Friday, June 29

friday {freaky}

Last weekend we had a campfire for Sol's birthday.

Abel decided to grab the torch and thrill us with his spooky storytelling.

Here's the transcript...

ONCE upon a t-i-i-ime

There was a little g-i-i-rl

Ca-a-a-lled Biancaaaar
{Abel's cousin?}

{Abi's middle name?}

Biancaaarr Rosieeee

And she rised up

And a terrible storm came

And then a witch came and cursed her into a sheeeeeP

And then she ran away

Dying into the rain


That’s the end of MY STORY!

{cough cough splutter...}

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Thursday, June 28

abi {troubles with friends}

Sometimes my friends do things that surprise me. For example, one friend told the class in an assignment that she is in love with golf. I was like, wow! I never knew that!

My friends were surprised with me a little while ago.  I chose to do something unexpected and they felt offended by it.  I had been part of a group with them for a long time but this year I chose to spend some time with some other people as well. My friends got really offended and made a big deal about it.

I felt a little bit hurt by how they handled the situation.  I never thought they were people who would do that type of thing when someone makes different choices from the other people.

I realised I could try to stay friends with them and put up with it or just leave and put it behind me. I chose to put it behind me, but you could choose different. 

I've thought about why they didn't like my decision to have other friends and I think it's because of the way I told them about my decision.  Next time something like this happens I would speak to them more kindly about it so we can still be friends.

Now that I have changed groups I can see they had good reason to be hurt but I think the way they treated me was pretty mean.  I don't see why they have to be rude about my choices.

I have learned that when people say something that offends you, you need to get over it and get on with life. Just remember to always ignore them if they are getting to you.  

Always remember to explain your decisions straight to people's faces.  

If someone surprises you about what they've decided to do, you can feel okay about it and say to them "It's okay, you said it to my face, I understand what you mean."  If you can say that then your friend is reassured that at least someone understands.

I think it's wrong to make people feel bad about their decisions because everyone's different and they all have different minds and the way they think.

I just hope my message gets through to people that get stuck in things like this.

From Abi

Karen's note...
This post was written by Abi at my request. She recently weathered a sticky situation and I wanted her to reflect on how it played out.  These are all her own words, but I did ask her many questions and I prompted her to think about the issue from different angles.  I'm really impressed with what she came up with!

Wednesday, June 27

writing {seasons}

I'll never forget Abi's first winter in Canberra. She was six before she ever beheld a frosty June morning. What was this brave, new world glittering with ice crystals?! Being the generous kid she is, she promptly ran into the back yard, scraped up a pile of frost and gingerly carried to the freezer. Her plan was to take it to school later that morning and dazzle her awestruck friends at show & tell. Lucky them!

It took her a little while to adjust to this new season. Winter in Canberra was more than a bit different to winter in Wollongong. And I'm still getting used to it... the way my garage morphs into a drinks fridge, the way the whole city shuts down for two months, and the cruel irony of the coldest weather coming after the solstice! 

Surely it would make more sense for the temperature to grow with the daylight?

But it doesn't. In a nifty twist of science, even though the sun shines longer, the temperature continues to plummet.

The solstice passes. The sunlight strengthens. But yet, the city grows colder.

And eventually, wonderfully, mercifully, it warms up again.

Lately I've been thinking about how Life has its own seasons and signposts.  Sometimes we cross a threshold and expect the season to turn.  But just as in nature, time must pass. The season must complete its work.  We don't turn 30 (or even 15) and immediately feel mature. We don't birth babies (or businesses) and immediately feel fulfilled. We don't always feel connected after throwing parties and showers; and we don't always feel content with the accumulation of appliances and artwork.

I think the most difficult season we've weathered started when Abi began crawling (December 2002) and finished when Sol turned two, just before Abel was conceived (July 2006).  What made it tricky was that Abi was an incredibly easy baby.  When Abi was about 9 or 10 months old we breezed past the signposts that declared "family = arrived" and "parenting = nailed". But we were blindsided by how cold it was about to get. We had yet to pass through the season of tantrums, sleeplessness, sibling rivalry, brokeness-verging-on-poverty, and randomly vomiting toddlers. It was difficult not because of the physical work involved, but because we just couldn't see an end in sight!

And then something shifted. Just like blossoms bursting in springtime, we knew we'd entered a new phase when we'd wake up strangely refreshed in the mornings, when our belongings mysteriously stayed put, and when we couldn't remember the last time we had shovelled food into a mouth that wasn't our own.  And we exhaled.  We drank in the newness of a life without a stroller. We marvelled at what would come next.  The world was ours for the taking.

So we fell pregnant with Abel.  Rinse. Repeat.

And what's the point of all this?  Well I've learned that the beauty of seasons - especially in Canberra - is that they pass. None of them are perfect, but each of them are exquisite. They all uniquely do their work on us, drawing us to different places, events, mindsets, and experiences.

Some seasons in life are tough.  As for Bren and I, we're in a balmy summer with kids who are big enough to do cool stuff but small enough to crumple onto our laps.  The stage that each kid is at, the position Bren has achieved in his career, and the satisfaction I feel with my life are all refreshing breezes that swirl around us and nudge us from one day into the next.

I'm not naive enough to think it'll last.  So I'm enjoying it.  And when our next winter comes, and it will come, we'll just hang on. We'll hang on to each other, to our history, to the vows we made to each other.  Best of all, we'll smile and wink at the solstice, and try with all our might to be enchanted by the ice crystals in our back yard.

Tuesday, June 26

adventuring {campfire}

Hi! I'm Sol.

On Saturday we went to Uriarra to celebrate my birthday party.

We have light sabers in our hands.

My friend looks weird in this photo but he's one of my best friends.

This is our base in the logs and we're discussing something.

This is at the base.

This is down on the sand. The river is in the background.

It felt really good to be playing with all my friends at one time.

Take that!

Looks sweet, doesn't he?

But then he attacks me!

Oh! I'm down!

Another weird photo!
She's one of my friends.

All of us had a big battle at one time.

Heading back up the hill to go to the fire.

This is me and my friend making damper.

Abi and Abel.

All my friends made damper together.
Dad taught us how to make it.

Still making damper!

My friend put it on the fire.

This is what the damper looked like.
The things on top are sultanas and Abel thinks they look like bugs.

This is damper with golden syrup on it.
I didn't taste it but Abel did and he says:
"It was bad. Oops, good!"

Abel is roasting a marshmallow.

We had s'mores at our party.

This is how we made the s'mores.

Abi eating a s'mores!

This is the birthday cake.

Mum made the birthday cake and it looked really good.

These were the things that were in the party bags.
At the top is hot cocoa mix to make hot chocolate,
the middle one is stuff to make s'mores,
and the last one is trail mix.

This is what the party bags looked like.

They liked poking the fire with sticks.

Abel wanted to put ice near the fire.

Melting, melting, melting... !!!

This is a photo of me and Dad when everyone had left.
The day was really fun.

This is the thank you letter we printed for my friends.
Inside the bag is a big ship that I bought with my money.
Thanks to everyone for coming!

{Mum's note - special thanks to Tina for many of these photos, and for sharing her extensive s'mores experience! We'll be total pros for next time!}

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Monday, June 25

whip-it {homework}

I know everyone LOVES homework,
so I thought I'd share how we do it at our house!

First things first: we do it in the morning.

Why? Because a few months ago I had an epiphany.  I realised that the kids were always tired and grumpy after school, and I was always tired and grumpy after school, and so homework was about as fun as sewing your lips to your kneecaps with a rusty nail and a spool of pompom yarn, except only slightly more difficult and painful.

The switch to the mornings has ridiculously successful {ridiculous because I'm as much a morning person as Lady Gaga is a frumpy bogan}.

In exchange for afternoons of leisure, the kids agreed to be ready and raring to go by 8:00am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  The biggest thing I've noticed is that the kids seem to - wait for it - look forward to their homework when they're tackling it with a freshly slept brain.  Who knew?!

To help keep the process bubbling along even better, I have their gear organised near the kitchen just like this:

Not the most exciting display ever, but here's the rundown...

This basket on top is where I keep all my household documents - especially the dreaded school notes.  After school {or after the postie's been} the kids dump their notes or the mail into that front section in front of the blue divider.

When I get a moment to myself I sort it out.

I grab the basket, my iPhone, my wallet, and a pen and I action everything that needs actioning. After that, I throw out anything that's old and file {behind those nifty dividers} anything that I need to hang onto. I have tabs for school, sport, finances etc.

Behind the big plastic case {my bill folder} I tuck in a black wallet for receipts and the kids' Dollarmites school banking folders.

On the next shelf is a little basket {from Target, about $10} containing the usual stationery suspects. It gets carried to the kitchen table at homework time, along with...

... these little pots from Ikea {about $2 I think?}.  There's a writing pencil/pen pot, a texta pot, and a coloured pencil pot.  Just in case you couldn't tell.

The bottom shelf houses my recipe books and the kids' homework books.  The black folder to the far left contains the recipes I've collected over the years.

Do you stick recipes in a book like this?

Now this is a HUGE deal. This sticky date pudding recipe was shared with me by a lovely friend years ago. She found it in a Super Foods magazine and it's the BEST sticky date pudding recipe in the universe. It's one of those recipes that I'm always handing over because people MUST KNOW how I made the sticky date pudding!

Now, how we got here from a post about homework I don't know, but it can't be all bad.  Off you go, make pudding!

How do you organise the kids' homework?
Or do you just skip it and go straight to dessert?

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Sunday, June 24

instaweek {24 june}

It was a fun week here!

I spent the first half of the week in Brisbane with the boys
and the second half of the week planning Sol's birthday party.

The boys with their almost edible cousin, Darci.

The boys found this awesome curtain at GOMA.
Unfortunately, a couple of seconds after this pic was taken
I realised it wasn't a curtain.
It was an art instalment.
And see those little white lines on the floor
where the tiles turn from dark to light grey?
It says "Please Do Not Touch"

Getting cultured.

Flying away from Brisbane.
Bye-bye till next time!

I was fishing through some old photos this week for the Instagram prompt "Favourite photo you've ever taken."
This one of Sol is a special one for me.
At the age of three he seemed to Know Things!

I love winter sunshine.

Chilling out after Sol's party.

Sol's birthday cake.
Tiny Anakin Skywalkers toasting marshmallows.

Sol was spoiled rotten at his party!
His wonderful friends all chipped in so he could splurge on
Star Wars Lego at the sales.
Thank you, everybody!

Late Sunday afternoon and everyone's doing their own thing.

How was your week?
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