Thursday, December 8, 2011

Busy Day

Today has been a busy day.  This morning there was a special awards assembly at school.  Ben and Ezra's classes were both presenting items about the countries they have been learning about in class.

Abby received a certificate of participation for being a helper in the Library
Ben was in an Irish dance
Ben, in front on the far right

Ezra's class did a dance to a french song.
It was something about a doctor...
And in the evening Abby had a special evening out to farewell the year 6's from her school.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ben turns 8

Sunday was Ben's birthday.  It was a pretty special day.  Grandma and Grandpa drove all the way from Ballarat to join us for the weekend (and somehow I didn't manage to get a photo of them with the kids, although I had intended to do so.)

On Sunday all four children were up bright and early at about 6am, but we held them off from present by watching old home movies of Ben as a baby (and Abby and Tim), and having breakfast.  Finally, a little after 7am, we embarked upon the 'gift giving'.

 I often find lately that the kids give "better" presents than those given by Daddy and Mummy.  We gave him a new bike, but it was a very hot day and the present Ezra (and his future baby sister) gave him was much more interesting.

 They can do some very fun stuff.

After church I remembered that on Friday night we had eaten Ben's chosen birthday meal of Taco's, so we asked what he would like instead and ended up going to the local shopping centre for Hungry Jacks.

The afternoon was filled with Simon trying to ice and decorate a cake in quite extreme temperatures, with the icing and decorations continually slipping off as they melted.  Finally it was done, and I think it was a great success.  The playground kids seemed to like it.

Today he received a present from the other side of the world.  It's a Rattlesnake hat/beanie, made by Aunty Kelly.  He had a lot of fun with it immediately.

All in all, I think he is a happy 8 year old.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sports Uniform

Here's Abby and Tim in the new sports uniform.  This is only for years 3-6 and only to be worn on the day of the week that they have sports.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cup Cakes

One of my neighbours this year is a highly talented Cake Decorator.  She is so talented that she won three first prizes (as well as assorted other prizes) in the cake decorating section at the Easter show this year.  She has a blog that showcases many of her wonderful creations called The Cupcake Gallery

She runs cupcake workshops to teach others how to make beautiful cakes also.  Today Abby and I had the opportunity to attend one of her workshops.  We had a ball learning how to decorate Christmas cupcakes.  There were six designs and we had to make one of each them.

Abby's final achievement

My final achievement
Abby was the youngest person Jo has ever had in a workshop, but she did exceptionally well.  The cakes were easier to make than I thought they would be, and at the end we felt as though we had done an excellent and somewhat professional job.  Jo is a fantastic teacher, patient, encouraging and great at explaining fiddly bits.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New School Uniform

I have been part of a committee to upgrade the school uniform at the Primary School my children attend.  When we first looked at moving to Sydney, several of my children begged me to choose a different school because this one had such an ugly uniform.  To refresh your memory, here are my children at the start of this year.  Only Ben likes it because it is 'Hawthorn' colours (the AFL team he barracks for).

  The Uniform committee has worked long and hard to come up with a new uniform, and it has begun the process of being introduced at school.  Yesterday was the first day it was permitted to be worn to school.  There is a two year change over period, where people can wear either the old uniform or the new (not a mixture of the two).  Today my children all wore the new uniform.  They were all up, dressed and sitting quietly on the couch listening to Abby read them a story before my alarm even went off at 6:30 this morning.  A new uniform is obviously a very exciting event.  Here they are, ready for school, looking (in my opinion) a million times better than they did in the yellow and brown.

Technically the hats and jackets are not official uniform as there has been a hold up with supply of these items and these are some I have substituted from local shops, but it is basically the same as the official items, just without the school logo.

The only disappointment was that the kids in Abby's class (who have worn the old uniform for 5-6 years already) are very loyal to the brown and gold and were calling her a traitor and telling her she looked stupid.  Heartbreaking to have happen when she was so excited before school, but if she chooses to go back to the old uniform most of the time, that's okay.  One girl was even hitting her (not hard fortunately) but sad all the same.

Friday, September 9, 2011


I am 22 weeks pregnant today.  Here is what is happening in-utero this week:

 The baby is now about 28cm long (crown to heel) and weighs about 340grams. The eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed, and the fingernails cover the fingertips. Sounds from a conversation are loud enough to be heard by the baby in the uterus. If you talk, read, or sing to your baby, it's reasonable to expect her to be able to hear you.

I am finding this pregnancy has been a very different experience for me than any of the other four.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Firstly, I am older.  My body doesn't seem to be coping as well with some things, like having extra weight sitting on my pelvis, somewhat squished up, for long periods of sitting through lectures and essay writing.  My generally low level of fitness has also been enhanced lately.  Climbing the stairs to bed some evenings is already a problem, leaving me feeling breathless.  I will really have to work on the fitness levels after this baby is born.

I am also finding myself frustrated by the gestational diabetes.  Whilst I know it is causing me to eat more healthily, and I have already seen that my extra handles around the waist are disappearing (not due to tummy expansion, but actually disappearing) I am longing to get back to my normal diet.  This involves lots of bread and pasta, mashed potatoes, chocolate when I want, and the ability to eat when I want instead of eating to a time schedule.  Also, my poor fingers are getting callused from being stabbed four times a day to check my blood sugar levels.  I had a dream last night that I ate some chocolate and 2 jelly snakes, and then I panicked because of what it would do to my blood sugar levels and was about to go for a run around the block to work it off, when the alarm woke me up.  I was almost afraid to check my sugar levels this morning, just in case my dream had affected them.


I am noticing things this pregnancy that I don't remember ever noticing before.  When I was pregnant with Abby I was the first of my friends to have a baby and I didn't really have anyone to talk things over with, or discuss different symptoms.  Also, I was working full-time and was quite busy generally.  When I was pregnant with each of the boys I was so busy with the older children, that most pregnancy symptoms went unnoticed.  I just didn't have time to stop and think about how I was feeling, or what was happening in my body.  This time, I have had many, many conversations with others who have been through pregnancy and there are a whole range of symptoms that I have paid more attention to. 

I have never had a great sense of smell (I think partly caused by intentionally ignoring it when working in a childcare centre), but this time, my increased sense of smell was one of the first things I noticed, even before I knew I was pregnant.  Some smells are good, and some I would rather avoid.  I told my kids to clean their teeth a lot more in the early weeks than I normally do as their breath was one thing I REALLY noticed.

I still lead a busy life, but I do have times when I can just sit in the middle of the day and pay attention to what is going on.  I have never really felt baby movements before 19-20 weeks before and I was somewhat skeptical of people who claimed they could, but this pregnancy I've had time to pay attention to different feelings in my tummy and notice what was digestive and what was different.  I felt this baby moving around 14 or 15 weeks.  A tiny fluttering 'something', that definitely wasn't normal, digestive process.  Simon has been able to feel her in the last week also, which is earlier than with any others and very exciting.

I am loving the 'pregnant' look in a way I have never done before.  My little basketball tummy sticking out brings me a little buzz every time I look down at it, although it also makes me wonder just how huge I will be in another 18 weeks considering how big I am already.

Another major difference with this pregnancy is knowing that it is a girl already.  I feel almost like I have a different bonding experience with this baby than I had with the others because I was still waiting to find out 'what' they were right up to the last minute.  Now that I know this is a girl (and I would have felt the same way about a boy... it's just having some more idea about who the baby is) I can hardly wait to meet her properly.

I'm also enjoying the kids excitement.  Abby asks me several times a day if the baby is awake or moving.  She is desperate to feel movements as well, but I expect it will be a few weeks yet before she can.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Week

This week is Book Week and today our children had a "Dress as your favourite character from a book" day.  We changed it to "Dress as someone from a book that you can find a costume for" day, as our chosen favourites were not all that easy in some cases.

 Abby as 'EJ12' from the EJ12 Girl hero series

 Ben as a 'Picanniny Indian' from the Indian tribe in "Peter Pan".

 Ezra as 'Peter Pan'.

Peter Pan and the Indian Brave.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Today we had our 19 week ultrasound to check on our fifth child.  We kept the kids home from school so they could come with us and share the experience.

So... here is our first photo of our youngest daughter.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Class Captain for Term 2.

Ezra wearing his new 'class captain' badge on his collar.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New wine

Every now and then I read a random verse in the Bible and a new thought/insight jumps out at me.  This term I am studying the Old Testament Prophets and Writings and one of the first books we will look at is Isaiah.  I decided to be proactive and actually read it before we cover it in class, or at least start reading it.

I began on Wednesday morning (20minutes before the class started... yeah, I don't give myself much time) and didn't even finish chapter 1 before I had one of those epiphany moments which always seem so much more significant at the moment you have it than they do when you try to explain them later on.

Isaiah's message begins by addressing the wickedness of the nation of Judah and for some reason I was struck by vs 22.
       "Your silver has become dross,
              your wine is mixed with water."

My mind somehow made a jump to Jesus, at the wedding feast in Cana, performing his first miracle by turning water into wine and I had my epiphany.

Isaiah is describing how God's chosen people, the best of the best, the 'choice wine' one might say, have ruined themselves.  They have been watered down and contaminated beyond repair by their disobedient and wilful behaviour by turning from God's plan and following the ways of the nations around them.  There is no way to 'un-water down' wine that has been ruined in this way.

But... Jesus first miracle suddenly seemed to me to be a symbol of what he came to do.  He is taking the water, the worthless and ruined, and he came to turn it (us, his people) back into the best of the best, the 'choice wine'.  I had never really understood the meaning of this miracle in the past (and this may still not be what a real theologian gets out of it) but it bears new meaning and significance for me now as I consider the way he is taking my ruined little self and he is restoring me to be his 'best'.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yarn Stash

I was asked awhile ago, by my sister-in-law, how big my yarn stash is now.  I pulled it out today to look through what I had before I made a trip to spotlight.  I decided to take a photo for Tammy's benefit.

My 'yarn stash' fills several bags

Yesterday I went to the Sydney craft and quilt fair with some of my neighbours.  We had a good but exhausting day.  I managed to limit my spending very well and only bought a couple of little bags of mixed yarn.  The smaller bag is 100% silk and the larger bag is an assortment.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Studying Joshua

I have an Old Testament exam next Tuesday morning and I have been trying to study for it this week.  Last night as I was going over my notes on the book of Joshua I found a section discussing the slaughter of the Canaanites and the justice of God.  Many people question how a loving and kind God could call for the slaughter of an entire nation of people.

Here are some points that need to be kept in mind when thinking on this topic.  The Canaanites were followers of a religion that was an abomination to God, and they were also great at sharing their religion with others.  The Canaanites had been given a good amount of time to choose to follow God (He'd restrained himself from destroying them for over 400 years, Gen 15:16).  The judgement on the Canaanites served as a warning of the final judgement, much the same as the flood and the destruction of Sodom had done earlier.  The story of Rahab illustrates quite clearly that God was still willing to offer mercy to any Canaanite who would renounce their false gods and turn to Him.

But the reasons that really struck me were that God needed to destroy the Canaanites because human life holds such value for Him (the law given in Deuteronomy strongly shows the value God places on human life, and the book of Joshua reinforces this with God's commands to have cities of refuge to which people can go to prevent blood being shed wrongly or needlessly).  The Canaanites religion debased and degraded people.  The world of Noah's day was destroyed because of it's violence (Gen 6:13) and Sodom was destroyed because of it's immorality (Gen 18:20; 19:4-5) but the Canaanites religion included both of these.  Among other things their religion included child sacrifice and 'sacred' prostitution.  God's verdict was that it was an abomination so vile and all pervasive, and the danger of His own people being corrupted was so great, that it could only be dealt with by wholesale destruction.

As I pondered this I began to think of comparison's with our own culture.  We may not sacrifice children 'post-birth', but our culture murders thousands of children before they are born.  The Canaanites and other ancient cultures offered child sacrifices to ensure a good harvest or some other blessing from the gods (in other words to benefit themselves), our culture murders children for much the same reasons; because it is inconvenient to have a child, or too expensive, or gets in the way of a career, or because they may not be perfect, etc.

Then I pondered the immorality issue.  I'm not sure I need to go into this.  All you have to do is turn on a TV, watch a movie, walk into a shopping centre, read a newspaper, etc, and you'll see the problems with our society's morality.

We are on the other side of the New Testament, so we are not called to destroy the people who live around us, but I think we need to remember that we have an important message of hope and salvation for them so that on the final judgement day they are not condemned as the Canaanites, the Sodomites and the people of Noah's day were.

Also, as a parent, I think that the Deuteronomic call to teach our children God's ways still stands strong, and I find myself pondering what ways society influences my children.  Am I fulfilling my parental duty? Am I teaching my children what is required and helping them to be able to judge for themselves the difference between God's standards and the worlds standards?

Am I allowing society's standards to influence our family, or am I being faithful to God's standards?  The issue in the media recently over "ethics classes" in schools comes to mind.  Do I want my children being taught society's ethics?  Are they the same ethics that God teaches?  Are we called to be "politically correct" all the time?

I have lots of questions, but I don't necessarily have the answers.  I will have to ponder them more some other time as I need to move onto studying 1 & 2 Samuel.  I'm sure there will be no questions raised in there about social and cultural influences on God's people . . . 

Thanks to my class notes for some of the info on the slaughter of the Canaanites.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Book

I have a book that I have been repeatedly borrowing from the local library.  Mostly I just look at the pictures and wish I could give it more of my attention, but so far this year I have been called back to the need to be studying. 
I had decided that I loved this book enough to put it on my birthday wishlist later in the year and just borrow it from the library until then, although once when I wanted to borrow it somebody else had already taken it and I couldn't get it for a week or so.
Yesterday, I took Tim on a date.  We had donuts and watched the ice skating, then we spent a long time checking out lego at Target and Big W.  Just as we were heading home I suggested we have a quick look at a large book sale display, with no intention of buying anything. 


There it was!  The book I've been wanting, for a fantastic price.  So this morning my trip to school will involve returning a library book I no longer need.

Here's my prized purchase.

  It has so many great motifs that I can use for making badges and bag tags and things to sew on T-shirts and other ideas I have.  I can't wait to finish my exam next week so I can stop looking at the pictures and start trying some of the patterns.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beethoven's Ode to Joy

I love Beethoven's Ode to Joy.  I love it so much that it is what was playing as I walked down the aisle on my wedding day.  I found this clip on youtube today and thought I would share it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Old Sailor

As I have mentioned previously, I grew up hearing A.A. Milne poems, and last year I found a book of them at the local op-shop.  My children each have their own favourite poems, but one they all love is "The Old Sailor".  Lately I have felt a lot like the old sailor, so I thought I'd share it here.


There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in.

He was shipwrecked, and llived on an island for weeks,
And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
For the turtles and things which you read of in books.

And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
And he thought that to talk to he'd look for, and keep
(If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.

Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
(With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
And a very strong lock to keep savages out.

He began on the fish-hooks, and when he'd begun
He decided he couldn't because of the sun.
So he knew what he ought to begin with, and that
Was to find, or to make, a large sun-stopping hat.

He was making the hat with some leaves from a tree,
When he thought, "I'm as hot as a body can be,
And I've nothing to take for my terrible thirst;
So I'll look for a spring, and I'll look for it first."

Then he thought as he started, "Oh, dear and oh, dear!
I'll be lonely to-morrow with nobody here!"
So he made in his note-book a couple of notes:
"I must first find some chickens" and "No, I mean goats."

He had just seen a goat (which he knew by the shape)
When he thought, "But I must have a boat for escape.
But a boat means a sail, which means needle and thread;
So I'd better sit down and make needles instead."

He began on a needle, but thought as he worked,
That, if this was an island where savages lurked,
Sitting safe in his hut he'd have nothing to fear,
Whereas now they might suddenly breathe in his ear.

So he thought of his hut . . . and he thought of his boat,
And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst) . . .
But he never could think what he ought to do first.

And so in the end he did nothing at all,
But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.
And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved -
He did nothing but basking until he was saved!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My contribution

My contribution to the Mother's Day Stall.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fun creations

Bag tags/brooches

Flower beanies

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holiday business.

As we near the end of our second week of Autumn school holidays I felt the need to share some of what we have done.  The kids have been fantastic overall.  They have had their moments, but mostly I have been very proud of them and very impressed with their ability to play together well.

Today Ben and I made some...
Choc chip biscuits

Earlier this week Abby had a couple of school friends come over for a play.  She had wanted to have a spy birthday party which never happened so I promised to organise some form of 'spy' activity for this day.  I created a treasure hunt with 13 clues leading to a box of goodies. The girls ran back and forward looking for clues.  Each new clue came with a piece of a puzzle that had to be completed to show the 'treasure map'.

Dividing up the loot
A clue in the peg basket


Ben lost his first tooth
I got roses
and I made more phone socks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mothers Day stall crochet creations

Our school holds an annual Mothers Day stall and as parents we are asked to donate items and then give our children money to go and buy the items at the stall to give us on Mothers Day.  It seems a little twisted when I put it like that, but it helps raise money for the school and it gives the kids a chance to choose something for their mothers.  I like to see what mine choose each year, although it is more difficult for children in the last classes to choose as the options are limited by then.

This year I thought I would see if I could make anything for the stall.  I googled 'crocheted Mothers Day gifts' and found some very tacky and uninspiring ideas, but amidst these I found some that set off my creative juices. 
A pretty mobile phone case.  This is my second attempt.  The first was a learning curve.  I hope to make some more in other colours.
A crocheted beaded bracelet made with silver thread.  This is my first bracelet attempt and I also hope to make more.
A beaded necklace.  This was actually my first jewellry attempt.  I used cheap beads from the craft shop.  They were blue when I began, but by the time I finished, I had blue fingers and clear beads.  It is also way too small.  It just fits Abby as a choker.  Next attempt will be bigger with better quality beads and a pendant.
Now I'm wondering whether these would be appreciated by Mothers as gifts from the school stall, or would they be considered tacky and inappropriate?  I saw some of the jewellry on offer last year (and at Mothers Day stalls at other schools we have attended) and I think mine compares quite well.  In fact I like mine better than some of what I have seen.  I guess it just depends on individual taste really.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Childcare rules

I discovered an article this morning about new laws to further restrict how children can be disciplined in a childcare centre.

Having worked in a childcare centre for six years before having my own children, and with a further 11 years experience as a mother, I find myself wondering who comes up with these rules.  I understand and agree that staff in childcare should not be allowed to smack children.  I'm not going into my opinion about smacking now.  

When I worked in childcare (yes, it was 11 years ago, so maybe children have miraculously become perfect since then) the only form of discipline available or encouraged was 'time out'.  When a child was behaving in a manner that was innaproppriate (generally where I worked that meant they were likely to be endangering another child or causing massive and continued disruption to an activity the rest of the group where enjoying) they would be either moved to a different place within the group, removed from the group, or briefly put into 'time out' (generally a chair at the back of the group), depending on what was appropriate for the situation.  We did not remove them from the room unless the behaviour had been continuing for a long period of time and upsetting other children, or if the staff member felt they were emotionally unable to handle it and needed a few minutes break from the child.  In that situation the child was sent to one of the other rooms in the childcare centre (briefly) and played there for awhile (many children actually considered this to be a treat, so it was avoided where possible).

I recall some ridiculous laws being passed or discussed when I worked in childcare.  One such law/recommendation was that you should never say 'no' or 'don't' to a child as it is too negative.  Everything had to be rephrased in a positive manner.  At the time I worked in a room with babies aged 6 months - 2 years and often I was alone with 4-5 children.  This was ridiculous in my situation.  We had one child who frequently tried to play with the switches on a power point (yes it had child safe caps on it).  For me to say "uh, uh" or "No ______" would  cause the child to stop long enough for me to walk across the room and pick them up and distract them with a different activity, but if I was forced to rephrase it to a 'positive' statement it would have been beyond the understanding of such a small child and defeated the purpose of causing a distraction and a mental association that this behaviour was not good.

If new laws are passed which ban carers from using time out or separation, which have been the approved methods for years, I am hoping that those who make the laws will personally go to each centre and demonstrate to the staff how to deal with a child who is kicking/punching/pinching/biting without separating them from the other children and how a staff member who is alone with 5-15 children (depending on ages and staff/child ratios) is expected to give the majority of children the care their parents are paying for and expecting them to receive without occassionally removing a child who refuses to co-operate. 

These kids are actually pretty smart and if a child learns there are no consequences they can easily hijack every group activity and ruin them for every other child in the room.  I would not be willing to pay for my child to attend a centre where this could happen.  Whether my child was the innocent victim of another childs 'bad day' or whether they are the perpetrator of the trouble, I would expect the carer to have the authority to do 'something' to encourage more appropriate behaviour.

As to the other issue in the article, about religious activities, I am wondering how this applies to childcare run by a religious organisation.  Is the christian preschool/long day care centre my second son attended still allowed to acknowledge religious festivals?  Every parent attending knows it is run by christians, with a christian perspective.  I find it interesting that the only 'religious' activities mentioned are those commonly associated with Christian celebrations, so would a Jewish or Muslim children's centre be allowed to celebrate their holy festivals, or is it only christian activities that are to be banned?

I wonder what other people think of these suggested laws.  Do you have an opinion on the suggested new laws?  If you think I am wrong or misguided or old-fashioned I would love to hear your perspective also.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lego creativity

Our lego has been in hibernation for several weeks as it seemed to be bringing out the worst in my boys and causing many arguments.  Yesterday I decided to reintroduce it and see what happened.

The boys argued a little, but mostly the co-operative playing won.  Here's what they created.

It is a crane that Tim designed by himself.  Ben helped with bits and pieces and Ezra made the boat at the front righthand side of the table (and shown below).  This is the first large creation the boys have made from their own imaginations, without following any instructions.

Ezra's boat

Family Funday with Kelly

This was meant to be posted last week but I got busy doing an essay (and then taking it easy) and forgot about it until today.

Last Sunday we went into the city to 'walk the bridge' with my parents-in-law and my sister-in-law.  It was a bit of a miserable looking day but we checked the weather radar and hoped for the best.

Approach to the bridge
Storm coming
Ezra just before the rain started.
Waiting for the rain to stop.
Ben couldn't avoid the temptation to play in the rain with his new umbrella.

Once we had completed the bridge, rain and all, we caught the train and walked to the "Chinese Friendship gardens".  They were interesting, beautiful and peaceful. 

 The highrise buildings over the fence didn't seem to fit, but they could be ignored when I focused on the details instead of trying to take it all in at once.

Although the gardens aren't huge, they show a lot of different scenery, from peaceful water areas to somewhat stark bamboo areas.

 This is a rock, but it was lots of fun.

Water Dragon sunning himself.

Ezra was fascinated by these giant goldfish and there were SO many of them.

By the end of the day Abby had a blister and was not feeling so happy anymore, but, on the upside, it was nice to see Tim and Ezra enjoying each other's company on the train trip home.