Monday, September 27, 2010

Kicking some goals

At the recent assembly where Bethany received her award, the principal used the phrase "kicked some goals" to refer to a child who had done well in his NAPLAN tests. He then used it again in conversation with us about how Toby and Jossie went in theirs. It must be his favourite phrase at the moment. Toby did, indeed, do very well but we were particularly proud to hear that Jossie came first in her year in the writing section, second in reading and third in spelling. Yay, she loves words!

Toby has also, of course, been kicking literal goals throughout the soccer season. We went to his soccer presentation on Sunday morning and were thrilled when he was awarded the Most Improved award.

That's his coach, who is all of fifteen.

We had to miss church to go to the presentation but it was definitely worth it - especially as the coach also gave out lollie bags.

Kristy gave me some duck eggs so, on Saturday afternoon, I made a sponge cake. I had to change the recipe a bit to make it gluten free and I think that using all corn flour made it taste a bit floury but the kids loved it and I thought it a perfectly decent vehicle for jam, strawberries and cream.

My Kitchen Aid beat so much air into it that both cakes rose well above the edge of the tins resulting in the interesting sort of hat shape.

After the cake, and a lot of work in the garden, we went for a walk around the lake. We have never done this before, though I have long been keen on the idea, largely because it seems the perfect thing to do with a dog but Lake Albert is on the complete other side of town and Milo gets car sick. We made preparations for easy clean up and drove with the windows down and he made it!

We took the kids' scooters and made stops to play on the exercise equipment.

We got about half way around (it's a 5.4 kilometer walk) when we realised that we weren't going to get back to the car before dark and that Bethany had had enough. Andrew and Toby sped off on the scooters while Jossie and Bethany played at the water's edge and waited until Andrew and Toby brought the car around.

One day I'll take Milo all the way around. He made it all the way home, too, without being sick :)

After church we went back to the Lake (two visits in as many days!) to have an impromptu picnic with the Scotts. The weather was delightful and Andrew took lots of lovely photos.

Chris tried very hard to get a good one of us. It is so hard to all look nice at once!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bethany's moment in the sun

As an eldest sibling I find it very easy to sympathise with Jossie. It is awful being told that, as the eldest, you ought to have known better. In my memory the youngest is always the golden child who gets to do things at a younger age than the elder siblings and is never in the wrong. I realise that is a gross exaggeration and not entirely true for Bethany. She is the baby, gets to do things earlier than Joss and Toby but she is quite often in the wrong (!) and feels like she misses out on a lot. She doesn't learn the piano yet so wasn't in the Eisteddod. Not being in Year 3 or Year 5 she didn't do her NAPLAN tests. So, when the others basked in glory and their parents' pride, the poor little pumpkin missed out.

It was very timely, therefore, that she received that last Well Done Card that lead to a third Merit Certificate that meant that we were invited to assembly to see her receive a Head of Junior School Award.

Andrew and I both managed to leave work to attend the assembly and were very proud of Bethany. We were also amused, as were all the other parents and teachers, as Bethany milked the moment for all it was worth.

Other children came up behind her to receive their awards but Bethany stood her ground, posing, hip out, showing everyone her award. Then she waved to her fans. She wants to be a vet when she grows up but I think a career on the stage is a strong possibility.

On Sunday Quiz Worx came and took Kids' Church. At the end they played a fabulous game they called Bungee. The children all had to chant "Bungee, bungee, bungee!" and the two loudest were chosen to come out the front, answer a question from the Bible talk and do a horizontal bungee run to grab a biscuit. A game that plays to Bethany's strengths.

Oh yes, she was among the loudest.

She answered the question correctly.

And, though Lexi is in year 3 and she is only in kindy, Bethany grabbed the biscuit.

I have had such a long day today. I got to work at 8.30am, left at 6.15 to go to the Historical Society board meeting followed by the AGM. I finally got home at 8.45 not having had dinner. I'm not a person who can skip a meal so I cooked myself dinner while I packed Toby's bag. Tomorrow he is off on his first overnight school excursion. Year Three are going to Borambola which is a sport and recreation centre half an hour out of town. I am pleased that it isn't far because it means that they leave school at a decent hour. Having done a 12 hour work day today I would not be impressed with having to be at school at 6am. 8.30 will do nicely. Kirsty is bringing gluten free sponge cake too :) Yay for Kristy!

I have decided that I will go the the school reunion. A lot of people have told me that they had bad experiences with reunions but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see Janice and Sarah, it has been far too long. Now, to work out how I'm going to get there and where I'm going to stay........

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I adore blossoms. Maybe they remind me of the year I spent in Japan after school (19 years ago!) and the lovely sweets they had in cherry blossom season. I do wish the season was longer, they seem to blow away so soon after they appear.

I'd love one of those wall decorations so I could have blossoms all year round. Something like this.
Or this.

I watched Doubt while Andrew was at rehearsals the other night. I had seen stills of Meryl Streep in the bonnet and thought the film was set in Puritan times which doesn't appeal. It was most refreshing to see an American film that didn't give you all the answers. I noticed the other day that the ABC shop had all the Gavin and Stacey DVDs so we bought them for the library. Now I have series three and the Christmas special waiting in the lounge room - I hope Andrew can take a break from music practice to watch some and I really wish Mum were here to watch them too!

The second day of the Outdoor Reading Room was fun, if a little slow. We have plenty of ideas about how we could reach a lot more people with it if we get another chance next year.

There were lots of people around during Storytime but they didn't really engage with the Get Reading books. The man in the orange chair looks fascinated doesn't he? Surrounded by books and magazines....

This lady had the right idea.

Do you think I should go to my 20 year school reunion? The invitation arrived the other day. It will cost $60 and that includes a generous bar tab and food. Note they didn't say dinner. Kristy went to hers last year and said that they got bad nibbles and didn't get through their bar tab. I like to eat my calories and am naturally high spirited and uninhibited so I would much rather have dinner! Still, there are people I would love to catch up with........ if they are going.

An event that I am seriously looking forward to is my cousin David's wedding. Actually, as much as I love a wedding, I am even more excited about seeing all the family for dinner at the Blue Gum the night before. I probably won't get to eat any dinner though because I will constantly have my arms full of nieces and nephew! I cannot wait.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Get Reading!

It really was an extraordinary day. Whenever I go to the State Library I have to get up very early to be at the airport at six and come back again around 8, so I am used to the odd early start for work. I don't usually ride my bike at ten past six in the morning, though. It was a glorious morning, crisp and clear, thankfully not too cold as there was no hot water to be had in the shower. So, by 7am, I was well and truly awake and ready to go.

The event co-ordinator (and fashionable girl-about-town) arrived and we met up with two of council's outdoor staff who unloaded the fabulous furniture. Knowing that the promised rain was bound to arrive, we set up the majority of the Outdoor Reading Room indoors. As the event was supposed to start before the library would normally open, we had to bring in a rent-a-crowd of library staff.

ABC Radio arrived to broadcast from the library and I had a chat with them on the radio before Judy Nunn arrived. Judy is one of the ambassadors of Get Reading! and a very popular author and actress as well as a lovely lady. She told me that she came to Wagga in 1972 and played at the Civic Theatre in Don's Party. I was very pleased with myself for not blurting out that I was born in 1972. I also kept quiet about the fact that I haven't actually read any of her books. I really must do that....

The pods were a big hit with everyone. Kristy really needs one of these in her lounge room.

I'd quite like one too. It's like being inside a seashell, something odd happens to sound.

This is the best photo we have of us with Judy Nunn (and Steven the publicist). I do hope she comes again.

The rest of the event was a little less exciting. We fetched around 30 coffees from the café upstairs, chatted with people about the books and sat in the pods to do some reading ourselves. It's on again today and I really hope we can get lots of people along and encourage them to get reading as I can't think of a better thing to do.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Catching up...again

How tiresome it is to have to catch up. So many things I was going to blog about when I had to mark assignments in every spare moment. Now, busy at work and at home I find myself putting it off because it will take too long. So, a mini catch up. My camera is at work, anyway, so I only have photos from my phone.

Bethany discovered her game of Headbanz and we all had fun playing it.

It was History Week last week and my event was a walking tour of Wagga's historic buildings. I decided that 30 was the cut off as we would all have to cross the road together and they would have to gather around to listen to me rabbit on about people and places. All the places were filled very early so we had to turn away lots of people and took 25 names in reserve in case anyone cancelled. Then, the local paper decided to put in an ad and changed the words "bookings essential" to "bookings not required" and we ended up with 60 people. Crossing busy roads was a bit hairy and every time we stopped for me to talk, I had to find a high place to stand.

It was lots of fun and a low effort event for me to put on. I might do it again. We ended up back at the library for tea and scones. Thankfully, not everyone ate as I only ordered 30 scones. It took all my will power to resist as I adore scones (as a vehicle for jam and cream) but Andrew and I are on a two month trial of gluten free living..... sigh.

Now that History Week is over we are on to the next event..... Get Reading! Get Reading is a national initiative and this year they are holding outdoor reading rooms in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Wagga Wagga. Tomorrow morning I have to be at the library at 7am to let everyone in. ABC Radio are going to broadcast from the library from 9 - 11am tomorrow and Judy Nunn is coming (she is a very popular author). Free coffee, free wi-fi, free kids' activities and cool furniture to sit and read in. It's going to be lots of fun! Do pop in if you are in Wagga tomorrow or Wednesday.....

Back to the catch up and last Thursday was spent at the Wagga Eisteddfod. Toby played three times in the morning session. He was very nervous but his duet partner was not and she helped him really enjoy himself.  They came first in their section and then Toby came first in his solo.

Two trophies make for a very good day. I took photos of Jossie too, who played in the afternoon, but on my camera, not my phone. Joss played really well but didn't win anything. She is thinking of taking up the bassoon.....
What I am watching: The new series of Midsomer Murders, Wide Sargasso Sea (I didn't enjoy this terribly much as the characters are very sympathetic - not the Mr Rochester I love from Jane Eyre) and Man Versus Wild (Actually, I only listen to this as I cannot watch him eat that stuff).
What I am reading: I just finished A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian which was reasonable. It seemed like old ground for me, hough I'm not sure what it reminded me of. Now I am reading J.D Salinger: A Life Raised High by Kenneth Slawenski and, finally, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I have been on the reserve list for ages!) Now, to bed as I need to set off on my bike just after six tomorrow morning, what fun.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Not gone, marking

Are you missing me? I'm marking. Remember last semester when I naively said yes to marking two subjects, assuming that the assignments would be due on different dates? Then, when they were due at the same time, had two lots of two weeks of staying up very late? I said that I wouldn't do that again. I lied. So, here I am again without spare time to read (!), blog, watch television or sleep.

Book Week photos will come but for now, just to let you know that we are still alive, I will share this drawing Bethany did. I love it when Kindergarten children do their own spelling. This is how she spells soccer - socku....... so cute.