Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Non-Teaching Days of Winter

We've been told quite a lot lately at work that school holidays are not teacher holidays, but 'non-teaching days' and we should be making the most of this time without our classes to prep & do the millions of paperwork we need to get done... which is true, it would be impossible to get through the term without getting things organised before-hand & who else gets 12 weeks break? But I have also come to the conclusion that during term I have spent countless hours outside the 8-4 hours marking, planning, reporting etc so I deserve to have a bunch of fun during the holidays :-) Don't worry I will still get all my work done!

Ok so here's what I've been up to lately.
Friday afternoon... just as I was about to leave for the term I got an email from my boss that said that I was no longer allowed to do something I was hoping to do next year (sorry for the cryptic-ness...I'll fill you in soon...hopefully!). I had a bit of a cry & a good 'coffee' (I don't actually drink coffee, but I think coffee sums up the whole catching up in a warm, cosy sort of a setting and being able to be honest and open with a good friend...mmm... it's sort of warming on the inside) with a lovely friend. I am actually more excited that it's not happening now... I have a new plan... eeek I hope it works. Stay tuned. Hopefully there are some concretes soon... anyway enough of the vagueness let's move on.

On Saturday I celebrated the first birthday of 'my' Hayden!
All 3 of my boys are one now! They are growing up so fast! Seriously, the skills these kids gain between the times I see them are amazing! Morgan was there too. He walks and says 'this' these days. such skills! Sorry I get excited about such things. grr sideways-ness!
Oh! Look at the cute snacks I made for the party!
A teddy bear race of sweet deliciousness!

Yesterday was a productive day! I amazed myself with the amount of things i got done - school work, gym, bank, real estate agent, travel agent (eeek!), lunch & ice-cream catch up with a beautiful friend (another 'coffee' catch up...so good for the soul!), looked after Hayden for a while, caught up with his lovely mummy, dinner with my parents, 2 loads of laundry, more school work and about 8 hours of google-research...2am is not a good bed time.

Today was a DIY day with my dad. I love projects with my dad! Today we built a fly-screen for my flatmate's room. Haha fun times. We also replace downlights in my kitchen, the washers in my bathroom taps and tested out my fireplace. I can't wait for smores night in my loungeroom...I just need to find out how we actually go about making a smore... any ideas my American friends? (Oh and I also need to get firewood... better not forget that one).

At the moment my mind is swimming with ideas and thoughts and concerns and stubborn-ness. Arrgh! I am hoping and praying that there will be some clarity soon & in the meantime I'm trying to exercise faith and patience!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Maple Syrup Burritos

Tonight I did two things I haven't done since December 16th, 2009 - emptied my dishwasher & used my kitchen whizz.

December 16th was the night I introduced my then boyfriend to my friends, by way of a burrito party (by complete coincidence that's what I'm eating right now). After the party everything was stacked in the dishwasher...which then broke. I've been meaning to re-wash the things in there ever since, just taking out the things I needed... (it seems you can survive 18 months without a dishwasher full of plates, mugs, cups and knives if you live alone). Why did I unpack the dishwasher tonight?

Well... I was cooking some burritos... when I couldn't find my grater, so I decided it was about time I got my kitchen whizz out. But! (the complication of the story) I couldn't find the pusher thing! so I looked everywhere (obviously not everywhere cos it's still missing). I then realised the last time I used this was when I was grating carrots for the party back in 09, which made me think of the dishwasher. So even though the pusher thing was not in the dishwasher I decided tonight was the night for washing/chucking those gross things.

But how did I grate the carrot?

Well I'm glad you asked. I then tried several methods of pushing the carrots into the whizz... fingers, random plastic stick, fork (don't try these at home). After a bit of trial and error I realised that the maple syrup bottle fit perfectly into the hole.

Luckily I have an excess of maple syrup bottles in my cupboard (long story), because the first one didn't survive...and left my carrot with a sweet taste. Is there any going back once you've had a maple flavoured burrito? hmm

Thus ends my story about the night of weird December 16th 2009 coincidences.  

A night by the fire

Last night I went to a bonfire to celebrate my friend's 50th. I love that I have friends that are 50.
It was such a fun night - the weather was absolutely (freezing but) perfect. Which was amazing after the 2 weeks of almost non-stop rain that we've been having.

The fire was kept going by the kids & kept us warm.. until about 11pm when the cold air won .

Me & the birthday girl. She's so much fun!
(oh and do you like my cute beanie with pink buttons on the ears?)
The fire kept us entertained for hours... we cooked damper, toasted marshmallows (that's a lie... mostly the kids toasted us marshmallows) and roasted potatoes. This is me and another friend from work with our potatoes. We were so proud of our roasting skills & they tasted amazing with butter and brie.

Also, I know you'll be excited to know, I am now a proper grown-up because I have my very own folding chair - with a cupholder! (but I forgot to take a photo of it) It was on special for $6.50 at Big W yesterday. Now I can bring a chair to all those 'bring a chair' events. I found out last night that the next level is 'picnic basket'... I'm looking forward to that one! haha

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My toes are wet

Today was not a good day for Dunlop Volleys

You probably can't tell from the photo... but my poor canvas shoes were no match for the crazy amount of rain today brought forth. My toes are still thawing. for future reference... if your feet are already soaked before you get in the car to go to work, go back and change the shoes. haha.

It pretty much poured all day today. My kiddlies are a bit cabin-fevered since the whole long weekend (Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth) was wet! Being inside all day made for some great conversations about the convicts crammed in the First Fleet ships for 8 months. I think some of them almost vomitted when we were talking about the lack of toilets.

We talked about how coming to Australia for the British was almost like us travelling to Mars (good link between our Space unit and our British Colonisation unit) and setting up a community there (well apart from the gravity, oxygen, atmosphere etc)... as in they really didn't know a whole lot about Australia, it was a long way from what they knew, they had to start pretty much from scratch in building a society.

It was fun asking my kids what we would need to take if we were planning an expedition to Mars to start a new society...
Kid: We will need phones
Me: How will you power them?
Kid: Electricity
Me: Where are you getting the electricity from?

Kid: Power lines
Me: Where will you get the powerlines from?
Kid: We'll bring them with us from Earth.

It still seriously amazes me that in 1788 eleven ships sailed to the other side of the planet to start a new colony with a bunch of criminals.
Fun times!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bound for Botany Bay

I love it when I get to wear a mob cap and a full length dress, apron and shawl to school...
(hehe I made Katrina's hat last night... but ran out of fabric so it was a tad small..hehe).

Today was not just 'wear something really random day..', our Year 3 & 4 classes had Colonial Day. Some guys(Colin & Ralph actually) came and performed for us and talked to us about our country's history. They incorporated heaps of song & after lunch we had a good old Bush Dance! This was my third Colonial Day so I pretty much the whole script...
But I learnt a few new things

- America was an Independent Country 5 years before Australia was even claimed 'for England' & settled. (boy our country is young)
- Australia received their last convicts from England in 1848. That was not very long ago! That's crazy!
- The guy who found the largest ever gold nugget (um it's not called a nugget when it's as tall as a man...um it was something like a matrix...hmm) in the gold rush used his millions to travel Australia in a caravan taking photographs. That's a pretty cool choice!
- Our history is insane! 750ish soldiers, settlers and convicts hop in boats and travel for 8 months to a place some guys visited 17 years before hand with the plan of setting up a new colony. It's crazy that they pulled it off. Seriously! there were so many unknowns!

I loved seeing my kids in colonial costumes. Oh they were so cute!
I loved singing the good old Aussie songs Home Among the Gum-trees (it is a million times better with 75 kids doing fun actions), Bound for Botany Bay & I Am Australian (as daggy as they are...) I am so blessed to live in this country! (I think I am getting more patriotic the older I get)
But the absolute high-light of Colonial Day was dancing with my kids! It was an absolute crack up. Somehow I ended up with at least 2 'partners' for each dance...which made for some interesting 'link your right arms and spin' moments. A little boy in my class has cerebral palsy & finds it difficult to participate in extended periods of exercise... but he couldn't stop grinning as we heel and toe polka-ed across the floor. These are the moments I live for. Such a fun day!

Oh one last picture just cos it's cute...
After work I had coffee at Gloria Jeans with 3 of my most amazing friends. Katriny and I both had Tim Tam Chillers (with caramel & sprinkles on top). Good times.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Space Conference

Last Tuesday my class hosted a Space Conference.
Every kid set up a display of all of the mini-projects they have done on Space this term. It was heaps of fun! We had 11 classes come and visit, as well as parents, other staff members (including the Principal :) ). It was great to see my kids (some of them were even in 'costumes'hehe) as the 'experts' excitedly talking about things they knew... "Did you know that there is an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter!" "Uranus spins sideways!" "Jupiter is made of gas" "The International Space Station is as big as a football field!"

Of course their posters weren't perfect and they used masking tape instead of sticky tape (arrgh!), they had spelling mistakes and some of their facts were...um a little made up. But I was soooo impressed with what they had created, it was their own work! They were so proud of themselves!
More than anything I loved hearing from parents "when are they going to stop learning about space? It's all we've heard every night at dinner 'did you know...'" That's the highest praise! My kids were excited about learning and completely engaged with their topic.

Here are a few of their displays (sorry I had to cut the kids out... they make the photos so much cuter).

This group gave out Milky Ways and Mars Bars..
OOoh sideways. The cardboard box is the girls' design for their bedroom on the International Space Station - their answer to the zero-gravity was 'sticky floors' hehe it was cute.
These girls answered the question 'how is the solar system like a bag of marbles'. They actually had some great answers...and of course they had to make a model of each planet (and i think they invented some of their own).
This is a model of what the ISS looked like in 2007 according to my boys (notice the masking tape...)

These are the cute space biscuits I made for my lovely kids. (They were pretty and yummy)

Some days being a teacher is the funnest!

A heavy week

This past week has been interesting. The mood at school last week was heavy. It was heartbreaking to watch the high school kids and their teachers grieve.
Questions in my class were generally only related to the 'how did he die?' and 'why did his friends write mean things on his facebook wall?' (why do my 8-10 year olds have access to facebook!?!) I'm glad I didn't have to deal with the emotion of it with them. It was hard enough dealing with my own.

Last Friday I joined almost 1000 other people at the funeral, crammed in the downstairs auditorium of the local Country Club. Despite the dodgy sound equipment and the noisy air conditioner you could hear the whole service (though you couldn't see it from my vantage point). It amazed me that 1000 people, mostly teenagers, stood in reverent silence for almost 2 hours.

His mother was so brave. It was just the 2 of them from before he was born. They were closer than any mother and son I've ever met. It was so hard to hear her sob as she spoke of her boy. But it completely broke my heart to watch her walk behind the hearse afterwards. I don't know how she did it. The absolute pain that was on her face is forever etched in my mind. She stumbled past, looking as though she could fall in a heap at any moment. I wanted to pick her up and hold her and sob with her and help her carry the burden she is carrying. But instead I stood, with everyone else, and watched.

I have never been a mother. I can't fathom the pain of losing a child.

Today we had a memorial for him at school. All of years 5-12 and last year's students attended. Three of my girls had permission to be there too. It was a great celebration of his life. I am so grateful that I work in a Christian school. Dealing with the death of a Christian teenager in a Christian Community has been hard, but hope-filled. Celebrating the 18 years we got to borrow him here and the eternity he is now living out with his Maker. But without the hope we have, how do you deal with death?

Our School Chaplain spoke about the legacy this kid left (he was a very passionate kid, who was always challenging himself). He challenged the kids (& us) about the legacy we are leaving. God has ordained each of us for a specific time and purpose. Are we passionate about carrying out the calling God has placed on each of our lives?

It's been an interesting week. Lot's of mulling. I don't have a good conclusion.