Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back to School
It's a bittersweet day for me today. All three children went off to school together, Joshua for the very first time. They are all happy and excited, and were ready way before time to leave. It seems like just yesterday I was taking Christopher for his first day of school, carrying my tiny baby. Mrs Thomas has taught all my children their first year at school, so both Josh and I were very comfortable in her classroom.

He looks so cute! This was the smallest shirt they stock, and still has plenty of growing room.

Playdough makes any transition easier!

And this is what he was doing as I left. I got a quick kiss and a hug and he turned his back and started playing with the boys. Suddenly I am not the most important thing in his life any more.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I found Nemo!

In our neglected pond! In October we had a heat wave, which turned the water of the pond tepid. The heat made the algae I had been trying to fight off flourish. The three goldfish in there vanished that day, and I spent at least a week searching for them in murky water. They stopped coming up for food, and I gave them up for dead.

Time passed. The chaos of the end of the school year and Christmas took centre stage, and I left the pond to clean out when I got a little less busy. It would be a biggish job, as I had to dig it deeper and larger to keep the water cooler for the inhabitants. This morning I was looking at the now black with algae water, and figured it was time I bit the bullet. I began scooping water from the pond and tipping it on thirsty plants. As I filled the bucket I caught a glimpse of a bright orange leaf. I dumped the bucket on the garden bed, only to see a very upset goldfish flipping around on the mulch! I grabbed him and threw him back in the pond, and finished the emptying much more carefully after that.

He's currently residing in a bucket, while he waits for the freshened and extended pond water to settle down. The kids are excited to see him. Naturally he is now called Nemo 'coz we found him!' He has to be the reason the icky pond never had any mosquito larvae, which was the main concern I had been keeping an eye on.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stitching Post Saturday
(on a Sunday)
A stitching friend of mine, over at Miriam Pauline's Monologue, has started a new updating post she's named Stitching Post Saturday. I like the idea, especially since I have been very slack about updating on my crafting.
So here is my update, which I completed on Saturday night. This cushion is from the most recent Australian Handmade magazine, my all time favourite source of craft inspiration. I am new to the art of patchwork, and my corners are not all precise, but I am pleased by the finished project and keen to decide what to work on next.

Friday, January 16, 2009

In other exciting news, a good friend of ours has heard today that he is to receive an Australia Day Award. He was involved in the investigation and prevention of a planned terrorist attack and deserves every accolade he receives.

Science Centre and South Bank
It's Darling Husband's last official day of vacation today (excluding the weekend, because lawn mowing never counts as vacation). We packed a picnic, clothed the kids, hopped in the shiny, fixed car, turned the key ... nothing. So we got out of the car, and walked to the train station instead. We were going to have a good day no matter what!
We went to the Science Centre, and bought a family yearly pass ( a bargain at only slightly more than two family day passes). It was full of kids, and so noisy. Who knew science was so loud! It was fantastic though, so much to see, and almost every exhibit was hands on. Because it was so busy, we didn't get a chance to do everything, but because we have the pass we didn't care :)

Joshua experimenting with light, and the three different colour shadows from the spotlights above. The moment he got into that spotlight he started dancing, and probably could have gone on for ages, but there were a bunch of other kids waiting for a turn.

Christopher was so poorly behaved that we had to turn him into a fruit platter. Sorry, Grandma and Pop! The senses room was so cool, with optical illusions to trick our senses. There is a rotating tunnel, which, when you stand in it on a stationary platform, feels for all the world like you are moving. Too long and it can give you motion sickness.

There is just too much to put into one post. Samara is riding a bike which lit up the skeleton next to her. The skeleton copies the pedalling movement of the rider, and shows how the joints work. This had them all fascinated. Josh has decided that he's going to be a scientist when he grows up, although he may still superhero on the side.

After lunch we walked up to our favourite spot at South Bank, a simulated creek, where the kids can build dams and swim away from the insanely crowded beach area at the same park.

Science experiments are so much fun! Especially when Mum and Dad get to read a book in the shade.

On the way home we dropped in to visit Aunty Sarah and beg a loan of her spare car for a little longer. Thanks so much Aunty Sarah and Uncle Doug!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Summertime Love
After several days of car problems and general hiding from the heat, it was time to get out and stretch our legs a bit. This is Colmslie Beach Reserve, a lovely park on the river not far from our house. It has a delightful little sandy beach on the river, but that's not what we visited on this day.

We were far more interested in the pathways designed just for kids to swoop down steep little hills on brand new scooters and let momentum carry them to the top of the next one. With swerving corners and intriguing little detours.

With a flying fox that's enough thrill for the ten year old and not too scary for the five year old.

With a dark cool cavern in the middle of the sandpit.

And a musical ship wreck. These pipes have clappers at the base, which make a soothing hollow music.
There is so much more to this park than the parts I have shown here, slides down the side of a hill, swingsets for many, an obstacle course of little bridges and tunnels shaded by sprawling fig trees, an avenue of jacarandas which turn the park purple in October. And then there is the river bank, with lovely trees and a passing parade of boats.
This is one of the most fun parks I have been to. It used to be for wet play, with fountains and oldfashioned pump taps, but the drought brought about change. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Well, it's birthday time again. They seem closer together than they were twenty years ago. Having my birthday so close to New Year's Day, I frequently postpone any resolutions until after my birthday. Who wants to be ten days into a diet when there's chocolate cake to be had?
It's shaping up to be a different year. After ten years of raising young children, my youngest starts full time school in two weeks time. I am at a cross road, and I am afraid the signs must be written in Welsh, because I have no idea which way to go.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Joshua is not feeling well today. He has a bit of a temperature, and a headache. After he ate dinner he went and climbed into our bed and fell asleep. The older of our two cats, St John (name chosen from Jane Eyre), has always adored our small boy, and usually joins him for naps. I am quite sure pets know when you're not feeling well. I had two (different) cats which sat with my in the bathroom through bouts of morning sickness.

This spectacular web has been appearing daily in our yard. It goes right across our front door, so we have been knocking it down because it freaks the kids out a bit. I have a policy of not killing spiders that can't kill me. The spider is a garden orb spider, about 2 inches in size, and harmless.
The web building technique is amazing as I have read here. In our spider's case, the top 'bridging thread' spans from our gutter, across our little access road, up a very high retaining wall andto the top of a lamp post on the nearby main road. It is unbelievably high and so strong!