Showing posts from January, 2011

10 things you ACTUALLY need when your first child starts school

When you enrol your first child in school, you attend the information sessions, negotiate the mystery of the school uniform shop (do I buy the big bag or the small one?  How many pairs of trousers?) and just generally feel stressed and confused. However, here's what I think you actually need when your child starts school:
1.  A big box of envelopes and a big bag of change.  Every second day there is a note that needs handing in usually with a small amount of money included.
2.  An electronic organiser of some kind which beeps to tell you what day Library/Sport/Folk Dancing/Animal Husbandry is on and what equipment your child (LOL - my apologies - that would actually be you, since you're the one who gets into trouble when they don't bring the right stuff) needs to take.
3.  Ten hats - they lose one about once a week.  Remember:  'No hat, No play' actually means sitting in a shed, in the shade, feeling like a social outcast at lunch and then your child will of cours…

Grand plans

Last year we did too much.  We had no day of the week that we weren't up early, with someone rushing out the house for something or another.  We felt tired and we had no energy to hang out with our kids.  We'd just plonk the TV on after dinner and watch some reality show together.  It wasn't terrible and often quite fun, but we didn't spend much time talking to each other or reading together.
Now that I'm working and get home late two nights a week, and Rowan has two or three nights out every week with regular commitments and Aidan will have youth group one night a week, we are only left with one night a week that we can actually connect properly.
It means that every day is looking full and we just need to slow down.  We feel more and more disconnected from each other when school term is on and this is not why we had a family.
So we're thinking about cutting out Saturday sport.  The early Saturday mornings in winter, going in two different directions almost killed…

Choosing to SEE

I want to recommend a book to you that I friend lent me a few weeks ago.  It's called Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman.  Mary Beth is the wife of Steven Curtis Chapman, a Christian musician who was most well known during the late 80's (he wrote a lot of Amy Grant's songs).

The Chapmans married young and had three children in their early 20's.  In their 30's they adopted three girls over a period of five years from China after their older daughter pestered them into considering it.  

In 2008, their five year old daughter was killed when their 17 year old son accidently hit her in their driveway.

It is a heartbreaking, harrowing story.  But a very powerful testimony to God's sustaining strength and purpose through such terrible, terrible tragedy.

Mary Beth is by no means a super Christian.  She is a woman who has struggled with depression and self-esteem problems since she was young.  She is a woman who has struggled to see God and understand his grace.  Bu…

Ahh - the many questions of a small boy

I'm walking down the street last week with my six year old son and he has A LOT of questions - and I mean A LOT.  He has had a lot of questions about everything in the whole wide world since he could speak.

"How do they change the traffic lights Mum?", "What do those letters on the side of the telegraph pole mean?", "What is that thing in the footpath Mum?", "How do the clouds get rid of their rain? (at least on that one I'm a trained Geography teacher so I have some vague idea), and it has gone on.  Walking to and from school each day was a very tiring experience for me.With him at school, the opportunities to ask the questions have been cut in half - phew!

And a simple "Oh, I don't know", does, just, not, cut it.  Full and reasonable explanation that makes plausible sense to him is the only acceptable path.  This can take time.  A long time.  Especially when you are three years old and you don't fully understand the water …

We're outta here!

Yay - you won't hear from me until next week because we're having three nights away with no kids.  Can't get my head around it so it doesn't feel real yet.  Haven't done anything like this for about five or six years so this is a big treat.  Due to the kindness of my mother and the in-laws (it does take an army to look after our tribe).

Rowan is a legend because he has organised the whole thing.  If I had to organise it, well, it just wouldn't happen because I can't get my head around organising another thing - especially something that isn't urgent or pressing.

I'll let you know how it goes.  Now to pack.

Example of giving up (just a little bit)

Bad parenting moment of the day:  hot chip sandwiches for lunch.

So bad (especially as we already did it last week while we were away) but so good.

Fun to do some less sensible things in the holidays.

Giving up (just a little bit ...)

My sister and I got to see each other last week which was a rare treat.  She lives in Adelaide which is about 16 hours drive away so catch-ups aren't so straightforward.  She has six kids (ages 10 down to 2 1/2).  While our children ran around the holiday house playing/fighting/negotiating/crying, we attempted an actual conversation, collapsed on the lounge, hoping to never have to move again (optimistic? yes, well, a little bit!).

I was chatting to her about how the more kids you have the more you give up - give up caring about a whole lot of other things that cause people angst.  Partly it is the number of children - the more kids you have the less you care about your birth experiences because you can't remember them all and the epidural/water birth/c-section/drug-free births all merge into one big glob of 'things you'd rather forget'.

But what you do do is think about all that you can do now that will prevent future angst and hassle.  My sister says she picks …


Had a great week at the conference.  But it rained, and rained and rained.   Our weather was part of the weather system that extended all the way down the eastern side of Australia from Queensland.

For the conference we park on a large oval and then walk up to the convention site.  The large oval soon became a Somme-like pile of mud and water which we had to traipse through to get from our car.  Every morning it just got worse and yet the conference was packed out.  2500 adults and 1200 children, lots of people movers (we seriously have problems finding our white Tarago in the car park).  I kept thinking that we were all mad.

But we did it.  Why?  Because we could sing together, hear great testimonies from people serving God around the world, listen to talks from the Bible and be encouraged in our conversations with one another.

So did I feel guilty?  No.  But what was the country of choice for me this year?  China - I thought, China - that sounds exciting, we could do that.  Btw - e…

MK guilt and a missions conference

Tomorrow we're off on our annual week long holiday to a missions conference.  This conference is run by the mission group that my parents worked for when I was a little girl growing up in India.  I've been going to this conference forever and our kids have gone since they were born. It is a great conference with an incredible children's and youth program all run by volunteer young people (I did my time as a uni student helping out with the primary program for four years).

For many years I struggled going to this conference because I felt like we needed to GO.  That we needed to pack our bags and go to Africa/Cambodia/Alaska - whatever was the country of the moment.  This is what I call 'MK guilt'.  Not experienced by all, but experienced by many.  You grow up with such a strong sense of 'being a missionary is the hardest, most important, valuable thing you could be doing as a Christian' that anything else becomes a bit of a cop out.

So when we decided tha…

Switching mantras

Since I only started working a few months ago I have to keep working over the summer.  It means that we can't go away and Rowan is looking after the kids on his own in his annual leave.

I don't think anyone in my family is all that worried by it, but I feel so guilty.  I keep telling myself that I should be OK about it, but I can't get past it.

I'm starting to reflect on why this is. Where does all this guilt come from?  It's not very rational when I consider the fact that I'm only working a couple of days a week and Rowan is looking after the kids when I'm not here (and frankly, making it a lot more fun for them than when I have them on my own!).

On reflection, I've spent over a decade telling myself why it is important for me to be at home full-time. In a world that values paid employment above all else, I had to work hard to feel OK about being at home for so many years.  I've read books that convinced me that not working was the right decision…

New Year reflections

Happy New Year bloggy friends!  Hope you are full of the hope and promise of a new year.  I'm always full of grand ideas during January - and then school goes back.  But it's nice to have the time to think about the year gone and consider the year ahead.

I'd like to slow down a little bit this year - I'm feeling more on the panicky end of the spectrum about 2011. Probably means I have to face up to the reality that I need to cut out a couple of commitments.  I can't just keep stuffing things in.  And I really don't like feeling like everyday of my life is too full.

On top of working in a new job (where I still feel that I've got no idea what I'm doing) and finishing off my uni course, I'm taking on a bigger involvement at playgroup, my eldest child is starting high school and we're adding another musical instrument to the craziness.  At least I won't have to do any Year 6 fundraising this year and my role on the preschool committee is up fo…