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Archive for January 2014

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So, Molly is at big school at last. We’re up to Day Three – the above photo was taken on Day One.

All is going well so far, although poor little Molly is finding it very overwhelming, and very exhausting. There have been lots of tears (hers, not mine), lots of ‘ feeling wobbly’ nerves, lots of ‘pep talks’, and lots of hugs with teachers aides at drop-off time. Poor sensitive little thing! I have to admit to being just a little bit surprised by all this, although deep down I knew it wouldn’t all be smooth sailing for her. She does have rather a flair for the dramatic. I am a little bit surprised that she’s the only one in her class to have cried every day so far, though. I wonder how long it will last? I’m not particularly worried about it, although it is a little heart breaking, having to prise her off me and walk away each day, while she cries that she just wants to be with me!

However, her teacher assures me that these episodes don’t last long, and that she is happy and participating well throughout the rest of the day. Plus, her face says it all at home time – happy, enthusiastic and brimming with news about what she did and who she played with.

Just like me, she has a few slight problems with adjusting to school, and she has told me all about them, in tears, on the way to school… She doesn’t like sitting on her bottom all day, she thinks the other children don’t like her (which we ended up agreeing is not the case, especially after I pointed out how happy one girl in particular was to see her on her second day), she doesn’t like wearing her shoes all day, and she misses me. I am told my issues when starting school were having to sit up straight all day (I might have been exaggerating this slightly), and I also had difficulty wearing my shoes full time. So, we can clearly see who she gets it from.

Despite all of this, I am confident that Molly will soon settle in to school. Being so friendly and social, she can’t help but make friends quickly. Academically, I think she will have an easier time than Tiernan, simply because she is better able to sit and focus her attention for longer, and is already keen to start reading and writing. Being interested is really the first step, so she has the advantage there.

Speaking of Tiernan, he has started Year 1 with confidence, so far. He didn’t seem keen for the holidays to end, so I was a little worried that he would be difficult to motivate of a morning. However, he has done a great job getting himself ready for school for these first three days. Who knows how long it will last, but it’s a good start anyway.

Tiernan has two teachers this year. I met both on the first day and I came away with good first impressions of them. His teachers also gave each parent a ‘Parent Survival Kit’, complete with minties, chocolate and tea bags, so I am practically won over already! I just hope Year 1 isn’t too serious for Tiernan. He’s a kid who appreciates the funny things in life, and it would be a shame to smother that with too much work and not enough play.

Each afternoon after school so far, we have been staying back at the Year 1 playground (which is awesome), so the kids can let off steam after a big day. Tiernan has been tearing around on the oval for a good thirty minutes each time, so it’s obvious he’s got energy to burn. Much better to let him do it straight away than have it pent up for the car trip home! I feel this a good strategy for a more peaceful afternoon and evening. I must remember not to book any after school appointments for a while though.

Meanwhile, Neave will be at Kindy two days per week, starting next week, so she’s also in for a bit of a shock. She’s been going one day for the last few weeks, and for the second half of last year, but this will be new to her. Awesome news for me as I will get two kid-free days at home, until I start working again soon. Neave seems to be adjusting well to the Kindy room. Her teachers report she has been opening up even more without Molly around, so this is good news. I think the second day each week will actually help her feel more comfortable there, as she’ll have more time to settle in and less time in between visits.

I have very much been enjoying our quiet days at home together! Neave has been asking frequently when it is time to pick Tiernan and Molly up, so she misses them a bit, but she is very happy each morning when she learns that it is another Mummy and Neavie day at home! I think it won’t be too long until she starts to get bored, though, so I will have to give Playgroup a call next week, and get more motivated for things like walks and trips to the park. But it has been a nice easing-in period this week.

So, now we’re all up to date on the school front. Fingers crossed it’s a good year for us all 🙂

The kids and I have just come back from our 12 day visit to the Blue Mountains and NSW South Coast. It was lovely, being home again, catching up with friends and family. We visited some of our favourite people and places, and in the process realised how much we’ve been missing them.

I just felt like sharing some photos I took on the first day of our stay in the Mountains. A few months ago, some serious bush fires threatened the area, with nearly 200 houses burning down. Our old suburb escaped unscathed, apart from some last-minute controlled burning conducted by the Firies, to help reduce the threat to homes near the bush. They burnt out a large area of bush that we used to live very close to, and that Tom’s parents still live right in. The kids and I went for a walk to the look out just to see how much it had all changed.

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Only half of this tree got burnt.

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New growth springing up.

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Kookaburra feather.

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Broken branch.

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Hollow tree, all burnt out.

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Burst Banksia.

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Purple gum leaves!

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A long, black strip of ash is all that remains of a large log that used to block the path.

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Furry regrowth.

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Uncle Gareth’s tree house still standing (just).

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My favourite tree, unscathed.

We returned to Tom’s parents’ house with black feet and mixed emotions. There was some sadness at the changes to ‘our’ bush, but also happiness and even pride at how quickly the bush springs back to life afterwards. The kids were fascinated to learn that fire is actually good for many trees and plants, as it clears out the undergrowth and even helps germinate seeds. I remember feeling the same way after witnessing similar bush fires in the area as a kid. It made me realise that this stuff is all part of growing up in the bush, and while I’m obviously devastated for those who were immediately affected by the fires, I’m also glad that my kids got to experience this event, from a safe distance. Hopefully this will help them to build a healthy respect for the environment in which we live.

2014

Posted on: January 1, 2014

This post is going to be my ‘happy moments’ post for 2014. Pic, going to keep adding to it throughout the year, kind of like adding scraps of paper to a jar but in a more virtual way. So here goes:

1st January – the five of us went and saw ‘Walking With Dinosaurs, the Movie’, and had an enjoyable time together. The kids are about to have a go on their new slip n slide in the backyard now that we are home.

2nd January – today we went Geocaching! (An explanation of what this actually is will happen in another post, soon). But suffice to say, we had a great day exploring some new places in our local area, and the kids even came home with some goodies. A really cool way to spend time outdoors!

5th January – went rowing in a single scull for the first time in 6 months. It was very nice to be out on the Nepean again with my sister. Loved it!

6th January – took a ‘proactive’ approach to antsy kids this afternoon by getting them out to the park (with quite some effort). But once there, had a good time and even summoned the energy to be a ‘tickling octopus’. The kids were really well behaved this evening, so the effort paid off!

9th January – had a lovely Indian dinner out with three fabulous friends. Chatting and catching up made me realise how much I’ve missed them, and how lucky I am that we are still great buddies after all these years.

28th January – first day of school 2014, went off without a hitch (except for some first day tears from Molly, who started Prep). Most impressive was our punctuality, and my calm throughout the arduous task of getting everyone ready in the morning! So proud of both my big school kids, I hope they both have an awesome year.

4th February – shared some bonding time with Tiernan this afternoon when he offered to help me cook dinner. He was helpful, enthusiastic and patient while we made salmon pasta bake, listening attentively and learning some new skills. This really made my day.

8th February – went out for dinner, drinks and dancing with my new group of Brissie friends, to celebrate my birthday. Had the best time out in about forever! Maybe I’ve finally learnt to party at the age of 30? The night had the perfect amount of friends, drinks and crazy dance moves (from me, who doesn’t dance). Completely awesome and I will remember it forever. The only thing that could have made it better would have been the presence of about five wonderful people that I miss from Sydney… but I will get to catch up with those guys before too long anyway 🙂

10th February – turned 30!

2nd March – regatta at Coomera with Toowong Rowing Club. First sprint races in about 10 months. There’s nothing like working hard towards something and then going out and doing yourself proud. Our first race could have gone better, but that’s how it goes. Our quad felt amazing though and we came second. Very proud of all of us. I love rowing!

9th March – went bike riding on some trails with a friend and had an awesome time. It was my first time on the bike in over 6 months, and also first time doing any kind of off-road riding. My poor little hybrid might need some modifications to cope with any harder trails, but it held up ok. Can’t wait to do it again soon.

17th March – sshh, don’t tell the kids but Tom and I sneaked off to the Gold Coast to spend the day at DreamWorld! Rides and slides galore, with no crowds or queues. Had the best time!

21st March – Tiernan got his first ever award at assembly. Very proud of him, he’s been working hard and trying to concentrate more. Beautiful boy.

16th April – Neave’s 4th birthday. Had a non-party at the park (read extra long play date with friends, who brought plates of food to share because they’re awesome). Was a really nice, relaxing day and Neave had a blast.

22nd April – Molly learnt to ride on two wheels! It was very special having Tom’s parents here to see it too. They are staying with us for two weeks – big, happy family.

26th April – found out my sister Kate has been selected to row for Australia for the World Championships in Amsterdam. So excited for her – she has worked very, very hard.

30th April – watched Kate on TV promoting a campaign for the NSW Guide Dogs. So proud.

1st May – quietly celebrated our 13th Anniversary. 13 years of being a couple, good grief!

4th May – took our tribe to see the A League Grand Final, Wanderers v Roar. We had a great time and the kids did pretty well, maybe even had fun (well, Tiernan did!) It was unfortunate the Wanderers didn’t get up, but maybe next year. The best part was the massive support for the Wanderers – made me proud to come from Western Sydney!

9th May – finally, finally, got my registration number for teaching in Queensland. After nagging several people for the last two months, I am now almost ready to start teaching again. I have been volunteering in the meantime, and look forward to getting into the classroom with some renewed energy and plenty of inspiration.