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'.