Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First Day of School

Here are the obligatory first day of school photos.

Bethany asked me to take a photo of her walking. I think that may have to do with the new shoes. It softens the blow of spending sooo much money at once to buy six pairs of new shoes (actually, it was only five as Mum bought a pair - thanks Mum!) when the kids love them.

Joss is especially enamoured of her black, leather Converse school shoes. Really, Converse sneakers in black leather? Yes, and apparently everyone is getting them.

All three children were so excited about going back to school that they were ready to go by five to eight! Sustain that enthusiasm.....

This is to capture the shoes while they are shiny and beloved. I know it won't last.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy Australia Day

It is fair to say that, while I was quite the opposite of patriotic as a teenager, I am very fond of Australia now. I do, occasionally, have an almost physical yearning to live in the UK, but realise that, even ignoring the logistical behemoth that would be making such a move, our day to day life is unlikely to be any happier there. Making the move to the country has been a truly excellent move for us and I am very happy to be Australian. I'm not sure that I am particularly proud about it, I didn't have any control over being born here, and I am surprised by the American sort of patriotism lots of Aussies seem to display these days. I don't think it was like this when I was young.

The main point of Australia Day, for me, has always been the day off and I am particularly thankful for it this year. Working full time as well as managing a household of five is tiring and I am sleeping in and catching up on things at home. I'm sure I will feel less tired when I get used to my new job and settle into the routine of the school year. That's what I am telling myself, anyway.

Before my Dad despairs of my Australian spirit, be assured that there was backyard (well, driveway) cricket, swimming and we had lamb for dinner.

Friday, January 25, 2013


I visited five towns yesterday, travelling around 400 kilometers in my work hours. My new job is at the Riverina Regional Library headquarters. A regional library is a group of libraries from what can be a large geographical area, who join together to be able to provide better services to their communities. There are nine different councils represented in RRL, with thirteen branches and a mobile library that visits around twenty villages. Each library has its own resources, bought with its own money, but the collection can be borrowed by anyone in the region. Each council pays to be a member of RRL and that funds the headquarters staff who do big picture stuff like policies and grants, develop and deliver programs and training, purchase all the resources on the libraries' behalf and make it all work by moving all the books and DVDs between all the branches.

I hope that wasn't too boring. I just wanted to explain why I went so far yesterday. Doug is our internal courier, he does that run every Thursday, and he is on my team. I wanted to see what his day is like, say hello to the staff at the branches and prepare myself so I could do it if Doug is sick! I really enjoyed it because there are some towns I have never visited before, I hadn't been to any of the libraries, and it was great to get to know Doug, whom I have only really seen when he drops off lots of tubs to Wagga at the end of a loooong and tiring day.

The countryside is so dry. Bone dry, brittle and dusty. The towns we visited were lovely - Junee, Temora, Cootamundra, Gundagai and Tumut, but some of the little villages between were sad little pockets of dilapidation and poverty. This hill is where Doug eats his lunch on a Thursday in winter, a hill above Gundagai. It was much too hot yesterday so we sat in the shade by the river with some oldies next to their caravans.

Today is Mum's last day with us. It has been, as always, so good to have her here and a shame Dad couldn't come too. Do you have big plans for Australia Day? Me, I am going to get up at eight, not six, and apart from dropping Mum to the airport, have no plans beyond relaxing!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Charles the lion

Having heard that it is possible to make your labradoodle look like a lion, I really feel that I have to try it with Milo. He needs a little more length, so stay tuned.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New routine

How lamentably easy it is to get out of the habit of blogging. I took only phone photos last week, none terribly exciting. I was getting used to my new job, which is really very different from my old one. My hours are strange too. I haven't worked full time for over 13 years, so I imagine it will take me a while to get organised enough to fit everything in. Oh dear, then school starts next Wednesday.... but I won't think about that yet, I'll just share a few of the poor iPhone photos.

This is my office on my fist day of work. There are going to be lots of challenges, but I think I am going to enjoy it very much. Everyone starts at 8am! By having a half hour lunch, I can finish at 3.30 and still be full time. I like that a lot.

Last week Andrew's parents were here, keeping the kids company, and we went up to the house a couple of times. They love the design too. These photos are of the back of the house, in case you are wondering why it look completely different.

We said goodbye to Sue and Ron after breakfast yesterday and I picked Mum up from the airport at lunch time. We went up to the house after lunch, taking advantage of the fact that it is still accessible. As soon as the bi-fold doors for the back arrive, it will be locked up.

You can't really tell from the photo, but this is a double rainbow. The light turned very strange, it was almost night, and the double rainbow appeared. Andrew and I were very impressed with it, the kids were sanguine. It's so hard to impress young people these days.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Toby!

 Nothing says Happy Birthday like a grainy iPhone photo. Toby had a great day. Andrew was clever enough to take leave until tomorrow and Sue and Ron (Andrew's parents) drove down for the week, arriving before lunch after getting up at 3.30am!

Toby celebrated with his first cycling event of the year and his chosen meal was tortellini carbonara and chocolate cake.

I spent the day at my new place of work. After three weeks off I kind of feel like I have done my new job now and can go back to holidays, but there are four more work days in this week! I love my new office and colleagues and think we'll get to do good things. Tomorrow, I head back to the library at lunch time for book club. We read The Light Between the Oceans, and because I haven't been at the library, I haven't discussed it already, like I usually have. Book clubs are the best, I highly recommend everyone join one!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Home again

Last Saturday we drove away from the stifling heat, over the parched mountains, down towards the coast in search of cool breezes and family fun. The Bermagui  house we rented last year wasn't available so we tried a new house and were greeted with this view and wind so strong and cool that even my hair was ruffled.

Andrew has proper photos on his camera, so more will follow, but I will say now that the kids had a great time in the ocean, whether they were in their swimmers or not.

We played lots of games of Apples to Apples, Rummikub, Happy Families and Cluedo. I read lots of books.

We weren't sure which way to drive home as there had been bushfires in both directions. We chose to go over the mountains from Bateman's Bay, a new way for us, and did see where the fires had been. They had come right up to and over the highway and there was a big sign thanking the firefighters who had saved people's homes.

We were so keen to see our own home that we drove straight there, despite more than six hours of driving. Everyone says that builders don't do much in January so I kept my expectations low and was surprised with bricks!

They haven't quite finished the bricks but they also managed air-conditioning and the front door.

The Australian summer may bring the risk of everything, skin, bush, sausages, burning to a crisp, but it must be said that it is excellent for washing. All of our bed linen, bath towels and beach gear was washed and dried overnight. Now I just need to do our clothes and get ready for Toby's birthday, the arrival of grandparents and the first day of my new job. It's fortunate that I have had three weeks off, tomorrow is going to be a big day.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Family time

So, what have we been doing in this week between Christmas and our beach holiday? We've been swimming at the Shephards' a few times, I even went in once. On the whole, I'd much rather have a cool shower than a swim. In a pool you get all salty or chloriney, your fingers turn into prunes and when it's over,  you have to take off your sodden swimmers and struggle to pull dry clothes over damp skin. As for the ocean, it is full of creatures and who-knows-what-else, as well as being quite violent with intent to push your face in the sand! Still, sometimes, the kids really like it if I go swimming with them, so I do it.

I didn't do it on this day, though.

On New Year's Eve we watched the fireworks on TV and then played with sparklers. Joss took a celebratory selfie. Don't be fooled by the beanie and dressing gown - it is hot here, even at night. Today will be over 40 and tomorrow is supposed to be 42 - that's 107.6 degrees fahrenheit!

The quiet was nice, but we were more than ready for some visitors, especially Joss and Toby's  most suited-by-age cousins! Mal, Marlee, Alannah and Jordy have just spent a couple of days with us and we have had a wonderful time. Sleep wasn't a big feature - what a waste that would have been! We all played Andrew's new game, Apples and Apples, and after the grown-ups had retired, the older kids kept playing. The hilarity was heart warming.

Mal took this photo of the kids in the dying light of yesterday.
 I always end up wishing we lived closer to family, but I wouldn't change the lifestyle choices we have made. Living in the country is so good for families. We have so much more time because everything is so close, it's more relaxed than city living and the housing is much more affordable. Anyway, we may have been the first to move away, but almost everyone else has moved away since, so the rest of the family isn't in one place either. We'll just continue to look forward to and make the most of all the visits, and not forgetting the online connection.

Tomorrow, we head to Bermagui, which is on the south coast and is going to be 29 degrees, not 42!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


We're not big on New Year's Eve parties or resolutions. Instead I'll take a look back at the year just finished.

In January we went to Bermagui for the first time and loved it so much we're making it a new family tradition.

Joss started high school, at a brand new school, and Toby went into middle school.

In February our house was on the market and right at the end of the month, we prepared for a deluge. The library workroom is on the lower ground floor so we put all of our bottom drawers up on our desks. We found out afterwards that there would have been two meters of water down there so that, and the moving of the bottom two shelves of books (that's a lot of books) would have been pointless!

The water came and the CBD was evacuated. We watched it from our suburb, high on the hill, and gave shelter to Stephen, a poor evacuee.

In March, Joss had her hair cut.

Mum and Dad came to visit before they went on their three month trip of a lifetime.

In April we went to Katoomba for Easter Convention, one of our favourite times of year.

We met our newest cousin, Eli, on the way home.

Our house was sold and we had to move!

In May, I turned forty and Bethany played soccer for the first time.

Our rental property was so pretty in Autumn.

Bethany drew in my notebook in June.

I did some uni marking,

....and Andrew was in a fabulous show at the Civic Theatre, raising money for Wagga's first feature film, Backyard Ashes.

In July, Nan and Grandad came to visit.

Bethany turned 8.

We went to Melbourne to visit the family and had Joss' birthday there.

We saw the Ks on the way home, remembering how good it was to have them just around the corner.

In August we said goodbye to Maame, so sad.

Bethany went on stage during a school assembly.

Andrew Daddo came to the library as a visiting author and I felt the need to have my photo taken with him. It's a 1980s thing.

Bethany went to her Book Week parade as Emily Eyefinger.

In September, Joss got braces.

Toby had an awesome eisteddfod......

..was enjoying track cycling....

...and was voted class captain.

In October, we went to Monica's wedding and Mum and Dad came to stay.

I left with Mum and Dad and they took me to Kincumber to visit these people!

I had such a wonderful time.

In November I flew to Sydney for Janice's birthday party. Three school friends who turned forty this year.

The slab was laid for our new house.

In December, we said goodbye to the Halbisches.

Everyone finished a great year at school.

The house looked like this at the end of the year.

We are very thankful for God's many blessings over the year and are looking forward to what 2013 will bring!