Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Family holidays

As the holidays draw to a close and the new school year looms large I am feeling a bit sad - all this free time and I still haven't ..... And ..... Oh my how will I ever cope with the return to the rhythm of our daily grind ... And .... #thelearningjourneygetssteeper!

So as I draw in a deep deep breath I'm going to start by reflecting on the holiday that was before tackling the year that is.

We've had our eclectic sparkles and lace on and lots of it's been fabulous.

A week at our favourite beach for example.
I'm here!
This boy just loves his time in the sun - no lack of things to do - and not a device in sight.

There's games for all.

Some flora and fauna from the yard
And a family bush walk in the arboretum 
More time at the beach
Hannah and I did a yoga class, Kit walked the hound.
And back to the beach.
And a spot of fishing.
An ice cream or two.
And fish and chips too.
There's a great set of swings near the seafood shop.
It was fun. A house that slept lots so Ps siblings came and stayed. Nan and Pop drove up for lunch one day. A family we're friends with through the kids school came up in the second part of the week and then another family joined us too so between Ps family at the start of the week and those friends at the end it was a relaxing but busy time. We managed the in renovated kitchen sans dishwasher magnificently and enjoyed the variety of company.

It did make me think though - it would be years since P has lived with his siblings - all under one roof (although technically his brother and fiancé were out in the converted garage/cottage). I can't imagine ever surviving even a few nights like that with my sisters. But then it's all about circumstances isn't it? My family all live a thousand kms away. P is one of 4 children - 2 of whom have cancer and 2 live in Sydney too. So circumstances aligned with a sizable holiday house - it was an opportune time for the siblings to holiday together. Ps brother was first diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer after collapsing midway thru last year. Two surgeries and some ongoing chemo and although it's clearly a grim road in the end everyone is quietly enjoying this stage where he is able to get out and about most of the time and we get to appreciate our time with him. One of Ps sisters has breast cancer - it's an ongoing journey for her but man she's doing great! We are all a bit in awe of this mad mum of 4 who is determinedly living her life - and returning to the paid workforce as her youngest heads off to school. So yeah - it's not about our families being that different but like so many happy happenstances that occur in this life (like twins or extra chromomes), circumstances, opportunity and luck gave us some memories to treasure forever. Best of all are the memories the kids now have :-)

Thursday, January 08, 2015


for some reason an old friendship has been playing on my mind these holidays. This person was my best friend from grade 4 through until we both finished teacher's college. It must be almost 25 years since I have seen her. I am wondering how she is doing and where she is. Why is she on my mind? I have thought about her on and off at various times - like when I got married and she wasn't there.... or when my twins were little .... and she doens't even know they exist.

I have a couple of good close friends and a number of really wonderful friends I get to spend time with and share lifes joys and hardships with, yet I still miss that early close friendship - or is it the person I miss?

Anyway I hope she isn't in my thoughts due to some strange cosmic phenomena. I hope that she is well and happy whereever she may be.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015



It was worth It's been a quiet week in the Dock so far. Took the kids to the nsw art gallery to see Pop to Popism. It was really good - not a lot that I like (I'm very fussy about what modern art I like) but lots of significant works well laid out for us to enjoy. 

Kit who has long loved Monet found it all a bit confusing.
It was worth taking him as those moments where he experiences 'firsts' are not as common as when he was younger.

Hannah loved all the colours.
And the popcorn cafe midway through.

We called in the kids room and decorated a soup an or two.
Then we found a giant icecream money box
I think they had enough fun to want to return for the kids access workshop later in the month.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Cleaning Up

Yesterday was spent fruitfully reclaiming the house - today I think it is the garden's turn..... So while I painted some pine furniture for the kids room P dug out a couple of shrubs that were dying and then decided to create a proper border for the front garden. I did a little weeding and planting of our orchard but the heat definitely won the day. Sitting here blogging with Prosecco in hand.

Kids enjoyed the laziness all this activity afforded them. I'm still seeking the ideal reading material - hence whiling my time here (lol). I am part way through Building A+ Better Teacher which is interesting and a couple of chapters into All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, but then I think b**#r it - I'm on holidays, maybe it's time to reread Lord of the Rings Vol1-3 or maybe just paddle through an Agatha Christie? 

I know it's such a mundane dilemma but believe me I do appreciate how lucky I am to have no greater concerns at the moment.

Here's today's pic collage - can you see that Hannah is wearing her rather old glasses cos she put her new ones on her Anna doll and Elsa is sporting Hannah's favourite pajama top. I painted the furniture white and P did the flower bed edging but it is very hot and sticky here today so now we are relaxing with a glass of Prosecco. 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

It's a New Year.

I am loving our summer holidays. 6 weeks really gives you time to party and to wallow and to get some jobs done too. This morning Dad and my nephew snuck out in the wee small hours to drive back to QLD - about a 12 hour car trip. My plan is to reclaim the house following all the Christmas and New Year cheer and clutter and dust that has accumulated. THe annual clean out.

The aquisition of a desk has been great for Kit so I am hoping to turn the spare room into more of an 'office' for Hannah to share with me. She's had 2 weeks of no 'work' so it's time to clock back on. The learning support may have been on vacation but the health focus has been well and truly present. I don't know how long I can keep up the regime but it is really helping little brat at the moment. She has a 'colonised staph' infection that has been playing havoc with her skin and also expressed itself in some nasty boils last year - the regime is 3 months of antibiotics, twice daily face and nasal creams (one of which cost just over $100!!!!! - although I'm more worried about the 5 repeat scripts it came with - I hope we don't need those!!!). All washing has a disinfectant rinse in it and Hannah's wardrobe gets the hot water treatment.

Avisit to her paed provided some concern about her hips as her gait is quite stiff legged but hip xray was fine so we just have to keep at it - bike riding and walking her as much as we can to help her build up some stamina. She has a vitamin D deficiency and I am giving her a supplement each night for that. A visit to the dentist is priority for this month as her teeth have been affected a bit by that. The 'inevitable' thyroid issues have arisen so we have started her on meds for that which entails regular blood tests and really regular blood tests while the levels of medications are getting sorted. sigh. I'm hopeless at routines like that - lucky the holidays are making it all a bit more manageable.

Festivities in the Dock have included the following:
A home talent show that ended in some free dancing to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.
 Some spanish dinners inspired by one of my Christmas gifts.
 Chorizo bread from My Barcelona Kitchen - delicious.
 Some backyard games including cricket and boules
 Just heading out and about.
 Fireworks from a suburban backyard where P and I were lucky to see the new year in with a wonderful group of families from the twins school.
 A late afternoon swim for Hannah and I

 A happy ole poodle with her pack never far away.
 Some holiday reading for me.
 A visit or two to the local park.
 I have lost count of the number of photos of Hannah like this I have - from since she was just a little bub to just this week..... love them all .... cos her face is just a picture.
 A sampler of Hannah's Christmas gifts from Santa:

Friday, December 05, 2014

Round up from the Dock

Well, well.... I have been in 'special ed' for a year now.... and I love it. It's not easy. The view from the back of the room is often quite tainted. I wish inclusiveness came more naturally to some staff and teenage boys. But the days that are good - wow. It's good. The people I work with  - they're great. All the changes in the disability dialogue - what happens in the wider society - is happening in schools. In just 15 years we are making such progress. We still fail quite abysmally too though.

Hannah's primary school fail too, sometimes. But boy oh boy - they keep at it - and they get it so much more regularly than they don't. They are a wonderful pinup poster for inclusion. It pervades the community.

Just today was another small example, a small example that reveals so much. It was the day of the school swimming carnival. My MIL was at the carnival for a couple of hours (she and my FIL often go). Both Phil and I got calls from her - did we think Hannah could swim in a 50 metre race? Well I didn't know - but I figured it was worth a shot so long as she had a noodle or kickboard and was in the lane near the edge - I figured she be ok. In the end sheswam it with a kickboard and a student from Year 5 in the pool with her. A friend texted me this afternoon to tell me about it. My MIL rang both of us to tell us about it.... Her teachers were at the side of the pool encouraging her to make it to hte end. When she got out and went to the stand for her ribbon (a first!) one of the teachers who had the microphone asked everyone to give 3 cheers for Hannah - my friend tells me they all raored their cheers. Ah, my eyes are misty just thinking of it. That is inclusion. At the same carnival Hannah's brother who is not necessarily a great swimmer went in 5 different races. He had a go. He got some place ribbons too - I've strung them up across our fridge with magnets - a banner of pride. I am so proud of my children and so blessed by the community we belong to.

I want to translate that experience to the HS that I work at. It's worth it. Wish me luck....

In other news:
Hannah still loves swimming - and is working on her 'big bubbles'
 Building Hannah's birthday gift together
 The boys went camping - looks like a beautiful spot.

 The husband's birthday had a recycled vinyl theme - appropriate given that he has obsessively been playing all our vinyl records from Z-A for the past 6 months or so - and logging each album played on fb and twitter. We are somewhere around 240 at the moment - maybe half way there.
 Hannah has been having fortnightly Occupational Therapy and daily obsession with Scooby Doo - this is her most recent drawing of her as Shaggy and me as Scooby.
 Kit and I went to see the Nutcracker ballet at the Opera House
 We had a wonderful weekend away with friends and the girls prepared a dance item for us
 One of Hannah's readers involved Teasing Mum - where a hose was turned on the hapless Motherby her dreadful child as a joke. Hannah loved the idea so much she mad her won version (and actually followed through on it too) - Teasing Dad. So while she and her father were washing the car ... yep. Lucky he's a good sport and a total sucker for his children.
 Tangled has also had a bit of an airing on the tv - and the lego set has been constructed and the scarf Hannah knit has become a staple in the dressing up like Rapunzel game.
 More swimming - and getting better at it all the time.
 The joy of a pre Christmas spring clean. Their room is looking so much better and we bought a desk for Kit which has turned out to be a very good idea.
 There have also been a number of parties to go to...
 Including Kit's minecraft with 'water' (jelly) shots
 and Hannah's sushi and kokeshi doll do.
 Kit has finally made it into squads and is very happy.
 Some composing, just because she can. She is recording herself on the ipod in this pic.
 Formal piano lessons have come to an end... that's a separate post but suffice to say that she has enjoyed the opportunity immensely.

Concert season began with a Dancing Heart soiree - it's her dance class for children and adults with disailities. It was a blast of a concert.

 And then her mainstream dance class had their concert. She LOVES that one - especially her Musical Theatre teacher. She danced to Little Shop of Horrors.
 Finally, Tis the season....
 my favourite season...
Happy Advent indeed.