Thursday, October 31, 2013

Let's talk about iPads in schools...


People who are friends with me on Facebook will know that one of the things preoccupying my thoughts at the moment is the introduction of a 1:1 iPad ratio at my childrens' primary school. We have had classroom iPads for a year or so now, and we also have laptops and desk tops in the classroom, so introducing 1:1 iPads is probably the next logical step in the IT progress of our school - and many schools in Melbourne.

The difference this time is that parents are expected to pay for these devices themselves.

We have a choice of hiring the iPads at $80 a term - or $320 per calendar year, or we can purchase an iPad of our child outright (a 16GB Wifi iPad retails for $449 at the app store, though I have seen sales of them around the $399 mark).

We can also do neither and then our children will share a classroom iPad with any other children who also do not have their own iPad.

It has been suggested that siblings can share one iPad - we have not had it explained how this would work with siblings who are in different areas of the school - perhaps a roster of days?

Putting aside the concern about increased exposure to screen time (we've been told they will only use the iPad, on average 20% of the time, or about an hour a day all up), I have several concerns about this new move.

On the 13th of November our politicians will vote on whether or not to scrap the school kids bonus. It seems likely at this point that the bonus will be scrapped. For my family, this means we will lose the potential of $2460 in assistance for the purchase (and hire) of educational costs.

At the same time we will be expected to pay a minimum of $2690 for the cost of 2 x iPad hire + 2 x laptop hire + 2 x $285 curriculum and services fees in primary school + 2 x $350 school fees in high school + 1 bare minimum high school uniform.

This does not include replacement uniform bits for three other children, incursions, excursions, free dress days ($2 donation per child each time), home insurance to cover iPads at home (compulsory), internet connections, Year 7 camp (which is highly recommended)...

Free public education is not free.

Even moving away from the money concerns... When asked if the teachers could teach without iPads and the students could learn without iPads, the school's response was twofold:

1) Yes, they can, but both teachers and students are more engaged in the presence of technology...

HELLO? Is that supposed to be reassuring? Are you telling me our teachers are not fully engaged in teaching? I'll tell you that that may be the reason the children are not fully engaged. Do Chinese kids all have iPads in China? Do Indian kids or African kids use iPads? I guess that is why they don't have any doctors or lawyers or teachers or business people in China, India, and Africa? Yes, I'm being facetious. The school is pretty much saying the iPads will save Australia's lagging literacy and numeracy rates, yes?

Well, no - a parent at the school asked if we will see a dramatic improvement in our children's learning outcomes and the staff got all flustered and said, 'Oh, it's not black and white like that!'

2) And the school asked us, 'Would we expect our doctors or dentists to work with old technologies?'

Um, no, but then again, my doctor doesn't expect me to buy the technologies she uses. I don't have to buy her computer or her blood pressure machine for her. Sure she may pass on those costs to me in appointment fees, but guess what, I don't pay out of pocket for those fees either - Medicare covers that because I'm on a ridiculously low income. I am medically not discriminated against because I don't earn over 100K.

I have yet to see how each child having their own iPad will improve their education and allow them to do things they could not have done with pencil and paper or their imaginations (someone think of the imaginations of these children!).

This is a lot of EXPENSIVE smoke and mirrors!

I tell you a tool that should be used and taught the use of in schools.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Start over...

I used to be something of a perfectionist. I drove myself crazy trying to do things just 'right'.

Mostly, I've let go of that tendency. Mostly, parenting has forced me to let go. I completely failed at being the perfect parent and unlike the first page of a novel, you don't get to do start overs on your kids.

And maybe that is a good thing, because it forces your to lift your game, but also to acknowledge your shortcomings and accept them for what they are - part of being human.

But sometimes, like today, I really wish I could just do a start over.

Today, so far, I've managed to leave my office keys at home - something I didn't realise until I was at the office. So, we had to double back, pick up the keys and then get back to the office. That blew off 40 minutes of my day.

I have blown of a further 45 minutes searching for an email I'm absolutely sure I didn't imagine, but cannot find anywhere. This has led to an embarrassing email needing to be sent to my supervisor telling her I can't find the email I'm sure she sent me nearly two weeks ago as a reference for work I should have been working on for the past 10 days, but haven't been because, you know, life.

None of this is helped by fluctuating hormones. I hate hormones, and I hate them most today. You see, today is peak PMS day for me and I am fully aware that the feeling I have that life and the universe is conspiring against me is pretty much just a result of plummeting progesterone levels. I'm fully aware that in a couple of days time, that feeling will go away even if nothing else actually changes in my life.

Wouldn't it be good if humans weren't at the mercy of their emotions, hey?

I'd love to do a start over of today; one where I put my keys in my handbag last night when I realised they were on my chest of drawers instead of where they should have been (in my handbag), and a start over where I actually read the attachment in the email I'm really, positively sure I didn't imagine getting a couple of weeks ago, instead of filing it under 'things I'll get back to, when I eventually remember'...


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Good Moaning... Welcome to my busy life!

I'm back at my desk. I didn't go to Uni all of last week, and I was on Burwood Campus for much of the previous week - so blogging has been a bit erractic.

Last week was CRAZY busy - hence not getting to Uni. By 10am Monday morning, I had already managed to forget an appointment and realise I had to squeeze even more into my week than I had anticipated. Things didn't get better after that!

Monday I had to make sure all the school transition papers were filled in for Ari, as well as submitted forms for the Artist Camp Fair Exhibition where I will be exhibiting these four paintings...

Tuesday I went and saw my psychologist - who has also been treating Erik's Autism - she was shocked at how the Paed had out of hand dismissed Erik's diagnosis without actually assessing him. So, we have decided to go with another Paed because the psych and the speech therapist (who do not know one another) both actually tested Erik and definitely agreed he was on the spectrum. The new Paed has experience with people of all ages on the spectrum, which we suspect the first Paed does not.

I had to also pick up some spray varnish to varnish my brother's 'Perfect Man'.

Wednesday, I had an appointment with the Disability Liaison Office here at Deakin. I explained that I was concerned the new limit on printing for PhD students would impede my ability to effectively review and edit my work. I also told them I am not at all happy about being at Greenwood campus, and having to navigate a busy stretch of road to get to Burwood campus where I need to be to do a lot of my work, meet my supervisor and so on. They are going to look into other options for me. Honestly, I don't care if I'm stuck in a closet, so long as I am on Burwood or Elgar campus.

Wednesday was also parent teacher meetings for Erik. I had the opportunity to pass on the psych and speech therapist reports to his mentor, who passed them onto the student wellbeing officer, who photocopied them and will pass them onto Erik's various teachers. The mentor was not particularly engaged with the reports (this is the only way I can think of describing his reaction). He had previously told us he could not believe there was anything 'wrong' with Erik, because Erik is such a delight in his classroom. During last week's meeting I asked what Erik excels in most in his class (Science) and it came to light Erik excels at the pracs. It also came to light the teacher runs through the pracs in a hands on manner, then asks the students to duplicate his own actions. Well, of course, Erik does well with this - it is hands on, concrete, repetitious and does not ask Erik to initiate thought or use his imagination.

We met his math teacher, who is about 12, but thoroughly delightful and seems to be bringing out a willingness to work in Erik.

We also met his new history teacher, who had noticed Erik hangs out at the noisiest table in the room and may or may not be playing computer games instead of working - we suggested she keep him at a desk closer to her during class.

Wednesday night we had the iPad information session for parents at the primary school. I think the people running the session thought they were going to impress parents with how awesome a 1:1 iPad ratio would be for their kids. I don't think they were at all prepared for parents who already had misgivings about having to buy or rent iPads at their own cost for multiple children, or having their children exposed to iPads throughout the day, or even the choice of iOS over other platforms such as Surface and Android.

I was the first to raise my hand and ask a question, which was to ask them to explain further how moving from a 3D environment to a 2D environment would be beneficial for kinaesthetic learners. At first the researcher said she didn't believe learners were only visual, auditory or kinaesthetic and therefore it shouldn't be too difficult for students to adapt, she asked if that answered my question. I said it didn't and explained that I do believe people have a dominant mode of learning and that some students would be dominantly kinaesthetic, and how would working in a 2D environment be beneficial to those learners. She said, she believed that kinaesthetic learners needed to develop visual and auditory learning skills. She said they needed to move from the concrete to the abstract. I don't disagree with this, however, as most 5 years are quite concrete, I have to wonder if struggling with the basics of learning because of the 2D environment, won't create an unstable basis for future learning, thus undermining learning right from the start. She knew, and the staff who were in attendance, knew, that this had not been given enough consideration.

Mostly, I was unimpressed with the information session, it was a lot of smoke and mirrors with several bits of footage of our kids to melt our stance (which wasn't overly successful because so many parents held grave concerns about this new direction).

One parent asked about the safety to our children's health being exposed to wifi all day long at such a young age - the researcher and staff had to admit they had not even considered this; they actually asked parents to research this for them and forward any findings. Brilliant.

On Thursday, I spent the morning varnishing Danny - my brother's 'Perfect Man'. The spray varnish was a fail. it caused the layer of paper mache to become translucent, it also did not cover the entire mannequin, which I didn't realise until Friday.


Friday was insane!

In the morning we had to get the kids ready for school and kinder while also putting wire on the back of Erik's painting, putting affirmations into George's crocheted heart, vanishing Danny with water based paint on varnish, then dropping the boys off before heading out to drop off Danny and George.

George in the display window at Malvern Artist's Centre on High Street, Malvern.
After dropped of Erik's painting, Danny and George and our submission forms. We headed over a friend's house to pick up some candelabra and candle holders she had picked up on hard rubbish for me.

This needed a good scrub, but was otherwise fine.

There were in perfect condition!

I am constantly shocked at what people will toss on hard rubbish!

Friday night I went to another friend's house for a Chef's Toolbox party - and didn't order anything - and was treated to an amazing chicken and mushroom risotto, cooking in 8 minutes in a pressure cooker, followed by the most scrumptious self saucing chocolate puddings serves with fresh double thick cream - yum, yum, yum!

On Saturday, my parents came over to watch the kids while the Grumpy Old Man and I went out to do birthday shopping for Ari and grocery shopping for us. Then had to drop Erik off at a friend's birthday party for a sleep over.

Saturday night I went to birthday and post graduation party for a friend's partner. Then I came home and blew up balloons and wrapped presents for Ari's fifth birthday.

Sunday, the Grumpy Old Man and I were woken up to squeals of delight over the carpet of balloons in Ari's room!

We rarely allow the boys to have balloons because they become so excited playing with them, but as we ended up not giving Ari a birthday party this year (as planned) due to lack of fund, we decided to relax the balloon rules this week.

Then it was present time. Since the move to the new house, and having to give away the back yard toys due to a lack of room in our new back yard, Ari has been a bit unsure of what to do with himself outside, so we decided to remedy that this birthday...

His very own soccer ball - no more nicking Luey or Bryn's!

Ooops, this is a bit blurry. It's actually a rubber dog toy shaped as a pig and it snorts. Ari just loves how Peppa Pig's family snorts, so this was a bit of a novelty prize.

Soccer goals to kick his ball into!

A kiddie golf set which can also be used with the goals. 
Totem tennis!

This Cranky the Crane had been on lay-by for weeks, Ari was so excited to get it!

The big surprise present was this trans-temporal sonic screwdriver. It makes 8 different sounds and lights up. Ari had previous had a 5th doctor sonic which made a sound but did not light up and he was constantly 'borrowing' one of the other boys sonics because he loves the light so much.

After presents we set out to pick Erik up from the sleep over before driving down to the Malvern Artist's Centre for the Brushes with Life exhibition on High Street in Malvern!

I had my 'Light' photo exhibiting and Erik had his untitled cube earth on exhibition as well as the two mannequins by my brother and I.

There were some really loving pieces being exhibited. Mostly realistic landscapes, flora, fauna. Some photograph, but only one piece I would really call abstract. This might reflect the average age of the painters, I don't know. I'm such a huge fan of abstract, but it often doesn't make it into exhibitions, I have noticed (or maybe I'm just attending the wrong exhibitions). Anyway, this was my favourite piece in show...

I'm obviously referring to the abstract at the top of this photo. I love the vibrant colour and the lines and the hint of something indecipherable written behind those lines. I found myself repeatedly coming back to this piece - if only I had had the $500 being asked for it!

Monday I was determined to head into the office, but I woke up feeling completely wrung out, so I stayed home (today I realised I'd missed a doctor's appointment as well as a writing seminar, d'oh!). I wasn't a complete sloth though. In the afternoon, I tackled cleaning my studio (a.k.a. the kitchen nook with its gorgeous lighting)... I had managed to get paint splashes all over the floor in there over the last three months - and also in the dining room, and while I had washed the floor in the meantime, the paint really needed to be scraped off, so I spent a good two hours sitting on the floor with a spatular and a magic sponge getting all the drips up. It looked great - if boring - by the end... Last night I started painting again, hahaha!

Finally, that brings us to today. Here I sit at work, having realised I left all my work at home. Don't worry, there is stuff I can get on with, but seriously my brain is up on blocks at the moment, out to lunch, in a coma, what have you - it is not working!

Next weekend is the auction of the 'Perfect Men' to benefit Impact for Women and the closing event for the exhibition. The following weekend is our primary school's fair; where I'm exhibiting the four pieces mentioned above, followed by the Deakin Uni Mature Age Student Club (MASC) Ball.

Before the fair and the ball though, I still have to write 2000 words towards my literature review and pump out a few more stories as well.

And that's me life at the moment. Not that I'm complaining, I love being busy - I just need to make sure to squeeze in some down time here and there...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Look at me, listen to ME!

this post was written last week, but I forgot to publish it...

Study is getting real.

I had another meeting with my supervisor on Monday - it was our first meeting in about five weeks and I was quite nerous that I had only reviewed five articles and written five stories, but she was really happy with the amount of work I had achieved.

Now though, she has said it is time to stop reading for a little bit and get started on writing my literature review. At my colloquium in May, I will have to ;present my proposal which will including a literature review of my topic area (so, just as it sounds, I have to have read most of the literature pertaining to my subject area and then start grouping together researchers who agree with one another and those who take a different point of view, and then I have to state where I stand on the topic and what new research I will be bringing to this topic.

The topic I am researching is fairly new - flash fiction - it isn't a new practice by any stretch of the imagination, but basically most practioners of flash fiction haven't bothered to theorise about the practice.

So, now is the point where I start to put myself out there and it is pretty daunting because in a field like economics or education where there is a long history or research and theorising, it is quite easy to hide - to put forward your unique view point but mostly be ignored because you are researching a tiny facet of a much larger body of research. I don't mean completely ignored as if your research is irrelevant, but it won't be, but I mean other researchers on your topic will be preoccupied with their own teensy area of research.

With flash fiction though because there is so little research and most of it has been preoccupied with defining and differentiating flash fiction from other forms of writing, I'm about to come along and say, 'Hey, let's move on from there and talking about some what flash fiction has to offer writers and readers and why it is an important literary form.' - and no one - at least not in any peer reviewed journal has ever really done that yet, so I will really be putting myself out there and saying, 'Look at me, listen to what I have to say.' and people looking into flash will not help but see me and read my stuff.

This is both very exciting and very intimidating!

Which might be why, since Monday, I have found it very challenging to sit down and write the stuff I really already know very well. To put my point of view out there as an equal to people who have been reading and writing flash longer than I have and who probably have already thought about the stuff I'm going to be presenting, but just haven't had the time or incentive to publish this stuff for themsselves.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Things I know about short fuses...

Wow, it's been a while since I've done one of these. I really do like the 'things I know' meme, I've been doing it on and off (mostly off, mind you) since its inception. Being something of a quiet fan of Rhianna's, I was a bit excited to find out she is hosting this meme for a little bit - then I totally forgot about it last week, d'oh, but I'm here now...

So, things I know about short fuses...

  1. I have a short fuse, I've always had a short fuse. Maybe because I have a short attention span - who knows. I'm sure it's genetic though, both my mum and dad have short fuses. My brother's fuse is longer but when it goes - Ka-Blamy!!! 
  2. My eldest recently pointed out to me that my youngest two have it pretty good, that I don't lose my cool with them nearly as much as I did with him and Luey. I had to apologise to him for that, and admit Bryn and Ari have been very lucky because Erik and Luey taught me so much. I know my parenting fuse has gotten longer, but not without cost to my older boys.
  3. I know my fuse is badly affected by hormonal fluctuations. And I know, that is an irritating thing to admit to. I definitely have a short fuse about two days before my period and again about day three of my cycle. I'm not sure why it is so specific, but I've been tracking it for a while now and it's fairly consistent...
  4. I know my fuse is shorter when I feel threatened. If I'm under stress, or I feel as if I'm not getting my fair share of recognition, my fuse burns at an enormous rate. Recognition is my language of love. I need to have my achievements, abilities, and talents recognised. I don't need presents, and I don't need a lot of physical contact, but when people recognise and value the work I have done, my fuse burns very slowly.
  5. A blown fuse can be a bit like an orgasm. I often find a great sense of relief once the fuse has reached it's ultimate conclusion and the tension between my growing annoyance and fighting to remain in control and calm is over. Sadly, this usually means putting relationships at risk. Sometimes I just wish I didn't have a fuse at all. Sometimes I feel having a fuse means I'm alive, I care about stuff enough to get annoyed. Sometimes I think I should take up Zen buddhism. Most of the time I'm just confused.
  6. I haven't found an effective way to douse a fuse that is burning too quickly - I am very much open to suggestions!
What do you know?

A Parenting Life Things I Know

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Obsessed with being smaller...

One of my Facebook friends just posted asking why her gym is full of advertising about losing weight - why the focus on weight loss over health gain?

I immediately thought, well, because becoming smaller sells.

Which led me to wonder why women in our society are obsessed with becoming smaller. It is as if women want to disappear. They need smaller thighs and a smaller bum and a smaller waist. Okay, so a fair few want bigger boobs, but that's about the only thing most women would wish to have more of.

Men on the other hand are obsessed with becoming bigger. They want bigger muscles, and of course, a bigger penis.

What does that say about us? Humanity.

What does that say about the balance of power.

My mum is quite tall for a woman and both her partners have been shorter than her. She has said to me that she sometimes feels too big. Mostly, I wonder, if it isn't that the men have felt too small.

You see, men are supposed to be powerful and protective of 'their woman', right?

Isn't that a strange way to think?

Somewhere, deep down inside of us, we seem to have this belief we should be overpowered by men - why?

Why is it important that we are smaller than men, physically?

Why is it important that we are lighter than men - not too heavy for men?

Why is it important that we don't overshadow men?

What is that?


In the natural world the female of the species is often larger than the male of species - think spiders. So, there can't be a particularly strong argument it is nature that determines men should be bigger and stronger and more powerful.

I think women need to let go of the notion to be attractive to men, we must be smaller than the man we are with.

That is all.

P.S. No wait... I tried googling 'big woman, small man' for an image to go with this blog... I wouldn't recommend doing that. It seems this concept so goes against our conditioning the vast majority of images involve ridiculing men and women for being 'the wrong size'. If the man is short or lightweight, or the woman is tall or large, then we must assemble them in positions which mock them for being 'the wrong size'. What a sad, sad world we live in.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Running out of things to say...

I'm sure you've heard about old married couple who have run out of stuff to say to one another after living together for decades, right?

Well, let me first assure you this is not happening in my marriage. We've only been together for 17 years, anyway, but we aren't close to having nothing left to say to one another, even though we spend more time together than most couples I know.

However, I have been feeling that way with this blog recently.

I've been writing on this blog for seven years and ten months (according to Linkedin), and recently I've been feeling like I have nothing much to say.

I never thought this would happen.

I'm never really stuck for words - ask anyone who sees me in person!

I have a full and busy life, I just don't feel inspired to write about it as much as I used to.

Maybe I just don't feel like people would be that interested. Maybe it's because I've already written about most of it before, I mean, four kids, all boys, they do a lot of the same stuff as each other. Telling you guys that Ari is into everything all the time is not exactly groundbreaking when Erik, Luey and Bryn were also into everything constantly at this same age.

Telling you guys that having the Liberal Government running the country with their ceaseless greed and lack of compassion threatening our household income at every turn is also not exactly news worthy - yes, even I am sick of hearing myself complain about being endlessly broke.

I had a couple of tattoos refreshed. They're not new tattoos, just old tattoos that I added colour to. I guess I could show you those...

Don't worry about all the white flecks, they will disappear as the tattoo heals.

What you can't see in the original photo is how the tattoo ended up healing badly with several striations of dropout horizontally along the length of the quill.

Mike decided to go darker when he recoloured the quill for me last weekend. I really like it now because there is a metaphor working now with the dark and light side of writing. Also, the orange and blue are more striking this time around.

Um, what else...

See, nothing really.

Oh well, I guess I'll just trundle along and see what happens.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Holiday hangover...

It's the first day of term four and I'm so happy it is finally here! At the same time, I feel myself already dreading the summer holidays in just ten and a bit week's time.

One thing I've learned during the past three weeks is that it is very hard to motivate myself to do work when the kids are at home. It is also a lot more expensive to have the kids home because there is less motivation to do a fortnightly shop (when you have kids in tow) and generally because the Grumpy Old Man and I find ourselves feeling very stretched with all the extra energy in the house.

I feel so out of touch with my PhD at the moment. I have been meaning to get onto a range of things - scholarship and grant applications, dealing with Erik's doctors, sorting out my health, but I struggle when all day there are these little people around asking for attention and things to be done for them and well, just draining my energy.

Whinge, whinge.

I'm certainly no supermum. I am not one of those ever cheerful, ever bursting with fun ideas, ever infatuated with my children, mums.

Sometimes I wish I was one of those mums - a fun mum, a devoted Mum (with a capital mmmm).

I guess, I'm just not.

Right now, I feel drained and as though I need a holiday after these holidays. I could sleep for a week, and then I'd like a research assistant personal trainer, to whip my butt into gear. To make me sit down and devise some sort of plan and then stick to that plan and get back into research shape!

A conversation I had the other day on Facebook has me feeling a bit down about my research, actually.

While discussing an article, I made an off hand comment about Tony Abbott making daft statements about valuable research to be funded and 'wasting' funding on rubbish research. Turns out the person I was saying this to agrees with Tony. I suppose a lot of people do agree that cancer research is more valid and valuable than non-life-saving research.

If I had to choose between saving a life and encouraging people to write flash fiction, I know I would choose saving a life as well.

So, my research probably doesn't deserve to be publicly funded.

The thing is, I don't have an aptitude for medicine or science.

Also, I can't get work with my current skills set and disability.

So, the public is funding my lifestyle anyway. I feel like such a waste of space sometimes, as if I have nothing to offer anyone that they value.


I like to think my research will encourage people to understand that flash fiction can and is often literary fiction, and it will encourage people to read more (because being short it is also very accessible), and through reading more literary writing people will be encourage to turn over ideas and empathise and think more deeply, and maybe through that people will be encouraged to engage with their world in a meaningful way - maybe even in life saving ways.

I know it's a very long bow to draw. I know.

Not every researcher can be scientific and medical. If every researcher were, we might well cure cancer more quickly, but maybe we'd have a poorer understanding of our own inner workings? Maybe our understanding of sociology would suffer? Maybe our understanding of creativity would diminish. Without creativity humans would not be dominating this planet the way we do. Creativity speaks to something non-biological, be it the mind or the spirit - depending on your philosophical viewpoint - humans are more than corporeal - and we know this because of philosophy and because of questioning the non-essential mechanics of life. Essentially because of the kind of research Tony Abbott would deem a waste of taxpayer money.

If humans were machines I would find it easier to agree that there are 'wasteful' forms of research, but humans are far more complex than machines.

I guess people would view my field of research as non-essential, fluffy, indulgent, a waste of the tax payer dollar.

The conversation has left me battling the feeling that I am a waste of space, that my work is a waste, that my love of research for the gaining of knowledge and understanding without necessarily saving a life is a waste of energy.

Or maybe it's just the holiday hang over talking.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Kids! Can't live without them, can't give them away...

Hello second week of the school holidays - a.k.a. third week of the school holidays on account of two kidlets being sick for a week, two weeks ago...

I'm finally back in the office, and it's oh so quiet! I can actually hear myself think.

Sadly, thinking is about all I will be doing today as I discovered this morning that one of my darlings had absconded with my thumb drive.

This is where I admit I have made the grave mistake of backing up all my research and writing in one place... You know it! On that thumb drive.

Every PhD student knows this is a very big no-no. But you see, I've really only just started work and I and had plans of buying a portable hard drive, and also backing everything up on drop box (when I either pay to expand my already busting-at-the-seams account or create a new account (which would be my third dropbox account).

I guess it is good the little ratbag cherub (whichever boy he is) stole my thumb drive this early in the piece. I can retrieve my pathetically small number of reviews and stories from emails I have sent to my supervisor over the past three months.

Still, I could cheerfully throttle my kids right now. NOTHING is sacred, is it?

You know the Toddler Rules of Posession?


Yes, well, in my experience, it doesn't only pertain to toddlers, but also to teenagers - and every age in between!

I'm participating in this weeks IBOT over a EssentiallyJess - come and play with us.

Good Job!