Thursday, April 29, 2010

Knowing your own worth...

I used to think I had really poor self-esteem. Now I'm not so sure. I heard some words come out of one of my children's mouth today that shocked me to my core. He said, "So, anyway I suck at math..."

"What???" I asked incrediously, "Why do you say that?"

"Because, today, I didn't know what division was."

"But you know what division is, you've been doing division since before you even started school!"

"Oh, I know," he said, "but I didn't know what the word meant."

"So, you didn't know what a word meant, but how does that mean you suck at math?" I asked.

"Because I didn't know what it meant!" he replied, his face forming one big DUH!

I told him not knowing something did NOT make him suck, and what's more I never wanted to hear him say something like that about himself. I told him he needed to know his worth. He wanted to know what I meant. I explain that there is a LOT of stuff I know nothing about, that I may never know anything about, but that didn't diminish my worth. I told him that two things happen when a person repeatedly says stuff like they suck, or they're dumb, or they're useless. Firstly, they start to believe this about themself. Secondly, other people start to believe this about them as well, despite evidence to the contrary.

I've heard too many intelligent, clever, capable people put themselves down as sucking, or being completely useless at, or being dumb. I could never say such things about myself because I know they're just not true and false humility is not a trait I want to develop. There is plenty I don't know, plenty I will never know, but one thing I know with certainty and that is my own worth, I would never sell myself short. I really hope this is something my son learned tonight, too.

How would you like people to remember you after you've passed, if at all?

This is a serious question. I've posed it elsewhere but am not really expecting many serious responses, so in anticipation of that result, I'm posting it here as well.

How would you like to be remember. What traits do you want to be remembered for, what accomplishments?

Maybe you don't care if or how you are remembered, why don't you care?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm not really career minded...

So, this year I've been studying a Certificate III in Children's Services and, ahem (ok, more like neglecting) a Master of Arts (Creative Writing). The two courses are so poles apart in most every aspect that I've struggled to focus fully on either course. Because the Certificate ends first and is a much shorter course - oh, and because I have to go into class every week and face my teacher - I've been more focused on that course. The Masters has always been at the back of my mind and I've longed to have the mental and physical energy to tackle that course as well.

In recent weeks I've felt quite fired up by the issues sorrounding the state of childcare in Australia, and wanting to be able to make a difference - especially to children's individual experiences. However, this has also been an extremely emotional process for me. I've felt quite helpless at times and depressed as well.

Truth be told, I'm not sure I could work in Children's Services for the rest of my working life. I think I might become jaded and crusty like some of the people I've encountered.

But there is something else...

Something I hardly dare whisper, to be perfectly honest.

I want to teach. I want to teach writing! I'm not even sure that I'm particularly good at writing myself (what's that old adage, those who can do, those who can't, teach...), but I'm willing to find out. I can feel the fire in me that first started me on the Masters of Arts (Creative Writing) path starting to rekindle.

I feel like a novice now, with so much to learn about the craft, but I'm beginning to feel like I want to learn so I can in turn teach. It's not really a career path, as such, but some sort of vocation maybe?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Orvil J. Pithy...

I know I recently posted about objectifying children in blog posts, but I also said I was likely to continue doing this to my own children, despite my misgivings. So, here's one of those blogs...

Bryn has been so cute lately, and I just had to share...

The other day he went grocery shopping for Nanna with Dave. It was a dark, cloudy day and sure enough just as they were coming home, the heavens opened. At first, Bryn, who was only wearing a hoodie because it hadn't been particularly cold, huddled up again Dave's leg sheltering beneath the hood of his jacket with his brave face on.

After a few minutes though the hardcore deluge started to get the better of him and he moaned at Dave, "It getting very wet NOW. This is the wettest day of my LIFE!"

Another story...

Just recently, Bryn's kinder teacher gently suggested we might want to take him to a speech therapist. We've decided to take the wait and see approach as Bryn's speech is certainly muddled at times (he replaces sounds like C with T and G with J), but generally speaking his speech is much clearer than either Erik or Luey at the same age, and by the age of about 7-8 their speech idiosyncracies had cleared themselves up with only minor support from us.

Anyway, as Dave is becoming ever hard of hearing, he has real difficulty at times picking up on what Bryn says, and just now is a great example! Bryn came into the study where Dave and I were variously occupied on the computer (I was ranting away about vaccinations if you care to read my previous post), and he said, "Can I have..." and to Dave the rest of the sentence sounded like, "an Orvil J. Pithy?"

Now, understandably Dave was very confused and asked Bryn to repeat his question, and again, to Dave's ear, Bryn asked for an Orvil J. Pithy. Dave asked me who Orvil J. Pithy was, and as I'd been hyperfocusing on my writing and not hearing this conversation, I asked Bryn to ask me, and clear as day he asked for, "an oval shaped bikkie"

What speech impediment - people just need to clean their ears more!

The vaccination debate...

PUBLIC SERVICE WARNING: If you believe in vaccinations and you'd rather not be infuriated, this is your opportunity to close the window and find something more valuable to do with your time :).

It's been a huge week in this household for the vaccination debate.

Ari is about to turn 18 months and so I had to go and get his Conscientious Objector form filled in by my Maternal and Child Health Nurse. Our MCHN is very respectful of our choices and while she had to double check that we'd done our research - because you know, only COs are required to research their decision, because it's immediately presumed wrong - she was not going to sit in judge of our choice as so many other had.

Our reasoning is a combination of factors:

  • Erik and Luey both suffered with very bad allergies, which are ongoing for them, and when we took Luey to a specialist Paediatrician at a couple of months of age, that Paed suggested we hold off on vaccination for him because it might be triggering his severe reflux (all my children have reflux, btw, even the non-vaccinated ones, but Luey had developed oesophogeal ulcers and we'd tried eliminating EVERYTHING from his diet, but to no avail.). Luey later, as with Erik developed other allergies. Erik has ongoing dermatitis and asthma and Luey has asthma. Anecdotally, neither Bryn nor Ari have allergies, and even though they are young, Erik and Luey had both developed their symptoms by this age - well before actually.
  • We still have concerns with regard to combination of the MMR. Erik is the only one of our children to have it, and he also had quite a personality change within a month of having it. Going from being a very easy going child, like Bryn (who has stayed easy going), to becoming hyperactive and throwing extended screaming-til-he-dropped, completely unreachable child. He has an anxiety disorder and sensory processing difficulties. He does not have Autism or Aspergers, but nonetheless something changed in him, and it wasn't his environment.
  • I have a theory (and no evidence, just a theory) that while children develop a resistance to the illness in the vaccine, whether it is a live illness or a dead one, that illness has been modified so that the child is not simply being infected with the illness. So, in essence the child is developing antibodies to a modified disease. I have to question is this is a wise practice. It used to be common practice to relieve children of their tonsils routinely. Decades later doctors realised that tonsils form a first barracade against other infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Dave, who had his tonsils removed, suffers from bronchitis nearly every single winter, and on occassion that has developed into pneumonia. When we teach our children's bodies to fight against modified diseases, are we setting them up to fail in the battle against far worse natural diseases that we are yet to become aware of and do not have vaccines for.
  • The recent flu vaccine debacle is yet another reason we no longer vaccinate our children. This vaccine was not tested on children before being released on the population. The claim is that all vaccines are tested, but this one wasn't and parents weren't informed of it's untested status before the vaccine was administered. This is incredibly irresponsible. A child has died. At least one other child has brain damage, and many, many others have been very sick. Even the vaccines that are tested, aren't tested against control group who don't get the vaccine, nor are they tested over a longer term (obviously I'm talking about other vaccines as well, as the flu vaccine is developed anew each year and would be ineffective if tested over many years before being used).
There are other minor reasons, but these are the big ones.

This week, I sat in class while my pro-vax teach told me that I HAD to sell vaccinating to parents and I also had to tell questioning parents NOT to share their doubts with other parents. This, to me, is not only hypocritical of me as a non-vaccinator (though I would never discourage a happy vaccinator from vaccinating, I do believe it's a difficult decision to make, there are pros and cons on both sides of the argument, and I can only make this decision for my own children, the most I would do is encourage a researched decision, because not many doctors will talk to parents about the possible issues with vaccinating), but also downright UNETHICAL. I'm working in an industry that promotes the safety and wellbeing of all children, not only children who react well to vaccines.

Then there was the Fluvax tragedy. Dozens of children adversely affected by this seasons Panvax (a combination of the flu vax and the swine flu vax). Some had febrile convulsions from fevers, some vomited, at least one ended up with brain damage, and another died. The Government suspended the free flu vax program and discouraged parents from vaccinating their children using the Panvax. They, however, did go on to encourage vaccinating against Swine flu, even though that vaccine has been rushed out and has had been equally controversial with adverse reactions suspected and many, many miscarriages linked to the swine flu vaccination in pregnant women (remember very young babies are also being given this vax).

Yeah so a big week...

On Facebook this morning I was linked to an article about the increase in COs. It was funny as it suggested there was a strong swing to non-vaccinating, but then further down the article, it revealed the on average across the country more than 83% of children are vaccinated. So, apparently the swing towards not vaccinating your child is a hefty (less than) 17%!!!

This article linked to a blog about the debate over vaccinating that called for non-vaccinators to come in and say why they choose not to vaccinate. Of course, most the comments to the blog were from parents to who choose to vaccinate slamming parents who choose not to...

The following is just one, fairly typical response:

I can understand if a parent doens’t vaccinate because of medical reasons. But for the life of me I can’t understand the selfish, irresponsible, socially up-themselves parents who think they know it all. Let me tell you because of your selfish actions you’re going to plunge childhood diseases back to the middle ages. Already diseases that were previously eradicated by vaccination are making a come back in a big way. Whooping cough is back and has mutated due to the children that haven’t been immunisd. Go to a third world country where these 19th century diseases still exist and then tell me your right. Your children can’t get autiscim from immunisation that is a myth made up by doctor discredited for conducting ONE reasearch on children at his sons birthday party!!!!!! How is it that polio is coming back???? These parents need a dose of harsh reality -but they are putting my children at risk because they think they are right!!! You’re not right but just following a trend because that’s the thing to do. Don’t immunise bring the diseases back but int he end it’s your kids that suffer first!!!!
Ok, where to start?

Mostly this commentators response is about herd immunity. This is the theory that if enough of a herd has immunity against a disease, the disease has no where to live and will then die - be eradicated. The percentage needed to make this work is believed to be in excess of 80%. Current vaccination levels are reported to be in excess of 80% and yet we do see resurgence of some illnesses. Illnesses by their very nature surge and fall away over periods of time, so it isn't proven that the resurgence, of say whooping cough, that we have seen recently are related to the rise in unvaccinated children.

The use of the word "eradicated" is thrown about willy-nilly with barely an understanding of what this actually means. Eradicated means the disease (in this case) no longer exists in the population. Not only is there no way to measure this phenomenon, but it seems very unlikely as these diseases have been around since long before man walked the earth and for us to be we can just kill off every trace of bioorganisms we can't even see without a microscope is rather preposterous.

Also erradicated doesn't mean, we don't have it in Australia or the UK or the US, but it exists in Somalia, but we don't count that because it's a third world country. Not in this global reality. If people can enter and exist an affected area then that disease can travel. So, no, no eradication has happened yet.

More evidence of this is the very resurgence of an "eradicated" disease. An eradicated disease cannot mutate and resurge because IT NOT LONGER EXISTS.

Speaking of mutating. This commentator suggested that diseases mutate because some people refuse to vaccinate their children. My question is why would the disease bother to mutate because of unvaccinated children? In an unvaccinated child the disease has NO reason to mutate. Mutate is what organisms do to adapt to NEW environs. In the case of immunable diseases its vaccinate people who are the new environ. As I have just established that it is pretty much impossible to fully eradicate a disease (they gave polio a fantastic try, and yet polio cases are on the rise again - so evidently they didn't actually eradicate that disease, though the belief of eradications was long held), there will always be enough disease to adapt and mutate - what is The Borg say, "Resistance is futile".

So, vaccinating creates the need in disease to adapt, to mutate. It is the vaccinated children who are causing the mutations. I don't hold parents who vaccinate to ransome over this simply because it's the very nature of organisms to mutate anyway. It happens ANYWAY, no matter what we choose to do, this is why there are so many strains of colds.

Even if we did manage to vaccinate every single person on the planet, the diseases would survive and mutate because not everyone developes immunity to diseases through vaccinations. I am proof of this, I've been vaccinated again rubella no less than five times and no immunity to blaggard!

Erik and Luey caught chickenpox from an immunised child (chickenpox vaccine is between 60-80% effective in the population).

So, parents who vaccinate may rail against us selfish non-vaccinators who let down the herd, but logic doesn't substantiate their argument.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The objectification of children on blogs...

Was reading a friend's blog this morning about the difficulty of posting about older children on blogs.

I find it increasingly difficult to blog about my children as they become older and when I stop to thing about it, I realise, for me it's about the objectification of children. Quite often I read blog posts by proud parents going on and on and on about how clever their child is. I've even read blog by people who don't believe in praising children, which are one long praise of a child's advanced and eccentric ways.

Parents, almost universally, though I do know a few exceptions, have a deep seeded need to share with others how amazing and wonderous their children are to them.

It's a commonly held belief that through the eyes of a child, a grown (and often jaded) adult can see the world anew, I know I've experienced this first hand.

So, wanting to post about one's children is completely understandable and my own blog is bursting at the seams with such posts - more so a couple of years ago than these days, but never the less...

In the past couple of years though, I'm found it difficult. Partly because I don't want to be perceived as entering into the "my child is more advanced than other children in this or that way" competition that I sense happens a lot (and yes, I'm aware that I may be the only person feeling that other people's kids are pushed as overachievers and I probably just have low self-esteem and therefore am projecting my own competitiveness, but just incase that isn't the case, I'm putting it out there, ok)...

The other issue I have, personally, is that I've been evermore aware of the fact that in the future my children will access these posts about themselves and if they're anything like me - and let's face it, that's not a completely ludicrous idea) they probably won't appreciate my analysis of their behaviours, or my spewing forth any frustrations I've had with them, or even my "cute" stories of things they've done I thought were too cute and funny for words, but they're likely to deem simply embarrassing.

Simply saying, "Last Saturday we went to the park and the boys had fun watching the miniature boats on the lake", well, in my humble opinion, is a pretty boring read - EVEN for family and very close friends...

I really enjoy analysing my children's behaviours, figuring out there whys and wherefores of their behaviours. I pretty much do this with everyone, by the way - yes, even YOU! I think this is what feeds the writer in me. So, when I write about my children, I find it too easy to start trying to decifer them.

My analysis might be spot on - I consider myself very perceptive about human nature - but that's not the point. The point is, one day my children will have free access to the net (they don't have it yet), and one day they WILL google their name, or look up my old blogs, or find a post on my facebook page and they WILL reject at least most, if not all, of my analysis of them.

They're human being, with a strong sense of self, and self-preservation. They are private people (even the exhibitionist among them), and when I analyse them, I objectify them. I turn them in objects, of my possession, which I feel I have a right over.

I would NEVER, NEVER, write a blog about a friend, in which I said, "Yes, so she was so lovely when she picked up that puppy, and she held the puppy so carefully, just like a baby, and I think she'll be a GREAT mother one day because she obviously has strong empathy for living beings"... Not because it's isn't true or it isn't a positive thing to say, but because I would have chosen to analyse her and give her a rating out of 10 (not literally, but I hope you see what I mean here) for empathy... She might then go on to worry what ELSE I'd written about her, or rated her in elsewhere on my blog...

It's hard.

Our children are not our possessions, they are their own people, they have thoughts and feelings independant of us LONG before they can express them in a way that is meaningful to us (from before birth)...

I've taken many liberties with my children through this blog over the years, and it's only now that I'm beginning to realise they might not appreciate my efforts to immortalise their wonderousness (to me)... I'm sure I will slip up in future (probably many times), but I do find myself feeling somewhat restricted in what I feel comfortable sharing about any one of my children these days - even the toddler... As things stand at this point in time, they're still begging me to blog this and that about them, but that is likely to change, and certainly their preference will probably be to perfunctory recordings of their drawings, sporting achievements, and so on, not analysis of their motivations, emotions and thoughts...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taking a minute while the potatos roast...

Nothing much has changed since my last post, and yet I do manage to feel a bit lighter about it all...

I was dreading going to work last Friday, like, REALLY dreading it. I dropped Bryn off at kindergarten and from there I walked the 10 minutes to work. Almost every single step was a struggle not to just turn around and go back to the bus stop, go home and tell Dave I'm quitting the course, the work, everything and we can all just starve or something.

But I kept plodding along the footpath until eventually I was keying in the code to the main door and letting myself in.

Honestly, once in the door, I felt differently. I feel happy and excited. I really do love the work! I left a few short hours later (was 6 hours, but felt shorter) feeling very positive about the whole childcare course and doing work and all that jazz.

Had a nice, though extremely busy weekend. Didn't get any study done that I'd planned to do, but did take the big boys to the optometrist and grocery shopping on Saturday before babysitting for another school family on Saturday night. Then spent Sunday celebrating a friends delightful daughter's 1st birthday in the gorgeous green and sweet smelling countryside. So, ended the weekend feeling refreshed (though still tired, ironically)!

The stress is still there, and that's the thing about stress, it tends to lurk in the background, creating it's own stress as you wait for it to pounce on you and drag you down.

I was feeling a bit sad about things last night because (and at this point I had to go turn the potatos and then was delegated the job of feeding Ari - by Ari! So, now I'm back an hour later, after eating dinner) Ari won't go to sleep for me and Dave was out running an errand until 11.30pm, and Ari only went to sleep at 11pm after screaming at for 30 minutes... This was after Luey had chucked a wobbly because he thinks I'm "losing your mind" and he couldn't "handle it anymore" because I told him off for snatching his soccer ball of his baby brother (after he left it out instead of putting it away so Ari couldn't get it in the first place)... It's easy to feel like a parenting failure when you're so strung out you don't know which aspect of parenting to neglect first amongst all the other stuff you have to neglect while trying to get yet another load of stuff done...

Yeah, yeah, cest la vie, life is like this for everyone...

But in an attempt to feel like I really am managing to hold things together, I've been trying to get two assignments done today, while also finding information I promised my teacher, finding out how to replace my lost travel pass, telling Telstra how to better their customer service relations, and the myriad of other little jobs that happen when you have four kids...

I'll be up tonight trying to finish these assignments, I think. The deadline isn't tomorrow, but tomorrow would be another whole day of stressing that I haven't done this, so I'm motivated to just get it done now...

And there are so many things I would love to blog if I had a spare brain cell, like how my 8 year recently started talking about the necessity of doing weights to build up his muscles (WT?), and how all the writers I read about and from on the bloggosphere seem to lead exotic, or at least pictureque lives, and how I think I need to start a blog called, "The daggy, nearly 40, not environmentally, or stylistically aware, suburban housewife writer - with a small "w" blog", or... Bugger, got to go change a nappy...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Burnout - it may be genetic...

I'm struggling this morning.

The overwhelming feeling I have is to want to quit. Generally speaking, I'm not a quitter, but therein lies my issue, you see. I love starting stuff - that's another issue I have, by the way - but I'm not a fan of quitting if I start too much at once. This is why I'm fairly familiar with that feeling I'm having right now. That faint smell of smouldering around the edges. I've taken on too much. My enthusiasm for all I've taken on has waned. I'm suffering the first signs of burnout.

I'm thinking this may be genetic. I've watched my mum go through this a few times. The "can-do" spirit is strong in both of us. The inability to let go is also very strong. So, the pattern goes something like this;

  1. Oh wow, that looks really INTERESTING, or alternatively, something needs to be done about THAT! I'll do it! Sure, I'm already doing four other things, but hey, I'm superwoman, I can do it all! I may EVEN get a medal for doing it all (yes, there is a touch of ego invested in doing it all).
  2. This is hard work, but all things good are hard work, and the prize I'll get if I just push on through the pain barrier, it'll be worth it!
  3. Ok, admittedly, I'm not coping too well. I'm not a quitter though, so I have to just do this! I'll be so happy when it done, it'll be worth the struggle.
  4. Argh! I'm soooo tired! I want to hide away.
  5. I HATE this! This was a STUPID idea! When I finish this, I SWEAR I'll NEVER commit myself to something like this again!!!
  6. Thank GOD! That's over! NEVER AGAIN!
  7. Oh, what's this, this looks interesting! Or alternatively, SOMEONE has to do SOMETHING about this...
Rinse and repeat...

Right now, I'm stuck somewhere between points 4 and 5...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My shopping list...

Over the past few weeks I've had a running shopping list in my head. It's been a long while since I've been able to make plans to buy anything, so it's a bit of an old habit, and I have to keep reminding myself that it'll be a while yet before I can go shopping...

Anyway, to satisfy my consumer-bone, I thought I'd post about the things currently on my list...

In no particular order...

A table and chairs or stools for the kitchen: our kitchen isn't big enough to seat all of us, but it would be nice to have a small table just for setting out breakfast, or for a cuppa with a friend. I was thinking of something like the following from Ikea...



maybe with these stools under it...



A large picture for over the mantel in the bedroom: This might be a large canvas that I paint myself because I want something bright and cheerful and abstract...

A set of shelves for the bathroom: like this...



Full length mirror for my bedroom: like this...



A rug for my side of the bed: like this...



Several green pot plants for around the house: like this...



Of course, we'd need pots for them too.

Comfy outdoor setting: something like this...



BBQ: like this...



An iPad:



A trundle for under Bryn's bed: like this...

2x 2 new matching doona and pillow sets for Dave and myself (single sets).
A King sized bed spread.



I also want to get my roots done (they're LONG overdue!!!).

I would LOVE to go to the movies and see something *I* would like to see!

Serving dishes: like these...





I could go on and on at this point in time.

There have been many years where I actually couldn't think of one single thing I would like. For some reason though, just recently, and especially with regard to our home, I have a real nesting urge, unlike anything I had when I was pregnant!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pink notices and Teddy Bear visits...

We always know when it's term again. It never takes long for the boys to bring home a pink notice from school. Pink notices, we are told by the school newsletter, are for very important information that requires prompt reply from the parents. Pink notices, we have discovered, actually require a response that involves us sending money to the school for one thing or another.

Hardly a week goes by without a pink notice (or 2 or 3!). There is always one in the first week, and often - like today - one on the very first day of school. The school tells us this is what they call school community participation. It is our way to express our appreciation for, and support of, our school.

Today's pink notice was for ANZAC Day festivities in the form of ANZAC biscuits and a cup of tea, followed by a sausage sizzle (each sausage will cost $2 - I'm pretty sure I can buy 1.5 dozen for $10, so they're going to make a killing on those sausages - pun fully intended).

Kindergarten doesn't have pink notices. So, we've had no reason to dread Bryn coming home from kinder until today.

Dread is probably too strong a term. Perhaps apprehension is more fitting. Anyway, whatever the feeling is that make us want to run away screaming at the sight of the boys take home folders after school each day - we haven't had that feeling whenever Bryn unpacked his bag...

Today that changed.

Today Bryn bustled out of Kinder with arms full of Woody the travelling teddy bear, Woody's overnight bag, and Woody's travel diary. It seems Woody has come home with Bryn on a surprise visit, and Bryn is to document said visit in Woody's diary.

Having read previous entries, it seems Woody likes to visit for about 36 hours, during which time he gets up to all sorts of exciting adventures, which the host child's parents photograph and document (with help from the child, no doubt) and then paste into the book.

Sadly, we have no means with which to print any photos, not even a functioning printer of any useful photographic quality (either colour or black and white). As well as this, it's not terribly likely Woody the Teddy is going to do anything particularly fun in the next 36 or so hours at our house as Tuesdays tend to be very quiet days at our house, usually involving Dave chasing Ari around and Bryn playing in his room or watching the box while I, er... study at my computer...

But of course, it wouldn't do to have Woody just sitting on the couch all day. So, essentially, it's up to me to entertain Woody (COME ON! I have to entertain a stuffed toy on my ONLY day at home during the week???)... Ye Gads, what will we do??? I've taken a couple of photos tonight; "Woody meets Ari" - a fitting caption for this photo might be, "He'd better not think he's staying - I'M the baby in THIS house... Do you think they'd notice if I tossed him down behind the shed?"

Then there's the one of Bryn sharing a book with Woody... That one is kind of cute, actually... After that, I'm kind of stumped. Who knew kinder would be so challenging?

Anyway, after Bryn and Woody went to bed. I caught this action shot of Ari "face diving" into the bean bag. This photo is mid-dive... Beautiful action there, leading with his nose - LOOK MUM, NO HANDS! Ah, yes, this child has NO FEAR...

And I could help but post this desaturated pic of the beautiful one.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

End of days...

Holidays that is.

It used to be that I dreaded holidays. Even before the boys started school. Everything feels different during the holidays. Public transport and public places certainly change, that's for sure. Before the boys started school, holidays meant no more peaceful outings for a while, because every family would be at the popular children's venues (homeschoolers really DO appreciate having those venues to themselves during term, LOL, you have NO IDEA how much nicer it is!)...

Then when the boys did start school, the holidays became this pressure cooker of togetherness where there was somehow an expectation of something special or exciting on the schedule each day (even though we had done NOTHING to create that expectation - except send them to school with children who's parents did lots to create that expectation in their own kids, who then shared that expectation with their friends, in an almost competitive manner, at times)...

I think, mostly, the holidays were hard because *I* myself didn't have that much to do during term, and so holidays ended up being MUCH-MORE-WORK days for me, personally.

That was until this last Summer. I really enjoyed the Summer holidays with the boys, and was sad to see them end... Then on the first day of term our entire lives were turned upside down sand castle style...

Term 1, 2010 was beyond crazy with school, Bryn experiencing kinder for the first time, me doing two courses and all of us moving house. Even when the holidays started, I was still on my third week of placement, so really we've only had about 10 days together...

It's gone so fast. During those 10 days we've had 2 birthday parties (one Luey attended, one family one for Dave). Erik had a play date. We've had two lots of friends over. We've sourced and bought and taken delivery of a new washing machine after our old one died. Had MIL over for a visit. My dad showed up out of the blue for a visit. Attempted to finish nearly all the unpacking and clean the house to my standards (which aren't that high, but higher than the previous occupants, that's for sure!). Been to the movies. It's been go, go, go, and now the holidays are over.

Term 2 promises to be as busy as term one, so I'm already looking forward to the mid-year holidays!

At least in term 2 I get to finish this course and gain my qualifications, which will hopefully lead to gainful part time employment to ease our financial troubles a bit. Even better if Dave got some full time work!!!

But now, I have to go and prepare us for the coming week - and really this blog post has been all about procrastinating from doing just that!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Just when you've cleared one hurdle...

So, for a month we've lived with the saga of the broken cold water in the shower and washing machine drainage pipe and electrical outlet in the laundry. The cold water pipe was finally replace on Thursday - Ah, a good shower fixes most things!!! The laundry washer drainage pipe was fixed at the same time. Then this morning the electrician came and fixed the faulty switch in the laundry so we were finally able to set the washing machine up in it's rightful position and plug it in without extension cords and EVERYTHING!

So, that what we did and the bloody washing machine DIED. It's been leaking water since we moved, but now it won't fill the washing machine at all.

DAMN IT!

I can't even tell you how tight money is atm... It's so tight, it's actually turning inside out. We're *just* managing (with much calling around on my part) to keep debt collectors from the door. We were supposed to repay MIL some of the money she loaned us for the move from the Bond refund, but that just hasn't happened. Some of it went onto part payment of bills, some on actual food. And now it looks like the rest of it (all $300) that is left will go on a reconditioned washing machine of some discription.

Meanwhile, I'm get letter after letter from the training facility through which I'm doing this Cert. 3 to please pay up the remaining $380 of the course fees by the middle of April... Not going to happen.

Last night I watched this documentary about stress... Pretty much, according to this, I'm in the process of slowly, but perhaps not so slowly killing myself with stress. Certainly, I'd expect my telomeres are resembling the frayed ends of shipping rope about now... My nerves are definitely frayed. Beginning to wonder when this hurdle race will end, and whether or not I'll actually make it to the end in one piece.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Inspired to challenge myself...

Was reading a friend's (StitchSista) blog where she'd given herself a set of challenges to achieve during a week and then come back to review her progress a week later, and found it inspiring - especially as recently I've really fallen into a hole when it comes to requiring much from myself.

So, I thought I'd do something similar... As it's currently the middle of the week, and I like things in a neat and orderly fashion - AND I'm thinking baby steps might be in order, just to ease myself back into things - I'm going to set myself goals to reach by Sunday night, in preparation for the new term starting on Monday...

  • Have breakfast by 10am each day and make it fruit!
  • Drink 8 glasses of water each day.
  • Submit a chapter of my manuscript to Moodle.
  • Write that Cert. III essay on Bronfenbrenner.
  • Take the boys to the movies (to see How to Train Your Dragon - courtesy of Nanna Bird).
  • Sort and clean the laundry and post before and after pics here!
I think that's enough for four days :)...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Hanging onto the past...

Just scanning my blog and saw my blog profile picture and had to have a chuckle at myself. It's not really an "old" picture, I think it was taken maybe a year ago or so, but oh my, it's really not a true reflection of me now... I feel like I've aged so much since that photo was taken, and goodness knows I've packed on a few pounds (ok, a few stone, but let's not be too pedantic at this hour)...

Funny how we hang onto romantic notions of ourselves as a form of self-preservation.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Sunday 2010

The very first thing I want to say in this blog is that this Easter Sunday has been DELIGHTFUL! No pestering from the kids to get eggs, no screaming hyped kids on sugar, no need for us olds to get cross or take away chocolate, none of the usual Easter Sunday trials and tribulations that usually leave Dave and I wondering why we bother... Something is very, very different this year, and yet, we haven't done anything differently... It's just been so wonderfully relaxed and enjoyable and yet exciting for us all with lots of yelps of glee and smiley faces (the way I always imagined Easter would be with my kids). For that I'm feeling very, very blessed today!

So, here are a few (ok, a lot, but you know what I'm like around a camera) photos of our day so far...

The boys were all so patient this morning. They got up, watched morning cartoons, had Sultana Bran and let me have s sleep in until nearly 10am!!! Then I got up, had a coffee and went to check if the Easter Bunny had been around, and sure enough, he had! So, I grabbed the trusty Canon and we went outside for happy snaps.

Ari, with his first egg find, that he wasn't going to show me for love or money!

Bryn found his first egg (he actually ran right past the closest egg, which he's facing in this photo but still can't see it!

Erik on the hop! Two eggs in hand, but where is that third one???

Ari! Look, Erik found one for you!

Whoo hoo! Egg #2 located safe and sound!

What this Luey Blue, an egg for you?

Maybe there are some more down the bottom of the garden (not likely!)...

The boys might be onto something, better follow them (on a wild egg chase!)...

But Bryn, what about the one you passed right at the beginning of the hunt?

Aha! He's finally seen it! Good onya little mate!

The haul! (each of the big boys eggs contained 2 mini eggs, Ari's contained 1 mini egg each)

But wait... There's more!!!

Whoops, better make sure these don't roll away - note Ari's intent determination to keep track of his yellow eggs...

And off course, what's Easter without a ceramic Clone Wars mug containing a large egg?

Farm animal bucket for Ari (And no, dear concerned readers, I do not intend to let him eat all that chocolate, though he did have a fair bit - three mini eggs and one of those small eggs - five small eggs have been secreted away)...

Now, at this point, most parents would be proudly bleating on about how their clever little prodigy totally ignored the chocolate and was far more interested in the farm animals, but not this little Bird. No, for the chocolate force is strong in him!

Oh yeah, the essence of life...

Meanwhile, another little Bird was being carried away on a tidal wave of chocolate bliss!

Sadly, Erik discovered his jaw was not detachable...

Bryn, giving it all he's got! I would have taken a picture of Luey's first bite, but the child was already half way through his egg by the time the other two older ones were even opening theirs... If I'm quicker next year, I might be able to catch him in time!

Once the mini eggs had been gobbled up, I used the egghunt eggs to make this Easter Egg tree - something my mum does every year (except with real painted egg shells, but I'm not that clever just yet, so plastic kitsch will have to do!)...

Teenagers and the failing parent...