Monday, December 13, 2010

The Importance of Secondary Edumacation

We've always noticed that there's a shortage of older kids at our homeschool / unschool groups. and I've been forming a bit of a theory about this over the recent days. Bear with me while I bash it out for you!

I've noticed that a lot of people seem to think that now Stylish is in highschool I'll get over my "phase" and do the "right thing" by sending her to school. But I'd rather chew my leg off. The more I think about their well meaning, IRRITATING commentary, the more I begin to see why though. People who think it's ok to homeschool for the primary years but for highschool kids NEED a proper, state sanctioned edumacation, have totally bought into the idea that without a leaving certificate, children will FAIL FAIL FAIL. And you can't blame them for that because the state puts out a lot of propaganda to support that.

I'd like to address that first, just quickly though, because I've already raved about it in previous posts - I think. Think back to your last job interview. Did the interviewer ask you how well you had done in school? Or did they just want to know what life experience you had which qualified you to fill the available position? A leaving certificate is useful - but not necessary - for entering university, but not much else. Home schooled kids (yes, even unschooled ones) regularly enter tertiary education institutions, and they do quite well (thankyou very much!)

So, that aside, why is highschool so terribly important? In my experience .... it's NOT! Children learn very little in highschool, that will serve them later on. They learn to hate study, they learn that learning is only important if it's about things the state deems necessary, and they learn to smoke cigarettes and use sexist, homophobic, racist language from sun up to sun down. However, primary school is an entirely different matter. In primary school, children learn the crucial skills of literacy and numeracy. Literacy is the backbone of our society, and numeracy is handy too. I should note here that that is the intended purpose of primary school, it's not always the outcome.

So, no. I'm not going to send my daughter to school now she's in highschool. She is naturally curious, and driven to learn at her own pace, about things that she intends to use in her lifetime. She learnt to read and write and count in a school (although probably mostly at home when I think of it!) and she's learnt everything she's actually interested in, and using daily, since she was removed from the institution. Stop stressing your kids out about exams they're never going to need the scores from, stop stressing about them remembering the useless facts they're not going to remember in two years time (probably even two weeks after the final exam). Teach them to cook dinner, grow vegetables, care for living creatures, manage money, and let them focus on what they're interested in. The world has enough worker bees, we really need some more free spirited queens! So my theory is that many people, even home schoolers believe that the most important stuff in highschool. And my belief is that this is simply not true.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I love my tall kid!




Stylish went to bed leaving the light on in the rumpus room, so I went in to remind her to switch it off and she was writing in her diary. She invited me to sit down and she read me some entries. I was so moved when she read me the entry from the night Angus was born, it was so funny, and so joyful that I was crying happily while she read. Although I did not give her the gift of a birth, I have given her the gift of being part of a birth. I know that, should she choose to have children, they will be born at home. I'm so proud of the young woman she is, she's smart, funny, helpful, thoughtful, and she can also be the complete polar opposite of all those things but ... she's a tall kid, we expect that.

Lately she's been taking more of an interest in her appearance and her taste in clothes is quite fluid. One week she likes flowery flowing things and the next week I have to fight her to get her into anything but skinny leg jeans. I refuse to buy the hideous skinny leg things, but if she takes her pocket money to vinnies and buys them herself I grit my teeth and cope. I find myself really liking some of her clothes and really detesting other items. The amusing thing is that if we go shopping together, everything I show her is AWFUL and results in multi syllabic use of my name ("mUuUuUm, omg you're SOOOO embarrassing!") but if I bring home the same item a week later she is often grateful, and happy to try it on with 50 possible accessories.

It's funny how we love our kids little and wish they would never grow up, but at the same time we burst with pride at all their new stages.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Hey, like stop dissing teenagers, like!

As the mother of a child entering the teenage years head first, I've decided to share some of my feelings about the way our society treats teenagers. We spend years forcing children to be independent, forcing them to sleep on their own, use the toilet, feed themselves dress themselves, sending them away from us for six hours a day and many other historically odd practices. Yet as soon as they hit twelve or thirteen and want to flex some of their independent muscles we start wishing they were babies again.

As a whole, society has unrealistic expectations of teenagers. People literally can't stand them. I have heard countless people complain about the behaviour they have witnessed teenagers exhibiting in public - or at home, but what people seem to forget is that teenagers are not adults, and expecting them to sit quietly, politely conversing. on the bus when there are members of the opposite sex present is insane! You may well be tired out from your day at work, and concerned with relaxing, but this is hardly the fault of the teenagers you encounter.

What people forget is that teenagers are just children, tall ones, pretending to be grown ups. No one batts an eye at a two year old pretending to talk on the phone or cook and serve food, so it baffles me that we don't grasp the need of adolescents to play. Play grown ups, with boy friends and girlfriends, play responsible people, able to confidently make their own decisions, play dress ups (in skinny leg jeans and makeup) and play at navigating their way successfully through life. When you see them engaging in loud, obnoxious behaviour, try to remember that they're probably on their way home to eat the food their parents have cooked, have their clothes washed (although they often don't see how dirty they are) and "chillax" on the sofa watching Channel V.

Another thing that strikes me as absurd is the way adults demand respect from a bunch of tall kids with raging hormones, that they offer no respect to in return. Respect is a two way street! I remember when I was a teenager I would sometimes encounter older people who were simply rude to me because of my age. Why on earth should a teenager behave respectfully whilst they are being judged and disrespected? Keep in mind that an adult struggles to maintain equilibrium under such circumstances, what skills is a teenager in possession of that enable them to respond calmly? I think rule number one of living in harmony with teenagers is RESPECT! Try to stifle your laughter at their undersized jeans and over sized sun glasses until they have left, eh?

If you have kids then you have probably realised that one day you will have teenagers. Try to look fondly, or at least with more compassion, upon teenagers when you encounter their strange play. Chances are that they aren't doing it solely to irritate you, chances are that they're trying to impress you with their astonishing maturity! Respect them, simply because they are people. and all people no matter their age, deserve respect.

Monday, November 22, 2010

AHHH!

MUM! I found your pasword mwah-haha, and I find out you put that embarrasing cable car photo up! AHH! DELETE IT or else! Currently drawing you a new frog, but that may stop! HUMPH.


DELETE IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Sunday, November 21, 2010

Frogs, for a change
















Here is some art Stylish has done lately. She's doing a very large project at the moment, documenting lots of Australian frogs and drawing pics of them all. Can't wait to see the finished product!



She is so good at drawing frogs she just copies the picture, these are not tracings.












We love natural learning!


Spikee is really loving reading! Tonight we made him a dinosaur book. We printed out lots of pictures of dinosaurs and he coloured them in and cut them out, and I typed and printed "This is a " and then we glued it all onto paper and stuck the pages in a clear sheet folder. Now he reads it and points to all the words. He's very pleased with himself.

We spent the day building our hot house, and I can't wait to get a veggie garden up and running again. There's so many REAL, USEFUL lessons in growing food. We've also added some chooks to our family and there have been many opportunities for learning there! It seems that this is the perfect state for natural learning.




Thursday, November 18, 2010


Unlearning in Antarctica



We've been in our new house for nearly three weeks now and there has been no shortage of unlearning. We've done renovating, acquired chooks, explored the town and surrounds and had a ball reconnecting as a family without time pressing down on us.

Stylish took to ripping up carpet and pulling out nails like she'd been doing it all her life. Then once we'd varnished and moved our stuff into the house she went faster than greased lightening to where she'd been hearing frog calls. She was well versed on the Arctic legalities pertaining to her favourite amphibians, and spent a good chunk of her pocket money buying a tank to house four Southern Smooth Froglets. She confidently informs me that the name is deceptive because they are actually bumpy and their scientific name is ..... I forget. Today we had a plumbing emergency which required the rose bush out the front be ripped up, it was then that we discovered two nests in it. One with tiny silver eye babies getting ready to fledge and the other with nearly ready to hatch blue / grey speckled eggs that are jumping about. We waited and waited but their mothers didn't come home so we seem to have acquired some new albeit temporary family members. Who knows if the eggs will hatch, I'm doubtful, but apparently they're black birds and they're a real pain so we are trying not to feel too bad.

Spikee has developed quite an interest in reading and is starting to recognise some words by sight and remember others when they're in an early reader book I found at the tip ship. He's also cemented counting to ten and is getting more confident reading the numbers. He's really taking to life in Antarctica and for some unexplained reason is starting to try a couple of new foods and on the whole eat better. Must be all the fresh air! The training wheels are off his bike now (one got lost) so that's another new thing, he's a little nervous but he'll be fine soon enough. His geography fascination continues and we have been playing cricket with a small rubber globe ball. He's just a happy chappy at the moment!

Angus is very chatty and can roll over (but he's not sure how). Soon enough he'll be up and crawling and we'll be baby proofing again!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pics from The Journey South

The Guillotine
The Mechanic
life size full grown salt water crocodile
Corroboree frog breeding program at Taronga
In the cable cars

Pics of The Great Migration in Action

Driving a space shuttle
Learning about dizziness
At the zoo
Geography free styler!

Natural Learning our way to Antarctica

In the last three days we've travelled 1000 km from Sydney to Melbourne with three kids and a placenta. Quite an ambitious feat! We've driven through snow, crazy wind, pouring rain and narrowly avoided getting stranded by flood water and road blockages in Albury.

After leaving our house in Sydney we spent a further week staying with my father before finally leaving Sydney. We were like tourists in our own home town, we visited the museum and the Taronga Zoo and ate at our favourite restaurants. At the museum Spikee enjoyed the Search and Discover room which is more for older kids, he's obviously growing up! Lately we've noticed that he's fascinated by geography and he found a globe at the museum and happily pointed out South America, Sydney, and even Antarctica .... I mean Tasmania.

They had a blast at Taronga, saw too many exhibits to list them all and probably learnt something along the way. Stylish enjoyed seeing the Corroboree frog breeding programme and Spikee liked the lions and tigers. Personally I enjoyed seeing the crocodiles because they're my favourite animal (such cute and cuddly things!) and A enjoyed the Civet cats and regaling us with tales of how they eat coffee beans, shit them out, and are responsible for producing the world's most expensive coffee.

We had a farewell dinner at our favourite Vietnamese restaurant and Spikee actually ate something. He had a whole bowl of boiled rice, a vegetarian spring roll, tasted a bit of tofu VOLUNTARILY and then polished off the orange slices that were brought to share between all of us. We also had dinner at my best friend fro highschool's house, made sure to eat as much real Indian food as two people could possibly manage, and just enjyed being in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney for a week. It's a lovely part of Sydney. Incidentally, my father told me that the park I used to play at when I was growing up has now been named (by him) Ethel Turner Playground because she was a notable woman from Paddington and apparently all the other parks are named after men.

So after our final days of civilisation we left Sydney at stupid o'clock and drove to Canberra where we spent all day at Questacon while the rain poured down like I haven't seen in years. The kids certainly absorbed lots there. They loved the roller coaster ride, Stylish loved the Free Fall where you free fall down a slide, and Spikee loved the Mini Q area where the pretend bakery is, but this time he git absorbed in the mechanic area fixing a car wearing little denim overalls. We heard a fascinating dinosaur talk by Questacon's resident paleontologist who told us some really interesting things including a recent theory which states that all dinosaurs had feathers at one stage of their lives, and ripping the guts out of Jurassic Park movies telling us that the movie used deinonychus and not velociraptors. Velociraptors were only small but the creative license over rode truth because deinonychus is hardly a terrifying name even if they were a terrifying dinosaur. He also said that most of the dinosaurs were from the cretaceous period, not the the Jurassic period. He had a box filled with real dinosaur relics including a tooth from a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a claw from a velociraptor (which was actually about a foot long despite the size of the whole dinosaur).

Tomorrow we're heading to Melbourne Museum. We were planning to go to the zoo but it's too balmy and cold. Melbourne is in the grip of one of its' coldest Octobers ever and there was even heavy snow fall a few days ago. The last time I went to the museum here I was 19 weeks pregnant with Spikee. Then tomorrow night we'll be on the boat heading for Antarctica!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

An Anniversary Slipped By ....


I just realised that we've been unschooling for two years! Two years and and about three weeks, not that I'm counting.

In that two years I can't tell you how much our lives and our world has transformed, and how I now feel there is real hope for my kids, not just hope that they'll survive the system and come out edumacated and with direction.

When we started, we were on shaky ground, fearful and unsure we were making the right decision. My daughter had to unschool and so did I, and I think I probably struggled with it more than she did. For a while there we took two steps forwards and one back, but then it smoothed out. Then periodically I'd encounter another stage of parental unschooling and have to wrestle it out mentally, usually blogging about it.

What are the best things about unschooling for us?

  • knowing our kids are happy, safe, and interested in what they do.
  • knowing our kid will learn REAL life skills
  • seeing them pursue their own interests
  • knowing they are only competing against themselves so they always try their hardest
  • seeing them become themselves!

What would I change?

  • NOTHING!!!!!!! Except I would start sooner.





Here is a photo of the newest family member helping pack. He's 6w 5d.

Friday, October 1, 2010

General Update From a Slack Blogger

The great migration is nearly beginning! Our world is in boxes now, and everyone except me is packing like mad. I'm sitting underneath a baby with my boobs out. The kids are a bit unsettled by it and the sooner we're on the road the better. The week after next will be nice though, we'll be free to just faff about in Sydney enjoying ourselves. We're taking the kids to the zoo and the museum and pretty much just slacking off after all the hard yakka of packing everything up, organising this enormous logistical adventure, and stressing constantly for a month.

This is going to be one hell of an adventure. We're not only over hauling our lifestyle, we're taking a really exciting road trip. We'll leave Sydney on about the 14th of October and travel to Canberra to take the kids to Questacon and the National Gallery. We'll stay the night there or maybe press on until Gundagai for the night. Then the next day we'll go the rest of the way to Melbourne and spend a couple of days enjoying the sights before catching the boat over night to Tasmania. Once there we plan on spending a night or two with A's parents before making the final stint to OUR HOUSE!

There's been plenty of natural learning here over the last little while, from a birth and a new sibling to maths, and tennis. Stylish has really enjoyed tennis over the last few months and she's made some nice friends there so it's a shame we're moving now.

She visited a friend of her Grandma's and found a tadpole last week. Spikee has been very interested in that. We have to let it go next week because we can't take it over state lines. Stylish tells me that there are only 14 species of frog in Tasmania which is very disappointing, moving to Queensland would have been a far wiser decision because they have 43 species there. Unfortunately the real estate there is pricier, possibly due to the greater number of frogs residing there!

I'll be without internet for a week or two during the great migration, but I'll have plenty to update when we finally have access again, so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A homebirth story!

Friday, August 6, 2010

What's been going on?

Well, there's still no sign of a baby at 42w and 4 days. But there's been no shortage of things happening so I figured an update was probably in order. the last week has been the week from hell! I've had a really nasty cold which has landed me with bad asthma and aches and pains from head to foot, and A has slipped a disk in his back so he wasn't able to look after me! We kind of struggled through, each of us doing what we could and everything else going by the way side. If it weren't for Stylish we would have been a lot worse, she really stepped up and helped out when we down!

The great migration is well under way, and we should own the house by early next week. I'm really excited about the move, and so is the family. It's going to be a huge change, leaving a city of several million, and going to a town with 800 people but in time I'm sure we'll adjust. The kids are very excited about getting chickens and a dog. There's a shed in the garden at the new house which we'll convert to a chicken coop. Some little nesting boxes and some insulation and a door will probably cut it, we want them to be free range of a day, and we'll keep them safe and warm of a night in their little hen house.

Yesterday was the first day in a week that we felt well enough to actually take the kids to the park. They had a lovely time running laps of various play equipment areas and trees and using the stop watch on my phone to try and beat their last time, then Stylish climbed trees and Spikee played at the base of them with his toy dinosaurs. A and I sat in the sun for as long as our varying ailments would allow, then we trudged home in time to collapse into bed with hot water bottles and rest up before forcing ourselves to organise food for dinner.

Stay tuned, there are bound to be more interesting developments in the coming days and weeks!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Unschooling In Action!


























Today over lunch Stylish started chatting about something I had no idea she knew anything about ... GENETICS! She told me all about the dominant and recessive genes in rats, and what they mean for coat, colouring, and illnesses like tumours and respiratory conditions. I didn't earn anything about genetics until I was in year 10 at school and yet my child already knows more than I learnt. I really enjoyed genetics, I quite liked science in general, and it's so wonderful to see your child enjoying the same things you enjoyed, only VOLUNTARILY!

Spikee is still loving puzzles, and every time he does one I can see how he's getting more confident. Sometimes when he's not listening to me as I give him clues about where a piece goes I find it so frustrating. In those moments I find I have to really take a step back and remember that he is barely four years old, and to my brain it's obvious where the pieces go, but to his it's a minefield of possibilities! Seeing him get better and better at it each time we try makes me glad that I am able to take that step back, not show my frustrations, and just help him to over come his brain fuzz. He's always so pleased with himself when we finish doing a puzzle, and I've had to take quite a few photos of them.




Friday, July 16, 2010

Just pics

[Zippy in Pip's suit

This is the outfit Stylish sewed for her pet rat. And the rat modeling it.

HARRY POTTER!!!

Spikee laying in bed watching The Philosopher's Stone. At long last someone in the house likes Harry Potter, damn shame he's to young for anything past the first one!

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the belly at 39w, and the birth pool as a back drop.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Blessingway!

Today I am 38w pregnant and my wonderful friends held a blessingway for me. I had the most beautiful day, and I feel like the way it truly blessed.

Here are a few pics.

Stylish decorating the belly in henna. We chose a design of the Egyptian Goddess Heket. She is the goddess of fertility and midwifery and she is a frog, so it had meaning to us both. She was a bit nervous about drawing the design on the day so she drew it in texta last night and then just went over it in henna today. She did such a beautiful job! The Eye of Horus is also included, this is a symbol of protection.

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The finished product! I think it looks amazing. I'm such a lucky mama to have my precious eldest child draw such a fantastic design on my belly.

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It didn't take Stylish long to locate the resident pets. It should come as no surprise to our viewers that the snake was her favourite ...

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This is all the candles that will be lit by friends when I am in labour. Everyone brought one along as we lit them all together today.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Finally, an update with pics!

Lately Stylish has been feeling very creative, she drew this dragon, I love it!

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Spikee has just taught himself to skip with a skipping rope, I must take some video of that with the new camera. But this is a photo of the jigsaw he is in love with - minus two pieces.

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On a side note, we have decided to go ahead and take the lunge, the great migration will happen some time after the baby is born, probably in mid october. To celebrate and keep track of the journey I have started a new blog, hope to see you there some time!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

General happenings

We have a new camera, I should really work out how to upload some pics coz we have quite a few!

As I hit 8 months pregnant I flew down to inspect a house. I spent a relaxing 3 days without children! I really like the area we're looking at moving to. There is a small village within walking distance of the house, lots of parks, bush, and it's all within reasonable driving distance of Hobart. It'll be a massive change, but it'll all be worth it once I adjust. I suspect everyone else will adjust more easily than me.

So the move to Antarctica is all looking very promising, we have put in an offer on the house and been accepted, and are now waiting on finance but I don't see any problems arising there as we have a substantial deposit. The kids are very excited and have been choosing different colours almost daily, that they might be able to paint their rooms. Spikee wants a lilac room with turquoise trimmings today and Stylish wants similar but darker colours. I think we'll let her paint her own room, she's old enough (in fact she will be 12 on Saturday!).

Stylish has taken to drawing dragons, they look amazing! She's also getting quite good at computer drawings lately, I must work out how to upload them onto the blog. The rat has had 13 babies, she had 14 but one died. I got an excited phone call on my first day in Tassie, telling me of the delightful event.

Spikee is fast approaching 4, and still happily breastfeeding and anticipating the arrival of his new sibling any time in the next 6 weeks. He is really enjoying his duplo and building tall towers and arches and whatnot. He's enjoying lots of books at the moment, from hide and seek ones, to adventure ones where you have to work out puzzles to finish the story.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Remembering Times Gone by ....

Since my camera is broken and I sorely miss posting photos of our daily happenings, I thought I'd reminisce over OLD photos and daily happenings!

Frog tank made by Stylish

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An interesting frog from Cairns - I dunno what it is, Stylish does though.

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A day at Sydney Aquarium

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The no recipe cake

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The LemonAID stall - raising money for animals hurt in Victorian Bushfires

first REAL customer

Remembering Times Gone by ....

Since my camera is broken and I sorely miss posting photos of our daily happenings, I thought I'd reminisce over OLD photos and daily happenings!

This is a basket of delicious herbs and veggies from our garden

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A crocodile warning sign in Cairns *gulp*

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A deserted birds nest Stylish found when she climbed a tree

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The frogs!

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Cold Breakfast Not In Bed

Today is my birthday! Stylish wanted to make me breakfast in bed so she saved her pennies and went to the shop this morning to get a few things. Then she set about cooking up a storm, complete with sending Spikee into the bedroom where I was hiding in bed, to ask for my order.

It's interesting to see a child set free in the kitchen. She's seen me cook bacon and eggs a million times so I knew it wouldn't be too much of an issue. First she put the bacon and eggs on, at the same time, so the eggs were ready way to early, and the bacon wasn't as cooked as she was hoping, and then she burnt the toast. The tea was perfect.

She was very pleased with her efforts, and I was too, and when she asked me about it I was honest, but told her that I enjoyed it very much - and I did! It was a lovely, thoughtful present.

The kids both made me beautiful cards, Stylish's was naturally covered in frogs, and said that she loved me as much as a rabbit on fire (which seemed to giver her laughter convulsions!) and Spikee's was just colourful and Stylish wrote Happy Birthday Mum on it for him. He was very pleased with himself. He's been a bit baffled by all the celebrations lately, with it being Mother's day last Sunday and my birthday today. He's woken me up every morning this week by shouting HAPPY BERFDAY MUM!

What more could a mama want on her Birthday?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Unlearning Continues!

I was just pondering how much we've done lately, with me being practically bed ridden with exhaust, when Stylish came in to show me the dress she is making. Yes, you heard it here first ... she's MAKING A DRESS! She found some old scrap material and draped it around herself, and is trying to find different ways to tie it on. I offered to help her sew it together this afternoon. Having never voluntarily worn a dress in her whole life this is quite a turn of events, somehow I doubt it spells change, just an afternoon activity. Times like this make me really mad that the camera isn't working!

She was very disappointed to hear that there are no tennis lessons today or next week, it looks like she's really getting into it. She even got out her racket yesterday and practiced hitting the ball against the wall out the front.

Spikee's fascination with cave people and dinosaurs continues. He spends a good deal of time in the garden digging for dinosaur bones and getting absolutely FILTHY, which I am assured is a sign of a happy child. We have swapped sleeping arrangements because it was getting too hard for me to roll myself out of bed around the side car cot, so now A is sleeping on the same side as Spikee and the cot. Spikee was extremely unimpressed by this change the first night, but last night Daddy suggested that he get some books out and they could read for a while. Spikee went to his book shelf and chose a book about cave people, and one about pyramids, and they spent ages reading them. He's fascinated by it all!

The kids are currently on the way to the shop to get a few things for lunch. We usually cut up stuff and put it in the middle of the table and then they make their own sandwiches. They quite like having a shopping list with a few things on it and going up to the local shops together. I suppose I should go and get everything out and ready for lunch!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Frogs and The Grand Prix

Spikee has been taking a lot of interest in car racing and he and Stylish have set up a big race track in the hallway. They spend hours picking the fastest car teams and having races, measuring winners with a ruler in some complicated fashion that eludes me completely. The Mr.Men obsession continues unabated, and recently when he had a cold he spent nearly all day in bed with either me reading the books or watching the stories on youtube. Since making daisy sandwiches he's developed a real interest in making his own sandwiches.

Stylish has been busy with her frog tank again. Yesterday she took all her hard earned pocket money, caught a bus by herself to bunnings, bought black silicone and foam expander, and then came home all by herself. I was so proud that she managed to navigate her way there! She even remembered to call me upon arrival. Last night she made a rocky background out of the expander, this afternoon A helped her to cover it with black silicone and peat moss. Apparently the moss will grow! So the tank should look really good one of these days, I can't wait to see the finished product. For now it's lying on its' side on the front porch, drying.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mr.Men land

Spikee is seriously obsessed with Mr.Men stories atm. I read them all day long until my voice is hoarse and I can say the lines without reading the book. Fortunately I discovered the animated version of the stories on youtube, being read by Roger Hargreaves, so Roger and A and I are taking it in shifts now. Tonight's dinner was inspired by Mr.Funny and Mr.Nonsense. Mr.Funny east daisy sandwiches .... and so did we! A daisy sandwich is an English muffin cut in half, topped with ham, a slice of cherry tomato for the centre of the daisy, and pineapple for the petals, all covered in cheese, and baked. Spikee made his own, and ate two of them! Then for dessert we're having custard when I can drag my pregnant self off the bed and cook it. Mr.Nonsense thought there was custard everywhere, but it was snow. Snow is yellow in Nonsenseland apparently. I wish our camera was working!

The belly babe is busy as busy can be, and that's really no surprise at 7 months! It's going to be a busy few months coming up, with baby planning and house buying, and organising the move, and buying a dog (which is apparently a real emergency item according to the kids), and a new car. Plus we have all the birthdays in one hit, starting with mother's day, then my birthday three days later, then Stylish's in June, Spikee's in July and a baby due at the end of July - aiming for August. I'm planning to fly to Tassie to look at the house we're interested in in the next month, we're praying it's still available! There are a few in the area but I particularly like one of them and it's right in our price range with plenty of yard, and room to renovate exactly how we want. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Bird Leaves The Nest

It looks as though the noisy mynah has finally taken leave and gone back to nature - in the middle of a major city. Although we always knew this day would come, Stylish is upset about it and constantly checking the garden for signs of Bird Brain, and micro managing the cat - poor long suffering cat he is. I've explained to her that the fact the bird isn't coming to her calls is a GOOD sign, not a sign that it has been torn to shreds by the cat (or her pet rat who gave it a good whirl!)

Owing to some boredom lately I've given her a small list of things to do. They include learning the provinces of China on the geography game, learning about eh one child policy and the effect it has on women and girls, finding out about the Chinese government, learning about some frogs from China and some other animals. She's sunken her teeth into the list with a vengeance I wasn't expecting! I also gave her some sums - which she always loves since leaving the institution - and a few other odds and sods that I can't remember off the top of my head.

Spikee has suddenly taken his love of dinosaurs to a whole new level, and we're reading dinosaur books every day. He's also really interested in ancient Egypt, and cave people, so we read books about them too most days. I must read Mr.Funny about five times a day, and The Three Billy Goats Gruff just as many times. It's good that he likes reading stories so much because running around after him is challenging at this stage of pregnancy when it's still hot and my blood pressure is stupidly low. The other thing he is loving is his uno moo game, which is just uno, but for little people so it's got coloured animal figures instead of cards with coloured numbers, and you put them all in a barn.

It looks more and more as though the Great Migration to Antarctica will be happening, and probably in October! We've found a number of houses that really tickle our fancy and I'll be going to look at some in the coming months - leaving the children at home! I won't know myself!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What Are We Up To?

The pets are all doing well, Zippy the rat went walk about for a couple of days but was found in the bottom of Stylish's chest of drawers this morning. The noisy myna will be ready for release soon, and is learning to catch it's own food by instinct very successfully.

Stylish is still going with the science textbook, and has been playing a geography game online, learning about the different provinces of Italy, now that she has the globe down pat.

Currently she is watching a show about some young British people who have traveled to India to work in a sweat shop factory. She is is awe of the low wages, stifling conditions, and the cost of groceries in comparison to the low wages. I suspect she will understand more about why we prefer second hand shopping, and perhaps think I'm less of a stickler for fair trade and more of a concerned world citizen.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How goes it?

It's rather busy here! I bought a 2nd hand science text book - although I have no idea why - and Stylish has started doing it off her own bat. She can't STOP doing it actually. Todays efforts were about food additives, pesticides, and a few other foody things. She raided out cupboard and read food labels, wrote down her findings, and was assisted by Spikee.

The bird is going well, it's drivimg me mad coz it's so loud, but hopefull it'll grow tail feathers and be ready to get back to nature soon. It's flying quite efficiently now, but apparently they grow tail feathers before they leave the next.

The rat is doing well too, but she still refuses to look at rat food. You wouldn't know that a few short weeks ago she was at death's door!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

OPERATION I SMELL A RAT!

I've been considering getting myself a really big treat for my birthday, a daschund. Whilst scouring the internet looking for breeders, I came across an ad that JUST FELT WRONG. It said "Hi, if you need to re-home your pet rats, please email me. You can drop them off at my house. I have room for 7 rats all up, and offer the best care possible whilst I re-home your loved one" or words to that effect. It also described the rat this mystery person already owns, and gave some details about the happy existence it has. Soooo, feeling a little bit suspicious about this, I checked the contact email address and to my non-surprise I discovered that IT WAS STYLISH'S!

As tempted as I was to charge down the hallway, guns blazing, calling for blood, I decided that that particular method would not involve any lessons learnt, and may in fact just cause further tensions. So I thought carefully about what to do, and then contacted a few friends and asked for their assistance with this matter. One friend volunteered to email her and OPERATION I SMELL A RAT began!

My friends sent her some emails offering her rats! One had a litter of 12 that were of an undisclosed sex, and were only 2 weeks old. One had three male rats. One of the emails said ...

I have 6 rats, one has a resected bowel and needs regular care because it basically leaks diarrhoea constantly, but she's a real sweetie, very cute and cuddly. One of the other ones was born a siamese twin, it's twin was removed by the vet, but it still has one extra leg that couldn't be removed, and the scar is prone to infection so you need to be on to that - I'll bring you the rest of the antibiotic cream to put on it as well.
Thanks so much, I think it's great what you're doing.

and another said ...

Hello,

I saw your ad on xxxxxxxx and would like to offer you 3 pedigree Poodle Woollen Rats (One is fluoro pink, accident with highlighter I'm afraid), 1 Blueberry Rainforest rat, 1 White tailed Chocolate Rat and 1 Skipping Tree Rat. When could you take them off our hands? We are moving out of Cairns to Kuranda and need to get rid of them ASAP. I can throw in the cage and the dry food too.

L.

P.s The Skipping Tree rat bites. Suspect its not pedigree but a mutt given how close to the common garden rat it looks like. And it doesn't skip anymore.

She sent responses like

Hi

Oh I am so sorry but someone just abandoned two rats with litters and now I have 22 rats! I am having a hard time hand rearing 6 that the mother won't feed so I can give you a contact number for someone who can help as I can't?

and

Hello, OMG I would be so happy to help! but they would need their mother at that stage up until 6weeks so can can you deal with giving her up to? I am quite capable of helping :) I just raised a litter of rats with my mum that were found abandoned at my door step they were rehomed to a lovely woman :)

Then she sheepishly came into our bedroom (where A and I were muffling our laughter because we knew she'd just checked her email) and told me about a terribly sick rat that needed to come and be cared for by us. And then added something vague about how she'd put an ad on a website and then "forgotten about it" - not before we got two revolting, stinking male rats the size of your average Great Dane! And it was at this point that I said to her "You should be careful what you advertise on the internet, because YOUR MOTHER MIGHT FIND THE AD". She didn't cotton on, and repeated the case for the poor sick rat with 5 legs and a seeping wound ... so I repeated my sage advice, and suddenly she froze. She'd worked it out! She wanted to get angry at me, but she was laughing too hard, thank heavens!

Soooo, I think that a valuable lesson was learnt here tonight! There are lots of freaks on the internet, be glad it was your mother (and some freak with a pink rat!) who discovered this ad and not a real, dangerous, predator.

She has removed the ad now I'm pleased to say.





Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rats, Birds, and Tennis

Today we went to Stylish's first tennis lesson with a bunch of home schooled kids, mostly about her age. Apparently it was BORING ... but isn't everything meant to be boring when you're nearly a teenager? I told her that she can do a few more lessons before she decided that she doesn't like it, then if she doesn't she can stop going. I thought if she REALLY hated it she'd kick up a stink but she barely managed a moan, so it can't be THAT bad.

The rat is almost back to full health! She still turns her nose up at rat food, but she eats so little that it's not really a big issue. After her ordeal recently we're just happy to have her, so if she wants boiled eggs and strawberries, I suppose she can just have it. She was well enough to go for a walk around the block on Stylish's shoulder this afternoon, and her coat looks so shiny and her eyes are so bright and sparkly!

The bird is sprouting feathers and starting to flap them enthusiastically. It's also formed quite a bond with Stylish, and this evening when it was tired it called and called until she went and got it, brought it into the room where she was watching tv, and sat it in her lap. The baby bird fell asleep straight away - birds are big on attachment parenting apparently! It's such a loud little thing, it has her up, feeding it nice and early every morning, she even tried to reunite it with it's family (unsuccessfully) because of it's early morning antics *I will not laugh*.

Our move to Tasmania is starting to look like a very real part of the future! In the next couple of months I will leave the kids here with A and fly down to look at a few places, then if we find one we're perfectly happy with we'll buy it. We plan on having the baby while we're here with a fantastic support group, everyone from our wonderful doula, to our midwife and my counselor! Then in October - or there abouts - we'll head on down to Antarctica! Spikee is very excited because one of the houses we looked at had snow on the front lawn, and Stylish wants a ferret (which we will not get, but she insists we will).