Thursday, October 31, 2013


I found this via Facebook. I have many objections to Halloween, and really don't understand the appeal. I have never enjoyed being frightened. I resent the fact that we have to prepare for people to come and ask for sugar, but the kids don't mind it at all. We will probably only get a few, maybe none will come, and then the chocolate will be theirs! Mwahaha....


Bethany quite likes the idea of trick or treating. She made this costume, just for fun, and realised when she put it on that she could use it to procure sweets! Not going to happen.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Getting On

Now that the weather is warmer, we have been thinking how nice it would be to spend time in the garden, or at least be able to send the children out there, but, like most houses in our street, we still don't have one! Last week, the first official step was taken and a bobcat took out most of the weeds, smoothed the bumps and made gentle slopes.

It's not much, in fact, it's almost a backwards step as we had green, purple and yellow with the weeds, but it is progress.

In some ways I think that my dreaming of a garden, or even just lawn, is a bit silly as spring is making me very, very uncomfortable with hay fever. I spent two days outside last week, buffeted by pollenated gusts of wind and felt that if it was possible to die of hay fever, I would have done it. Apart from that, the Children's Medical Research Institute Christmas Fair was lovely.

It's possible that Spring is so awful in order to make me enjoy summer more! I'm just an Autumn and Winter sort of girl.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The first house we bought was in Winmalee. We didn't have any bushfires while we lived there, we didn't, in fact, live there very long, but I did worry about them sometimes. It was very windy and the bush was just at the end of our street. It has been very odd to be in Wagga, which has been cool to cold, while our old suburb burned. The fires are so far away but we have had a couple of hazy days and the sun and moon have been red.

On Friday Andrew drove down to Melbourne to see Nik Kershaw and Kim Wilde in concert. He's not really the type to go to a nostalgic 80s gig (I am!) but he has long been a fan of Nik Kershaw who has been making music ever since the glory days. Andrew might tell you the story himself, it's very exiting because he met Nik!

Bethany became a mummy at Kids' Club, I didn't ask the significance.

On Saturday evening I took the kids to Fusion 13, Wagga's multicultural festival. I love the atmosphere in the Victory Memorial Gardens at this event, there is singing and dancing as well as jumping castles and food. We sat a watched for a while before braving the food stalls. I chose food from Sierra Leone, as I have read a lot of books from there this year as well as reading this blog. I'm glad to have chosen that, even if i didn't exactly like it. The queues were long and a bit disorganised. Toby took some money and lined up for curry, but the girls wouldn't go out on their own and by the time they had decided that they wanted the same as Toby and we spent time in that queue, they ran out of rice! We spent another 20 minutes lining up for satay sticks and then they had a delay there, too, so Toby and Bethany went on the huge jumping castle, we watched some Bollywood dancing and bought Joss and Beth McDonald's on the way home. I was very sorry to miss the African groups, but there is always next year, when we will take a picnic.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quick catch up

Hello strangers. In some ways, we had a quiet week last week. Andrew was recovering from an accident on the bike that left him concussed, with a black eye, swollen cheek and assorted scrapes and bruises. Thankfully, it happened when he was almost home and he made it the rest of the way. We spent a couple of hours at the hospital and nothing was broken. I can recommend rugby league grand final evening, before and during the game, as a good time to visit emergency, very quiet it was. It's a horrible place, though, shabby and dispiriting. 
The Shephards picked the kids up for us and took care of them at their house. Shep returned them later on, with name tags in case Andrew was still feeling the memory loss effects of concussion. He stayed home from work for most of the week and is feeling much better now. Exercise is dangerous!
The kids went back to school with varying degrees of enthusiasm. The older two have exams coming up but I feel like the weeks are going to fly past. Joss and I went to a French Immersion Hour at the library. It was part of Fusion, the multicultural festival, and was advertised as being about French food and culture. It turned out to be a French language lesson and Joss was not terribly impressed! I had a great time and she did manage to eat three macarons.
Now we are heading into weeks filled with musical rehearsals and performances and regular gigs for Andrew and card classes and markets for me. It'll be Christmas before we know it and I'm pleased about that. 

I haven't taken many photos, this is what Bethany and I do on lazy weekend mornings. Tea and reading. What more could you ask for?

Monday, October 7, 2013

To those who wait

There are good and bad aspects to most things. A good thing about having your birthday in the school holidays is that you never have to go to school on your birthday. A bad thing is, and this particularly applies to summer holidays, that friends may not be around for a party during the holidays and it is hard to arrange before the holidays and then tends to get forgotten afterwards. The last few years have seen a few missed parties. We, and I suppose I am using the royal we, meant to have a party for all three children in recent years, but didn't actually do it.

Endeavouring to do better next year didn't work, so I decided to just have unbirthday parties. Joss changed her mind a bit but then decided to have one friend over and go to the movies, hang around downtown and then have a sleepover. She did that on Friday. Toby, however, wanted to go to LaserZone.  Finding a free weekend amongst all the cycling, gigs, markets etc. was very difficult, and I don't think I realised that the weekend I chose was in the holidays on the long weekend, but we were thrilled that only a few of his friends were away and couldn't come. One girl even raced back from the south coast so she wouldn't miss out.

They had so much fun!
Toby is bending forward here. He is actually the second smallest....
I have never played, so I don't know how it works, but you get a name and a vest and gun and you have to shoot people and bases. Thirteen kids running around in the dark, upstairs and down. Bethany was allowed to play too and Andrew joined in once.

I don't know who Penny was! 
As part of the party you get lots of pizza, and I chose to have the party from 5 - 6.30pm so that it would be dinner. I'm not sure I approve of mid-morning or afternoon pizza. Lots of these children like Hawaiian pizza but I don't judge.

I made this chocolate cake with much chocolate on it.

I'm not sure how far this trend extends, but amongst Toby's friends at this stage, the thing is to give gift vouchers or cash and food. That was never done when I was a child! He received two actual presents, some chocolate and lollypops and much buying potential! They also do hand made cards full of private jokes from school, that's a good trend.

The kids were really delightful, an even mix of boys and girls. Outsourcing parties can be very expensive but this was was worth every cent. I am now organising Bethany's, which is going to be at home........ am I going to regret it?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sydney trip

So here's the promised post about our trip to the velodrome.

The cycle club (juniors) somehow managed to book to sessions at the Olympic velodrome and a whole bunch of us set of a couple of weekends ago to get a taste of what it would be like if they were competing in the Nationals. It was a wonderful experience - such an amazing environment.

When we walked in and first saw how steep it was at either end, Joss just said "NO WAY" and Toby started considering whether or not this was something he was going to actually do. I've been to indoor velodromes before, but am still surprised at how steep it actually is.

It was really hard to get a photo that captured how steep it is

Once they were on their bikes though, it didn't take long to get a bit of confidence up. In fact, within the first 1/2hr, Joss was riding above the sign up the top. Toby, being a lot more cautious, took his time, but ended up being able to ride through the sign.

They rode for 15-20min stints, had a few mins off and did this repeatedly for about 4.5hrs on Sat and 3 more on Sunday - it was a little tiring just watching them. They did a little bit of racing, a lot of socialising and didn't want to go. It won't be the last time we go there!

The view from the end

It was all about speed and height for this girl

The cautious approach

Many tried the climb without success

Lap after lap after lap after lap...

...then a rest and a chat :)

before more laps...

...and a race or two.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Toby has a delightful group of friends at school. A couple of the girls circulated a piece of paper, in the last week of term, to see which day in the holidays people would be free to go to the movies and bowling. They chose a date and rang a few days ago to confirm. I answered the phone and handed it over to Toby who said that they did nothing but giggle and talk to each other, instead of him!

I dropped Toby at the cinema and waited for a while before coming to the realisation that he had gotten the time wrong. All that giggling must have out him off. They saw Turbo and then went bowling. They were in high spirits when I came to pick Toby up.

Toby doesn't love having his photo taken.

Pick the extroverts.
I hope Toby makes lovely friends like these at his new school next year.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hanging with the Soups

Not seeing their cousins is the hardest thing about living where we live, as far as the kids are concerned. Of course, of the seven children across my and Andrew's families, only one still lives in Sydney, so there isn't anywhere we could live to be close to everyone. We're very thankful for Skype and Google Hangouts because we can see people when they are far away, but having family to stay is very sweet.

Last week, the first week of the holidays, we had the Soups. Andrew and I had to work but we all had a fabulous visit. As usual, I took next to no photos!

Xavie and J
The big kids love to play with the little ones, though occasionally some had to retreat for a bit of alone time.

Uncle Andy is always a big hit

The little one we had only met once!
We love having the space for visitors!