I'm hoping it's just a stage I'm going through, and maybe something to do with all the various projects I've been trying to achieve on top of my normal responsibilities (board painting, cavemen costumes etc and lets include while we're at it the school holidays because that has been a project in itself, organising playdates and activities and visits) but lately I feel like my blog has just become a series of lists of what we've been doing, without any proper form or content or even coherence. And having brought that to your attention, you'd think I'd then produce some quality blogging as an antidote, but no! It's another list of doings, I'm afraid. At least we can look back and say those September school holidays in 2010 were good fun, weren't they?
So our doings for the last week or so or of hols were:
We had the Peppermint Patcher Clan over to our house for dinner and served them yellow food. (Ginger coconut chicken and lemon tart). They came bearing lego gifts for my children (always a winner) and chocolates for the grown-ups, and Pip went out and kicked a soccer ball with the boys which led to Cherub saying seriously to me later in private you know Pip is actually a weally nice person. Tracey also let us play with her ipad (or giant iphone as Cherub called it) which the boys thought was wonderful.
I met up with Tracey, Pete and Pip again on the Friday, along with the lovely Lisa, for a bloggy get-together; being a football avoider I neglected to take note that the pre-Grand Final parade was going on in the city at exactly that time and organised our meet-up at a place just adjacent to the madness, Lisa was this close to going home in a huff but then she found a parking spot. It has been really great spending this time with the Peppermint Patch family, who I love, I really do. They are funny and charming and interested and interesting and I think blogging is a really cool thing to have brought friends such as them into my life, all the way from Far North Queensland.
We have borrowed Astrid's Wii while she suns her toes in Port Douglas. The boys are having a really good time with it, but I can't see us buying one. The original point of borrowing it was to see if Fixit would use it to help with weight loss, but he hasn't gone near it in the time we've had it. The boys, meanwhile, are working their way avidly through Lego Star Wars amid shrieks of laughter, and playing very co-operatively, I might add. But I think it will work best as a sometimes treat rather than a household staple.
We went with Jenny, a fellow football Grand Final avoider, to The Zoo while all the kerfuffle was going on, and had a lovely time. While we were at the Meerkats (Climber's favourites) some people were let in to the enclosure and photographed whilst interacting with the meerkats. The keeper threw grubs everywhere and the meerkats were so tame, sitting on laps, trying to get inside the keepers grub-bucket, Every single child on the outside watching this said I want to go in there too! It was a veritable chorus of jealousy, mingled with hope that if some people could go in there, they all could.
We came home thinking we'd done a wonderful job avoiding the Final, only to discover it was a draw and the whole thing is being replayed on this weekend, bah.
We've also gone swimming, attended a friend's bowling alley birthday party [shudder], attended a lego workshop, had lots of playdates, been to cricket practice twice, and in amongst all that I decided I was going to learn crochet (thank you Youtube and this book)...
(Foxs Lane is my Guru du Jour, this is her crocheted ric-rac, underneath you can see the wrong way to do it, and on top is the way it will look if you go back after practicing crochet for a bit and READ THE INSTRUCTIONS PROPERLY)
then I decided I would, in my wisdom, make-not-buy some presents. Five of them! By Sunday! So my cousin's baby is getting these pants (Aunty Cookie's very good pattern from the Meet Me At Mikes book),
... my aunt is getting this Vineyard Washcloth which is also swiped from Foxs Lane (Kate's is much neater than mine!).
(and oh my God, lace knitting! Serious concentration required for this project, and absolutely not possible to do this one in public. Ravelled here, as the knitters say...)
... and as for the other 3, well, maybe, just maybe I will be trying my hand at wheat-bags on Saturday afternoon, whilst not watching the Grand Final Mark II. Or I might go shopping like a sane person.
But in the meantime, today is the last day of Sixness for my Cherub, yes the countdown is over, the presents are wrapped...
... and the boy is asleep and dreaming of a glorious day tomorrow. We're having a few friends round for cake. He can't wait.
Here are the things I'd like to tell you about from today's visit to The Royal Melbourne Show:
1. Bogans (or Showgans as Jenny told me is the name for bogans who go to the show) just don't care what they look like. It occurred to me too late to try and take some snaps of the sort of outfits that assaulted my eyes all morning, but good grief! No shame.
2. The Climber tried some much scarier rides this year and seemed to enjoy them, but he is definitely NOT what you'd call a hardcore thrillseekin' extreme type of 9yo. Thank goodness.
Fixit took him on the roller-coaster after this ride; my guess is that of the two of them, it was Fixit who enjoyed that ride the most.
3. The Cherub made me buy fairy floss, took one mouthful and handed it back saying he didn't like it. I may have mentioned before that he is a rather fussy eater? Luckily we had not yet bought a stick for the fairy-floss-loving big brother, so waste not want not. (Fixit scored the rest of Cherub's little friend's floss, who liked it but found it too intense about a third of the way into it.)
The kids also enjoyed the Aus Freestyle Trials, but I was mildly disappointed that they said they weren't going to do any of their super awesome tricks because they were saving them for later in the day. That's discrimination against very young kids who were probably only there for the morning, I reckon. Not that they seemed to mind, the tricks we saw were still really good.
5. All the kids in our posse seemed to have no concept that you could go into the pavilions and have a look at stuff. They're all about the carnival, clearly, our children. Taking a shortcut through the Grand Pavilion caused great confusion in the Under 10s. I think I'll try and rectify this next year with my kids, may have to separate from the friends to do this though... The exception to this Ignoring the Pavilions thing was of course the Animal Nursery, only because they know the drill by now. Nobody gets on a ride or does anything carnival-like until they've petted and admired some baby animals, thus:
6. Still managed to get out of there with one $5 showbag per child. Freddo Frog, natch. We love our Freddo Frog Showbag.
7. As per my resolution from last year, I went on the Giant Slide. I'm in the purple lane.
I love school holidays, which is maybe a bit unfashionable to say, and don't get me wrong, by the end of them I am quite happy to wave the kids off to school again. But I like slothing round the house, I like sleeping in, I like having more time with the boys, I like being out of the grind of if it's Monday it must be tennis, spaghetti bolognese and tap etc, I like catching up with friends, I like planning fun stuff to do - like visits to the Royal Show, Lego workshops and err.. a 3-day tennis clinic. Hmm, so much for getting out of the tennis-on Monday grind...
I took the camera down today when I went to collect them, planning to catch some tennis action, but !sloth mode! arrived too late. But look: there's a court and some balls and here are the boys with their new haircuts, which is another activity we like to do on our holidays. Please excuse Cherub, though, he had hat hair.
As a bonus this year, I have given myself some time off work; a whole 9 days in a row without teaching any tap. (I usually teach the adults through the holiday period.) The flip-side of that, of course, is no tap income for the duration, but it seemed worth it to recharge my batteries, and to give myself time to chill with my family, as well as a break from that pressure of getting the dinner on the table at a precise time and finding a huge burst of energy at the tail-end of the day.
I'm not usually the hostess with the mostest (I'd much rather be a guest, frankly) but having 9 days off without work has made a switch flick in my brain, giving me the energy and motivation to consider entertaining extra people. So on Sunday nights we had the Mothers Group over for playing and pizza, and tonight we're having some guests from Queensland.
Rearranged the noticeboard (there was an embarrassing surplus of out-of-date notices pinned up, plus I needed a really comprehensive list of things I mustn't forget to do over the next three weeks, because of all the end-of-term and holiday activity coming up.)
Tidied the kids' bookshelves. (Mostly because I was unsuccessfully trying to locate the Climber's missing and ridiculously overdue library book. I just don't know where the bloody thing is, seriously. The house is in pretty good shape these days, the only real Black Hole of Calcutta is the Spare Room, and I'd almost rather pay the $26 replacement fee than tackle that room. I do need to do one last check under the kids' bunk-bed, fingers crossed. But isn't there something lovely about a bookshelf where the books are mostly vertical?)
Got the washing totally under control, including the woollens, which have been festering away for months. (This is what Basil thinks the woollens drying on the racks are really for)
Typed up 2 tap routines ( I find it very difficult to just type stuff up on the computer because the internet keeps distracting me) and taught myself a bit of crochet.
We started the day with the kids' soccer presentation event, a Family Fun day. The boys were very happy to receive their medals and certificates and they both enjoyed having a go on the human futsal pitch (they strap you to a position like you're a player on a soccer table, bit bizarre but the kids go mad for it) and eating a bit of Family Fun Day food.
Then we came home and set about fixing up, to the best of our abilities, the fence situation: due to the construction site next door, we do not have our usual (or even an adequate) fence arrangement. The kids can pretty much be trusted not to go wandering off, however, the same can't be said for the little kittycat, whose favourite thing right now is Outside Time. Annoyingly for him, we are rather anxious about letting him go too far just yet, (long-time readers would know why), so while Outside Time is allowed, Outside The Backyard Time is not.
While Fixit and Cherub worked on making it non-jump-overable (because yes, Basil's escaped that way before), using the leftover roll from the builders and tough luck if they didn't want us to, seeing as they left it lying in our sideway ...
... Climber worked on the crawl-under-able section (escaped that way also) using some of next-door's bricks, and again I say tough luck; two and a half months we've been without a fence now.
Meanwhile, Basil sat inside, looking out at us grumpily...
... until we had it all organised.
It all would have been fine except we none of us remembered to shut the Driveway big enough to let a car through, let alone a cat Gates, so we still spent half an hour calling for Basil up and down the street. He turned up inside so we never actually found out if he did escape.
Last night we went to the Grade 3/4 Concert to watch Climber and his friends. This concert was so much better than last year's! (Which although I didn't say at the time, I absolutely hated) But this year, every class, every child did a great performance. The theme was Inventions, featuring 5 important ones: Steam Engines (Chattanooga Choo-choo /Locomotion) The Telephone (Hanging on the Telephone / Ring Ring) Photography/Cameras (Video Killed the Radio Star) and Space Travel (Space Oddity/ Walking on the Moon). Our class were the cavepeople who invented The Wheel. Their song -of course- was Proud Mary.
I was chief costume-mistress this year for our class. You see what can happen if you decide to take up sewing? Don't say I haven't warned you. I've spent the last fortnight scouring the fabric shops for cheap polar fleece, crushed velvet and animal print lycra, after which I sewed all the boys' costumes (17 in all). But they looked ace on the night, so virtue was its own reward.
I wasn't supposed to be going to this Craft Camp, having attended 3 already this year and not wanting to be a hog. But then Suse and Janet asked why didn't I come and hang with everyone on Sunday, just for the day? And then, (as Thirdcat says) because of reasons, Mary and Sue found they couldn't make it at all, so suddenly there was a bed free on Saturday night and Kaye-the-lovely masseuse was willing to wait till my Saturday morning tap classes were finished to drive herself and me to Lancefield to hang out with the Crafty Girls. Really it was just an offer too good to refuse. I didn't even have to cook, which just felt sinful.
As always, I had a superb time; scrumptious food and excellent company, lots of laughs and long chats and kindred spirits. Thank you Suse, Janet, Gill, Tania, Kate, Magda and Felicity. You are all gorgeous and I loved wagging Fathers Day to be with you girls. Sh! Don't tell Fixit. In between gas-bagging and laughing with the girls, I almost made a polar fleece dressing gown for Climber, although I'm thinking about re-doing the bit I rushed, so no photos as yet.
Instead I offer you some photos I took of the crew, although somehow I seemed to have missed Felicity entirely, molte scuse, plus there are a couple more photos here. I'm also including a personal apology to the owner of Sewjourn, the lovely Jan, for a slight mishap we had whilst there, mostly because I'm worried the other chicks will tell all sorts of stories in order to protect the guilty.
We're very sorry but *someone* broke the Sewjourn Stork. Well. Mostly broke him. A bit. He's still standing! He's still in his lovely - now with extra Biggles Hat! - knitted ensemble and he didn't drop Jodie's fish. But, well...
His arse.... it fell off. We're so sorry.
We're trying to make sense of what happened, truly.
We thought about blaming concrete cancer, or the torrential rains we had that weekend. (Those photos above show a very rare event, some actual sunshine and non-rainyness, because the whole weekend, pretty much, it was slooshing down.)
But Sewjourn, it's so lovely, and you are so ace for making it so we can escape for weekends of crafty, girly goodness that I thought I should be straight with you.
I suspect the other girls may try to spin you a line, feed you some rubbish story about what happened.
But I hope you know, Jan, that you can trust me.
So it pains me to say it, but I have to tell you...
That although these three look like they're admiring Tania's Knitted Cactus err....Knob-Coverer
One of them is actually, like a serial killer, returning to the scene of the crime. Yes!
Don't you try and run off there Miss Suse Pea Soup! You know what you did. Sure, it IS a Biggles Hat you made for poor old Storky, but did that mean you had to re-enact some huge Sopwith Camel battle scene in amongst those bloody great cacti, hmmm? Surely you could have foreseen it would all go badly wrong?
The thing that baffles me is, how did any of your children survive into boyhood? If you can break a CONCRETE stork merely by placing a knitted pilot's hat on its little head, then either your babies went hatless or you've been working out lately.
Small notes left lying around in strategic locations with I wont on the outside (he means want of course, not won't) and pictures of the lego set he'd weally weally like on the inside?
That can only mean one thing.
Cherub's birthday must be coming up.
(For the record, after his mad build-up to Christmas last year he suddenly announced that he was too grown-up to do tick-charts for birthdays and Christmas now. I suspect his older brother scoffed when it was suggested that he might need one for his birthday in January? I said at the time that there was nothing babyish about tick-charts, but Cherub looked at me doubtfully. Older brothers' opinions hold a lot of sway. Anyway. Eight months later and Cherub starts following me round the house, asking me in slightly defensive tones to make him a tick-chart. Poor lad. He is one of life's count-downers and just couldn't repress the urge. I think it's delightful, and probably more to do with the sort of person he is [ie very focussed, so unlike the firstborn] rather than his age.)
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