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The last to leave the nest

Did they even have three year old kindy ten years ago? My girls never attended. It was around, but not many centres offered it. Now with year sevens leaving Primary schools to be taught at High Schools, and the changes in starting school age in WA, they have become the norm.

Master x and I spent an hour being orientated to his three year old kindy this morning. He happily did every oneof their puzzles, and challenged himself by taking the numbers from the puzzles and putting together his own numbers. “Look Mum, there is no number ten so I will make one with the one and the zero. Now I will make number 38 and number 42″.

He explored the outdoors and gave his approval of the slide and the water tray. He bounced across the wobbly bridge, although he couldn’t understand why children kept jumping the queue as he waited for each one to finish, so he could have a go.

He did a wee in the tiny toilets and we read the sign that said “Please flush the toilets.” He flushed four times, just to make sure.

The verdict? “I like kindy Mummy, can I come back tomorrow?”

How will I cope leaving him for 2 1/2 hours next week? All.by.himself?

Will I ever stop missing them?

I was in such a funk today. I thought I was on a downer from hosting 44 people for both lunch and dinner on Saturday, in 42 degree heat. I moped about, tidying up but not achieving much. Miss e was engrossed in a novel and master x was happily going from puzzle to puzzle to book. We cuddled on the sofa together and watched some Charlie and Lola before his nap time.

Miss i started back at school today. She was ready. She has memorized elements 21 – 40 of the Periodic Table and written 62 000 words on her novel. She spent yesterday revising her French online, just in case she had forgotten some.

 

At three o clock I checked my email and saw a reply from miss i, aged 12, who was at her first day of Year 8. I had emailed her to ask how her day was going, and to tell her that I missed her already. We had both forgotten that school swimming squad training started that afternoon, so I dropped off her swimming bag and drove her from the front of the school to the back where she jumped out to train.

My spirit had lifted! She was happy, but I had missed her. Only ten more weeks until I get to hang out with my favourite girls again. Master x has his 3 year old kindy orientation tomorrow and miss e starts back at school on Wednesday – another day of funk I am guessing.

Australia Day, our way

Day three of a heat wave here and we spent Australia Day organising our home and garden, ready to host 44 extended family in two days time. I used the 40 degree day to paint one side of the house. As you do. Luckily homme came up with the idea to hang reticulated misters along the gutter at the edge of the verandah. The mist helped.

After cleaning up, we raided the fridge to put together a picnic dinner and met our friends at Monument Hill in Fremantle to watch the fireworks. We can actually watch the Fremantle fireworks over the Port and if we look to our right we can watch the higher ones from the larger Perth display.

Throughout the evening we were also treated to a spectacular lightning display. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t catch it on film. A new appreciation for those that do.

Our night in pictures.

As the sun sets

Lights from the Port

 

The main event

 

Fun with glow sticks

 

Then the moon shines

 

Public Service announcement – part two

So I learnt a lesson that if you spend ages loading up lots of photos of hot bodies onto your blog, when you press publish, only two thirds of the blog post appears. Seems it was too hot for WordPress to handle!

Not so for you ladies though. The comments and emails indicate that it was necessary to post part two:

So where was I?

Not to be outdone by the boys, there was one female swimmer there on the day. Therese Alshammar has the.most.perfect freestyle stroke you will ever see. It was a joy to see her swim up and down the pool. After her laps she went off for a run, or the like, and then came back to address the squad. She is a Swiss swimmer and comes to Perth in our Summer to train. She is 34 years old and recently was the oldest female to win a World Championship medal. Her main message again was that if you enjoy a sport, you can enjoy a long and happy career. I loved her quotes:

Ïf you are a good friend, you will have good friends, if you are a team member, you will be surrounded by a good team, and listen to your coach.”

Miss i asked her to sign her swimming cap which I thought was sweet.

The media arrived and wanted photos so they staged some shots of Eamon in the pool with the girls:

That is miss i in the red cap to the right of his head. She told me later that the older girls were quietly saying “Save me Eamon!”and when told to move forward to get a better view, they said “The view is fine just here.”

And I thought I was the only one appreciating this angle:

 Enough said..

Eye Candy or the one where you get to talk to men in very little clothing – part one

Miss i’s school opened their new outdoor swimming pool last year after many years of building. It is as environmentally sound as a pool can be with a bore travelling something like 2km underground to a naturally heated aquifer which is used to heat the pool naturally and also provides the energy to air-condition surrounding school buildings. It is an amazing venue.

We have been spending the best part of our holidays at the pool each morning. Miss i has been swimming with the school squad which offers free coaching three days per week . Miss e has been booked into lessons every day. Master x and I do puzzles or play games in the stands and he gets to have a small swim when they both finish.

Last week the school squad had the privilege of watching some Olympians train in their pool. Geoff Huegill addressed the girls before he jumped into the pool himself. He is such a lovely guy! He talked about how he loved swimming but actually never won a National Age medal until he was 17 years old. He spoke of his success in the pool representing Australia, his retirement from the sport and his subsequent weight gain, and coming back to swimming to get his life back on track. He emphasized that if you enjoy anything in life then enjoy it regardless of winning.

My question is how do you lose 50kg and have no stretch marks??? or wobbly skin???

Head coach Grant Stoelwinder was generous with his teaching and talked the girls through the techniques he was using. He then took the girls for training. Miss i said she learnt lots of new skills. Geoff gave them some butterfly drills to do which looked painful, then Eamon Sullivan and Matthew Abood took the girls for skills on relay changeovers. They all got to have a go with the boys passing on valuable tips.

Eamon and miss i

All of the swimmers were very generous with their time and advice. They willingly gave autographs and had photos taken, and even moved their towel a little so I could get the Olympic ring tattoo in the shot…

The gingerbread house

Once upon a time there was a Great Uncle with no children of his own. He was a kind and fun Uncle and was considered ïmmediate” family. He joined us for Christmas at his Sister’s house and liked to sleep under the stars on his self inflating mattress. He often shared his bed with our dog Jacko, and although not a ‘doggy’person, shed a tear when Jacko left us last year.

Three Christmases ago this Uncle turned up in Mandurah with a gingerbread house he made all on his own. It was dense and full of lollies. It was wonky and yet a work of art. All eight of his nieces and nephews present oohed and aahhed over this house, displayed in cellophane. Uncle Pete as he is known to these children brought with the gingerbread house, his own criteria for choosing one child each year to be given the honour to SMASH the gingerbread house to pieces with cousins looking on in awe. He told these children that they were welcome to try and persuade him as to why he should choose them.

The middling children and the older children started their pleas. Uncle Pete giggled at their stories.

Boxing Day arrived and the announcement was made. Master S was given the honour due to the fact that he had had a difficult year with hospitalisations and was about to endure more blood tests and a sleep study, aged six. He swung that hammer quite timidly at first until egged on by his older cousins and sibling. With one big blow, pieces of gingerbread house went flying. Six cousins dived in for their handfulls of lollies (two cousins were babes in arms and more interested in milk).

Christmas 2010 rolled around and on the evening of Christmas Day Uncle Pete joined us. Much to the children’s delight he had another biscuity creation to admire. Without notice, they knew the drill and started charming their Great Uncle. It was a two day wait this time and Uncle Pete announced that the eldest child, miss i would be given the hammer. His reason was that she was venturing into a new season of her life, starting High School in the new year. She didn’t hesitate and smashed it in one blow. More sweet goodness for most, although miss i and miss e were no longer addicted to sugar and sampled only a piece or two.

This Christmas, the tradition had formed. Uncle Pete was planning to train it to Mandurah and sent his secret parcel down with Granny and Grandad earlier in the week. The cardboard box lay unnoticed until his arrival when all was revealed. Miss e and her 4 week older cousin, master L were starting to get desperate to win Uncle Pete over. First they started with hardships they had faced, challenges they were facing and then miss e offered a foot massage which had him melting literally in her hands. If there was ever a time he was going to change his already made up mind, this would be it.

They shared the title. The announcement was made the next morning and miss e and master L were given a hammer each. Their faces beamed as the other children (minus master x who was sleeping and has yet to experience the magic of the gingerbread house) watched in anticipation for the house to explode. Much laughter was shared as several mouths were filled with lollies and biscuit, and everyone lived happily ever after.

 

 

Christmas collage

Because the primary reason for this blog is to record my family memories, it is never to late to record our Christmas..

Such a lovely day. Miss e was the first to wake at 4.40am and sent promptly back to her bed. She re emerged at 6am and was told to take her pillow and rest on the floor of her sister’s room. Mean? Hell no, we were not starting our day until master x arose. Goodness knows any day he wakes and the clock does not begin with a 4 or 5 is a good day!

At seven o clock he woke and sat in wonder in front  of the tree which now housed presents, beautifully and lovingly wrapped. We settled in for some unwrapping but he wasn’t too fussed at first. After watching his sisters, he got into the spirit although after wrapping his first of four presents, he was more than happy to play with the magnetic letters on his new easel his sisters had bought him. His balance bike was left to the end and he was in his element ripping of the paper by then.

Miss e and miss i relished their piles of books, new board games and Big Bang Theory series 4 dvds. Our main family present this year were tickets to see Mary Poppins the musical in April.

We shared our traditional breakfast of leg ham and eggs on the deck then packed up to head to Mandurah for a few days with homme’s family. This year it was lovely to have my own Dad and stepmother join us for Christmas lunch.

Days of fun with the cousins followed. Granddad growled if they came too close to interrupt the Boxing Day Test Match. They were interested in the score and would join the crowd on the sofas, but it was way too much to ask them to sit there quietly when they could dissect, analyse and predict the result every half hour. At least Granddad can take his hearing aids out!

Homme’s parents’ home is lovingly referred to as the Bermuda Close Cafe and the food just kept coming. All delicious, all prepared by someone else, heaven.

Our family of five ventured up the road and caught up with my Dad’s brother and his children. Many laughs were had and we met up again on the beach next day.

Days spent chatting on the canal, fishing on the jetty and watching passing dolphins.

Happiness, good health and good humour, Christmas 2011.

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