and drawers became a play table between his and Luey's bunk and Erik's bed...

Erik's bed that had been under the window was moved 90 degrees to along the adjoining wall (where the 16 cubby Expedit bookcase had been).
The bookcase with the Lego storage on top was moved to the dining room, and the Lego storage was set on top of the little table.

And here you can see where the bigger bookcase ended up, with my books on the top row of cubbies, then Bryn's, then a row of toy storage container for Bryn, then the bottom row has miscellaneous larger toys in it.

Bryn's corner is now Ari's corner and was decluttered of books and Ari's toys were laid out for him (used to all be in that white container) so he can see them to play with them! He was mightly impressed with all his "new" toys (rediscovered toys, that is)...
Here, I just got rid of my knitting bag out of what was essentially Ari's play shelf, LOL...

And the overall look of the lounge/dining area now...

I have to say, this is the first time in about 8 years we've had grown up books in our living area, and I just can't wipe the smile of my face whenever I look at the bookcase. It's just feels so good to see MY books out in plain view again!!!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

My life as a drill sargeant...

So, I mentioned in my last post about having many comments flung my way about "all the kids" while out shopping the other day.

I'm not really used to it, to be honest. Usually my status as a mother of four boys is hidden to most of the public because most of the time the older boys are at school, or Dave and I have a natural tendency to split them up for errands. This is easier for several reasons:

  1. We don't take up as much space when there are only 3 or 4 of us out at once... I'm quite aware of the "causing a road block" phenomenon a family of 5 or 6 can create when walking down footpaths or through shopping centres as a group.
  2. I don't have to keep track of as many people. Even those of my friends with two kids will know that there's always ONE who wants to lag behind, or "go look over there, just for a second"... Constantly having to turn around to keep track of three walking kids is a pain in the neck.
  3. It's quieter. Seriously. Less people talking to me at once while I try to remember the errands in my head. And believe they ALL seem to think what they have to say is immediately relevant and important, so they all talk in a stream of conscious, at once!
  4. We don't get as many stares and comments.
I had a giggle to myself today as I struggled through Safeway with a doona, a pillow, covers, 2L of milk, 2L of soda water, and 2 loaves of bread that NO ONE told me I had my hands full (which I most certainly did). But yesterday, when I had a baby in a pram, being pushed by the 8 year old, and the 10 year old giving the 4 year old a piggy back, and NOTHING in my hands, I had more than one comment about having my hands full...

One check out lady - who told me she'd had four of her own (!) - asked me how I manage, LOL, and before I knew quite what I was saying I told her I'm a benevolent drill sargeant. Over the years, I've stopped suggesting, asking, begging, nagging, and bargaining with the kids. Now I just tell them what I expect of them in any given moment, and sometimes, when I feel they're distracted I tell them in a voice that carries, not because it's yelling (though admittedly, sometimes it is) but because it's deep and booming and with that edge of "don't mess with me"...

But honestly I don't find it hard to "manage" anymore. I just don't. I think, once Bryn was born, I found it got easier. Maybe because my oldest two were 6 and 4 by then, but maybe because I'd figured out what works. Knowing exactly what you want to see happen works. Knowing not to say anything you're not willing to follow through on, works! Knowing that sometimes doing things that AREN'T the most convenient for you (like turning off the tv and engaging the kids in an activity) works better in the long run...

After having Ari, I have to say having four has been a breeze. We have so much more fun these days and enjoying each others company so much more than we did when there was just one or two children (and not because those children weren't fun and lovely to spend time with but because I sucked so much more as a parent back then, rofl)...

Today Erik and I played five games of Yatzee together, just the two of us, while Luey was next door playing with a friend who had been playing over here a bit earlier.

There were stresses throughout the day... Luey smacked his face on the tiled floor in the hallway when he slipped over while mucking around with some balloons. He screamed blue murder and hypoventilated and I had to hold him on my lap with my hand over his eyes because he didn't want to see all the blood runnung down his shirt front and shorts from his split lip (which is now the size of the GoodYear Blimp)... Bryn had a couple of meltdowns over not being invited over to the girl next door's place with Luey - a trauma which has caused him to wake four times this evening and night and reject, then scream for his new doona and pillow... Ari fell over, while trying to run, on two occassions and jammed his fingers in the door (AGAIN - the third time this week), then collapse into an exhausted sleep at 7pm, only to wake at 8pm, and stay up until 12am...

But on the other hand. Bryn, who had earlier in the week asked if he was too old to still be having a breastfeed before bed (to which I replied by asking him if he thought he was, to which he said he did), who had last night said he didn't want to feed before bed, and taken himself off to bed pleased as punch with himself, came to me tonight and asked for his feed - which he got... He's growing up and he's getting ready to wean fully, but it's an ebb and flow sort of thing. I could just say, "That's it, no more", but I strongly believe that there would be no benefit to either of us at this point to create contention where it is not necessary.

And it's so fullfilling seeing Ari mill about the house. At the moment he doesn't stop until he literally drops. It's a constantly cycle of checking out familiar haunts and discovering new ones. He's facinated with the laundry because he doesn't get to investigate in there often. He just seems to disappear and reappear every so often in the crowd of bodies that is always in motion around our house.

So, yep, that's my life as a drill sargeant. I LOVE it! I wouldn't have it any other way! I have to be firm and on duty all the time with so many people to keep track of and order to keep in the house and on outings for all our safety and well being, but none of that occupies nearly as much of my conscious thinking now that it's just par for the course as it did when I had less people to manage, and simultaneously, I enjoy the chaos of it all so much more than when there wasn't so much chaos but my parenting was much more chaotic...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Charmed Life...

Feeling a little down today, so just wanted to remind myself of the charmed life I'm living...

  • When I was a young girl all I wanted was to have a loving partner and a house full of kids. For many years I was deeply, deeply concerned that this would not be my life. I feared that I was so unappealing that no man would ever want to spend the rest of his days with me. The fear was unfounded. I have a fantastic partner. He's rough around the edges - a self-described "grumpy old man", and he doesn't buy me flowers for no reason (or for any reason, for that matter, except once way back in the day...)... But he's kind and caring and protective. Oh, and he's intelligent and interesting (ok, so he sometimes has a tendency to tell a story the long way around, but mostly, he's very interesting to talk to)... I certainly have a house full of kids! I was reminded of this several times today when the kids and I went shopping. We don't often go out all together because without a car, it's easier to travel in smaller groups, and also, I often run errands when they're at school. Today, I heard, "You've got your hands full!", "Are they all your's?", "Are they ALL BOYS???", and "Oh, look! I thought there were three, but no, there are FOUR!" LOL, considering I know one mum of 13, four just doesn't seem like a lot...
  • I've always wanted to write, and because of my low vision, and the resulting pension, I have the freedom to study and write as much as I like! If I had full vision, I wouldn't have this life. I'd no doubt have to work full time like most other people... But I'm fortunate to have my study and writing time subsidised because my work choices are limited by my low vision (or rather employers aren't keen to risk employing a "disabled" person).
  • In fact, it seems we're never short of money. We never have mounds of the stuff, but we always have what we need! Just this week I've experienced this! I was worried about how I was going to afford enrolling in my course, and visiting my mum, and getting the house and the kids set up for the new year, and then the money just fell into my hands from the clear blue sky, like it always does. I'm always pleasantly surprised, and yet with the regularity that this happens to me (and thereby us as a family), I really shouldn't be surprised.
  • I have some great friends! I don't see them as often as I'd like (the tyranny of distance, yk), but we speak daily and they always seem to just "get it" and it makes all the difference.
  • My left eye is all better! It looks GREAT. That is, it looks perfectly, boringly NORMAL, and I can't wait to get my next passport photo done now, knowing that as much as I might despise my chins and wrinkles, BOTH eye will at least be looking at the camera, yay!!!
  • I've managed to achieve a high level of education, which is important to me, and I know that one day I'll be able to put Dr in front of my name which thrills me right down to my little cotton socks! (yeah, yeah, I know how that might read, and I know it doesn't actually MEAN anything, but it means something to me and the fact that I failed year 10, but can see this future for myself just thrills me!)...
  • Not to mention that I have GREAT kids. I mean, they're simply awesome. Somehow they just seem to become more awesome to me every day, the more I get to know them. They're smart and funny and gorgeous and they're mine to love and care for and see grow into the wonderful adults I know they will be. I'm in no rush to see them all grown up, I want to savour each age and stage for what it is. They can stay my boys for some years yet, even if growing up in inevitable!
Yes, my life is charmed. So when I feel a little down or lost or flat I just try to remind myself of these things because looking at that list, I just can't stay down for too long!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The new era of independance.

So this morning Erik and Luey took their first steps out into the big world unaccompanied by an adult.

This has been on the horizon for a while, and was probably overdue, but you know how it is with your first, you just don't feel quite ready to take a chance on them being able to handle the responsibility until, well, until your hand is forced (for many of us).

My brother and I were running errands for my parents and walking outselves to school from at least 8 and 6 years of age, if not earlier.

This route was where we walked to school before we moved to another school and took the bus...

And this route is where we walked to our local corner shops or shopping centre to run errands.

Both those distance are longer than where Erik and Luey walked to this morning.

We always hear how dangerous it is for kids out in society without adult protection but recent research suggests that crime rates these days are lower than they were when we were children. So, lately I've been concerned about suffocating the kids a bit with my own fears for their safety.

Anyway, as things stand the boys will need to find their own way to school two days a week starting at the beginning of next month, and also find their own way home one afternoon a week. This will require them to cross roads on their own - including four lane main arterials and navigate catching and transferring from and to busses. They know these routes like the backs of their hands, having taken them almost daily for the past three years. They know the busses, the bus stops, the streets and crossing and traffic flow.

They probably could have taken on this responsibility last year. It was just mine and their father's anxiety holding them back. We were waiting for them to start behaving like adults. That however, is a bit of a Catch 22 situation. They can't act like adults until they have experience while will cause them to mature and having the understanding of adults. Even if they grow to be 18, without experience, they can't develop maturity.

So, we kind of have to let them gain experience before they have maturity, so that they can gain maturity...

So, this morning I gave them $5 and sent them to the corner shop on an errand for me. Erik was both excited and nervous, more nervous than excited I think. Luey was "on the job" man. Serious and determined. They only took 15 minutes to do the entire round trip - which means they ran all or part of the way (but not across the streets, they assure me). Since coming back Erik has been very excited and keen to do it again. He's also suggested other destinations - some that are fine, others I'm not so sure about. Luey has not shown any of this excitement or even mentioned doing other errands, but he's not one for wearing his emotions too boldly on his sleeve.

I'm just relieved to have broken the seal on this milestone. Now that it's done I can see that they were well and truly ready and mature enough to do this and I'm glad we didn't wait any longer than we did!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Up, up and away...

Been meaning to blog about this for a while but it's so hard to get a good photo - especially when I only ever seem to try on my phone, LOL...

Ari decided to start walking a few days before Christmas. At first it was just a few steps between bits of furniture but over the past two weeks his confidence has built and in the past 4-5 days he's just taken off, mastering cornering and carrying stuff while walking, and even attempting (unsuccessfully) to run.

Because he's a bit of a shorty (74cm, the height of your average 10 month old) and doesn't have much hair to speak of, it's kind of funny to see this little "baby" traipsing around the house.

Now, of course, he believes he should have the right to just follow his brothers about anywhere they go! In theory, if we had a nice level patio leading out from the back door, that would be great, but out exits to this house are all about steps and lead to bumping, uneven surfaces. He had his first go at navigating the front yard yesterday and ended sunny side up crying because the sun was directly in his eyes, poor bubba. But he's determined and feisty and before the end of summer I half expect him to be navigating the steps with great proficiency in order to seek out his brothers...

Suddenly, it's like I have four boys, instead of three boys and baby. One of those boys is very little, but what he lacks in height he makes up in character! Time are a-changin' that's for sure!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Things to do, thngs to do!

First of all, Happy New Year!

And what a year it promises to be. The first thing that struck me yesterday was that it's only a month now, and our world with go completely loopy with schedules. So very, very different from when I started this blog just about 4 years ago. Back then I had three kids and no schedules. No school, no kinder, no uni course. Dave was working but was about to be made redundant and it would be 5 months before he found more work. I was able to glean stress from the schedule free existence nonetheless, and some would say BECAUSE of the schedule free existence. Truth be told I like to be busy, not crazy don't-know-what-I'm-doing busy, but I like to have things to do, stuff to move onto and on from.

And so we have finally landed in 2010 and what's a busy woman to do but write lists, really?

I like a good list. In the past I've written lists for lists sake, but I can't really afford to do that any more... So here are my first lists for 2010.

Preparing for my Certificate course:

  1. Clean my workstation so I can actually find what I need.
  2. Print off Dept. of Births, Deaths and Marriages form for being issued a copy of my birth certificate, fill it in, photocopy my IDs and bills, and fax to NSW Dept. of B, D and M with my Visa card details.
  3. Print of Dept. of Birth, Deaths and Marriages form for being issued a copy of my change of name certificate, fill it out and take it with correct ID (including copy of birth certificate) and cheque to Vic Dept. of B, D and M.
  4. Fill in Police Check form, take it to course centre for them to stamp then to police station with ID incl. birth certificate and change of name certificate to get police check card.
  5. Fill in Working with children form and take to post office with relevant ID for processing.
  6. Pay deposit on course.
  7. Contact Centrelink and tell them I'm enrolled in Certificate IV course and get them to process payments for Education supplement and Education entry payment.
  8. Buy materials for course.
Masters Degree.

  1. Read books on plot, characterisation, perspective and general writing.
  2. Read novels like the novel I'm TRYING to write.
  4. Do changes to perspective in chapters requiring that.
  5. Completely rewrite chapters that need to be ditched altogether so I don't lose my word count.
  6. Go over some of the problems I'm having with mum when I visit her later in January!
Kinder preparation for Bryn.

  1. Buy him a backpack for kinder - I'm really leaning towards one of these Scallybag bags
  2. Order some name tags for his clothing and other items from YouNameIt labels. We bought from these guys for Erik and Luey three years ago, and we're still using their labels and they seem like pretty good quality for cost.
  3. Make sure he knows his kinder teachers names!
  4. Show him where everything is in his bag.
  5. Design something for the ID window and get it printed.
  6. Fill in all the forms (eeeeek!)
School preparation for Erik and Luey.

  1. Make sure the boys have uniforms that fit and are in one piece (at least for first term).
  2. Get new shoes.
  3. Get Erik a new cover for his drink bottle (grrr).
Around the house.

  1. Buy these shelves for the boys room so I can move their old shelves to the dining room/lounge for my books and Bryns books and toys.
  2. Sort out filing cabinet.
  3. Sort through my wardrobe (AGAIN!) and especially reduce the amount of clothing I have stored in there for myself!
  4. Get a full single mattress for Bryn's bed, as well as a new doona and pillow and Ben 10 (shhhhh) sheet set for my big 4 year old who is outgrowing his toddler bed!
  5. Possibly get a skip to chuck out surplus crap... possibly, maybe, depending on how I want to use what little cashola we currently have (of course, when we win the lotto tonight, I plan to make a bonfire out of most of our furniture and just start over again, mwhahahahahahaha!).
Well, I've nearly used up my entire allocated time online for today writing this blog, so best be moving on.

WRT my 10 rules for 2010, some are going well (not eating after dinner and not getting on the pc based net for more than an hour per day), others need a bit more work (getting to bed by 10pm, reading FICTION - somehow I just find it easier to read texts - how boring am I?), and some are not going at all (drinking 8 glasses of water per day and walking 10 000 every day), but hey, it's only the end of Day Two... 363 more days to go! I'm sure I'll get there!