Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I've just been over at Big Blueberry Eyes admiring the gorgeous Santa photos. It made me think about our belief in Santa. I honestly can't recall when I believed in him or when I stopped believing in him.

 I don't think Kit really believes in Santa anymore (I know the little kid who decided to tell everyone when he was in Year 1 that Santa wasn't real :-( - I told his mum I'd string her boy up by his little ears if he spoiled our family Christmas   :-) - which seemed to help cos she is a friend and knew I meant it!)....I think as a parent I am learning that the magic of Christmas isn't diminished by knowing about Santa - we give ourselves permission to 'suspend belief' and everyone has a good time.

Last year I wasn't going to worry about a Santa photo - but then my nephew was staying with us and I thought it would be nice to get one with him in it to send home to his mum (my sister) so I lined the kids up at DJs - much shorter queues for Santa there. Today was the kids last day of year 2 and they were very tired but I was determined that we would hit the local Westfields - for Hannah to choose a pair of pjs for her father for Christmas...we ended up as you often do when out with kids after school... making a mad dash for the bathrooms. The toilets happened to be next to Santa's station - but he wasn't there. What was there was a gorgeous nutcracker photo frame...well I just couldn't resist. We might make it back for a Santa photo but even if we don't each year I will have a very special spot for my Christmas photo to go. I love it!

On the pjs front - my DH is quite a conservative dresser - a fact that Hannah likes to challenge - with her own fashion statements and when she chooses him socks - bright spotty/stripey numbers to go with his business suits.. or Superman TShirts for the weekends or today - Pajama shorts navy - covered in big red love hearts 'cos I LOVE my Daddy!' she kept exclaiming. Kit noticed ones nearby with a deck of cards theme - the hearts on which were a little less 'loud' - so we gave her a choice but no...the loud shorts were her pick. I think he'll love them anyway. Wearing them when we go away with some other families from school - well that will remain to be seen! lol

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


My babies turned 8 this year... it wasn't quite the same as turning 7 in Florence but it was pretty good. In a moment of madness I thought that it might be time to introduce separate parties - after all Hannah was really keen on a 'girls only' tea party and Kit wanted a Minecraft sleepover...but what about the girls that Kit is also friends with and the boys who are wonderful friends to Hannah? So we opted for a third 'combined' do as well. Madness Yes I know...and that was before the reality of how busy my work was going to be became clear and well before I knew that Hannah was developing croup and before I found out that the twins would be performing at a local streetfair the day before their birthday for their disability dance group. I had to withdraw Hannah from the performance as she was feverish and not well. In fact poor love had a febrile seizure on the front lawn on her actual birthday as I was locking up the house to take her to the doctors for the croup. She is such a trooper though and managed to smile and celebrate as well as fade and rest. Still there were some wonderful times and as always I am so very glad to have them in my life and here with me to celebrate their brithday. Their arrival changed so many things in my life - I can never be the same person I was before them and overall I think that my life is so much richer for having them in my care. I could not wish for more.

 Their last day as 7 year olds - Kit performed at the local festival and in the afternoon - because we thought they'd have school on their birthday we gave them a present each - Hannah's Baby Alive and Kit a Pokemon game for his ds.

 But at breakfast the next morning it was pretty clear that Hannah was not up to going to school...
 although she tried to get into the spirit of her birthday when opening the presents...
 She just couldn't do it.
 With some redipred in her and an afternoon of resting she managed to enjoy the strawberry birthday cake
Then it was time for the minecraft sleepover:

Somewhere in there the twins made their first reconciliation

 and then somewhere in there their father's band had their debut performance...
and he had to fly up to the NSW/QLD border for his uncle's funeral before returning to Sydney in time for the joint birthday celebration - a performance of The Lion Witch and Wardrobe. It was great - as you can see Hannah's favourite character was Lucy. There was party food and games run by the young actors at the end of the show. Loads of fun but such a stressful time from an organisational point of view - maybe next year we should consider taking them out of the country for it ...

Monday, December 17, 2012

my christmas gift from my virtual world to the www

disability dance

As well as participating in a 'regular' dance school Hannah also goes to a dance group for children with a disability. This year Kit did too - as a volunteer. The concert for the year happened on the weekend and was wonderful. There is something about the crowd. At the regular concert the audience glow with pride and clap loudly - it is all very 'civilised'. At this concert the dancers are ALL idiosyncratic and the crowd simply wild - the room surges with energy - clapping, cheers, foot stomping, loud laughter - you name it and of course the pride so strong it brings tears to your eyes. The first time I experienced it I couldn't believe it - it was awesome.

Watching all the dancers - I could see why it was at this concert where Hannah was nervous - she didn't want to come out of the changing room except to go straight up onto the stage. Watching in the darkened showroom, amongst all the noise and mayhem was intimidating for her so she and I spent quite a bit of time backstage together. A pity - cos I love watching the other dancers... but I did get to see my very favourite one - her and Kit danced together for one number - beautiful!


Hannah loves to dance. When she was just 2 I put her and her brother into a music - rhythm and movement class - just for fun. That class kept progressing until it became a keyboard class - Hannah did the first book twice....but by then she had started school. I wasn't prepared to oversee/demand she practice her keyboard on top of all the adjustments and homework she was getting from school. So we tried dance. Of the studios I rang (3 I think) only 1 rejected us outright because I was upfront and told them she had DS. I chose the one that had sounded the most happy and confident about her inclusion. It has been a success. Each year I used to pray and hope Hannah would tell me that she didn't want to go anymore - no particular reason except that I find the 'ballet mum' scene quite intimidating and Hannah is a bit of a 'wonky dancer' so I was worried about how the teachers and other families saw her - did they too think that once she'd passed the cute prejuniors stage it was time to move on elsewhere???
Every year when I asked her if she wanted to continue she'd say 'YES' and so I'd gird the loins and sign up for another season....This year has been her best performance. She  does Musical Theatre - and it was obvious to me that she is benefitting from the eperience. It was also clear how happy her teacher is to have her continue. The other families were all very enthusiastic about her performance...and so we are back again next year. Here she is in her Annie costume

 This year is the first year I bought the Concert dvd - Hannah loves watching it. We just want to ffd to Annie but she likes watching the 'big girls' who are on it first. Yes she is growing up...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nutcrackin' time

Finally Christmas is almost here and there is just a little breathing space beforehand. It has been a hectic semester....the house is decorated but with less lights out the front this year, it's been that kind of year I guess. I did however manage to make christmas bunting for the kids:

Yes we have adopted a Nutcracker theme this year. The brats' godmother gave them Ella Bella and the Nutcracker book for their birthday - they LOVED it....
and so our theme was decided. I made Kit a quilt for it.

It's got a very light fabric layer - perfect for our summer Christmas and Kit loves it - he sleeps with it and in the morning he brings it out to sit on the lounge with it draped across his lap. On movie nights he goes and gets it and snuggles with it in front of the tele - the perfect quilt - practical, pretty and loved. It makes me glad I spent the time putting it together. I even have the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies as my ringtone...
At the same time as we are waiting for Christmas with anticipation I am including in my prayers a friend whose baby was stillborn - just last month. Totally unexpected. And a little boy we know who was diagnosed with leukemia in August and still has about 18 months of treatment to face, although thank goodness he is doing well and alive....finally I need to add the families in America - the teacher in me feels a terrible ache - for the kids of course but also for the staff - we don't think about it often (thank goodness we don't need to usually) but I feel responsible for my students, for their learning and their emotional, social heartbreaking to be confronted by a madman. To deal with the aftermath or to lose your life 'on the job' as some did. I hope Christmas with the aches it doubtless holds for these people  also brings some healing, faith in the beauty of the human spirit as well as our pain. Small signs of the healing that follows.....

Friday, December 14, 2012

Spoiler Alert!

I've graduated!

Oops..yes I have graduated - but so has Kit. He has finished the junior part of his keyboard classes. Next year he will be eligible to sit for the AMEB (Australian Music Examination Board) exams for keyboard if he wants to (Yikes) and I will be able to say that I have a postgrad certificate in Special Eduction. Yay!
That means that some of the posts I have written (either in my head or in draft word docs) can be unleashed upon the Shams...sometime over the holidays - which for me started today. The kids still have a few days to go...
Lots has been happening in the DOck, almost as much as has not been happening I think.
My little brat is doing well. here is a pic:
She has been dancing up a storm. I wish her reading had been progressing half as much as her speech or her dance moves ... but that is another post. For now - hello old friend. I hope to see more of you now that study and a rather stressful working year have been 'put to bed'.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Special People

Things have been busy here in the Dock...lots of celebrations and a few tears too. But mostly the former. We all headed north in August to celebrate my Dad turning 70 and my eldest sister turning 50. It was a wonderful mid winter break...

Our first stop was at a great pet friendly motel in Woolgoolga.
Then we arrived in the northern beach suburbs of favourite part of my hometown.
 my holiday reading stash

The house was across the road from the beach...but of course life isn't always rainbows and roses is it? By making the 12 hour road trip across 2 days - we increased our intake of junk food by at least double...and who wants to take on the roadtrip challenge when one of your children has diarrhea? Poor Hannah - we stopped as often as we could and only lost one pair of undies which I deemed to be irretrievable after the queue at one of the rest area loos proved to be too long. In hindsight we are lucky it was her - the girl has great bladder control even in those circumstances...whereas the first day in our holiday house..when Kit was 'hit' with the bug..well let me just say it wasn't pretty! Lucky he could stay and enjoy the beautiful views while Dad and I took little brat down to the beach to play.

Before the birthday party we managed to get out and about a bit - had a great visit at the Abbey Museum at Caboolture followed by lunch at Bribie Island. We also made it to the QLD Art Gallery for the wonderful Prado exhibition.

And finally - it was time for the party. It was held at my sister's place - she has a mega yard on the outskirts of Brisbane. The days were lovely and warm but the nights still got quite chilly so my BIL had dug a fire pit and chairs were placed around it. Mum's brother travelled over from Albany WA - we haven't seen him in years - it was wonderful to see him. Her sister and cousin came too - and Robin brought his guitar so the oldies could have a singalong around the fire as the evening wore on - a great atmosphere for the golden oldies and Slim Dusty tunes they sang. My fave was 'sad movies' - I used to love that song and haven't even thought about it in at least 20 years I reckon.

 The yard looked so pretty:
 The kids had their party gear on:
 The lolly buffet was set up:
Everyone was ready to party. Such an enthusiastic and happy occassion. My Dad is awesome - as is my big sister. Dad is the gentle patriarch of the family while my sister keeps tabs on everyone in the extended family with patience and care...she even has a blog dedicated to the family history. Dad's sisters were there as were many of our cousins and some of their children.

 Getting all the clan together for a photo proved to be impossible but dad gave it a valiant go.
 Time for some cake-cutting
 One of the best things about the night was that it was the first time in years that us 3 girls have been together with Dad for a celebration...normally we have been split up at Christmas times since before Mum died, so it was great to be all together again and much as I hate having my photo taken I couldn't miss this opportunity.
 Hannah and my nephew's stepdaughter get on really well. I think they'd be great mates if they lived closer.
My nephew's daughter is not yet 2 and crashed very early but having her there made us all, especially her proud great grandfather very happy. She is the new generation and as such a vital part of these sorts of celebrations. She is also as cute as a button!

There is more to say on special people...and I will try and blog a bit on them later - am suffering a bit of a summer cold at the moment so need to take another nap....just briefly I was very lucky to have my SILs 4 kids stay for a weekend while she underwent major surgery. Her youngest who is an absolute doll stayed on for a couple of extra days too. The surgery went well although recovery is a long process - my SIL is a very special person.
Also as it is father's day this weekend...there is a particular family in my thoughts - a gorgeous little boy whose brother is friend's with Kit and Hannah was recently diagnosed with leukemia...and I know that his Dad must be under enormous stress as he guards his family on the perilous and difficult journey they have only just begun.
The twins dancing concert at the local street festival went well - they were very impressive.
A gorgeous little boy who has been friends with Hannah since kindy read a delightful poem about his 'friend Hannah' at the school assembly - his mum sent me a video of it - and it brought a tear to my eye  - and made me feel so proud of the wonderful children at the twins' school.
So yes some tricky times to deal with but so many people and events to celebrate....
And lastly the holiday ended with a big bang or a last hurrah that was a highlight for the kids...a farmstay at Kempsey: