Showing posts from December, 2011

Book review: Room

I read this book in a day.  It is a disturbing book, but like a car crash, hard to look away.  Room is told from the point of view of 5 year old Jack.  You soon discover that he lives in 'Room' and has lived there forever because he thinks this eleven by eleven room is the entire world.  He lives with his Ma and they fill their days with exercises and small chores.  His friends include Dora on TV who he talks to and he thinks is talking back to him.  But at night he has to hide in 'Wardrobe' because Old Nick comes into the room to sleep with his Ma (unlocking the electronic combination door lock to come in).

It is all quite horrifying, but the relationship between Jack and his Ma is incredible, as is her determination to protect Jack.  I won't spoil the plot for you, but I'll just say that it doesn't all remain so depressing as the book goes on.  Beautifully and cleverly written.  Shortlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize and a worthy member of that shortlist.

iPad app fun Part 2

Puppet Pals has been our latest find.  For free you can access a fairytale story where you choose from one of three backdrops and choose from eight characters to add to the story.  From here, all you do is start recording, move the characters around by dragging them on/off/around the backdrop, increasing/decreasing their size and use character voices to tell a story.  You then stop recording, the recording is saved and you can play it back.

We have had a ball with this.  We have discovered that we are a family who likes to use silly voices.  We have laughed and laughed at each other's efforts.

I think we'll spend the $2.99 to get the director's access - provides a lot of different backdrops and characters.  Apparently you can also add in your own photos and crop them to make them characters.

Again - brilliant for developing story-telling skills, imaginations and most importantly, great laughs!

iPad app fun

I've been enjoying having time to investigate fun apps on my iPad that I could potentially use with kids for creative writing purposes.  Today's fun came from Comic Book that is very simple to use (let's just say that if I can do it ...) and at $1.99 is worth the money for all the fun we've had.

I play a main role in my son's quick attempt at one he did last night.  I'm apparently quite terrifying!

And today's fun with lego.  Photos taken on the iPad and then uploaded to the template.

Christmas post mortem

I hope you had a nice Christmas with your family.  I had a lovely and relaxing extended family lunch yesterday at my place.  I'm aware though that it isn't always that stress free for many families and Christmas can be a time of anxiety for lots of people as they juggle parents, complicated relationships and painful histories.  Sadness as well as we miss family members who can't be with us (my grandmother died earlier this year so this was our first Christmas without her insisting on a family photo).

Some highlights of the day for me.  Seeing my kids enjoying the presents that I'd chosen for them.  There was genuine joy and surprise with the choices I had made.  Very satisfying - Christmas is a mammoth job for me.  I know that material possessions don't bring lasting happiness but in that brief moment it was fun to enjoy the blessings that God has given us.  My little girl played her new plastic tea set for hours and hours. Serving everyone in the family with endl…

Books under the tree this Christmas


I'm finished ... and here's my news

So I'm just going to quietly get off my high horseand tell you that I've accepted a job as a teacher librarian working - wait for it - four days a week.  

This was certainly not on my agenda when I wrote the earlier post.  I wasn't looking for a new job, but a friend told me about the job, I applied, got an interview and here I am.

I'm excited and thrilled with the opportunity.  It is a lovely school, I'll be part of a team and the head librarian is a leader in the field.  Sad to be leaving the public library I currently work at and sad to leave my colleagues and the kids I work with.  

Have we quite worked out how it is all going to work out with the kids?  Umm - well, sort of, kinda, (not really).

But hey - aren't you glad you'll be able to share the journey with me?!

I finished ...

Last week I handed my last assignment in to finish my Master's degree.  Finally.  Only took four years!  But I'm now a proper librarian.  And, more importantly, I can happily read fiction guilt free.  My youngest starts school in a few weeks, I've finished studying and I turn 40 in a few months.

What's next?  Well, my life is looking like it will move in a direction that I never anticipated myself but more on that later. *

*NOT another baby!

Kids and disappointment

We have recently endured the school captain election process for the second time.  I am going to age rapidly if I have to go through this every two years. My daughter was very keen to get elected as a school officer (partly because her older brother had been school captain a couple of years ago).  But she was struggling to get her head around coping with not getting a position.

So we spent a lot of time chatting (not always without angst - 'so you don't think I can do it, do you Mum?' followed by floods of tears) about how she would respond if she missed out and how she was going to speak to the other girls about it.  We really wanted her to be kind to others in the process.  And recognise that the process is what it is.  You can't control it - whether it seems fair or not.

So that was all fine.  Good learning experience at our end.

However, I soon discovered that this was not a lesson a few of the other mothers had ever learnt.  I had some bizarre conversations wit…


I was putting my little girl (5yo) to bed last night and she was getting worried about Santa breaking into the house to put the stocking on her bed during the night.  She takes a wide berth at shopping centres when she sees the Santa sleigh because she's a bit freaked out by him.  The whole thing is a bit strange to me.  I don't see the appeal in plonking your screaming child on the lap of a large, bearded stranger while yelling 'smile' at them.

We've never been into Santa.  It's not based on a particularly strong philosophical position (my parents merrily lied to me about Santa for years and they're missionaries).  Mostly we never got into it because we want the focus of Christmas to firmly remain on Jesus (and that's hard enough in the face of the endless discussion about presents, Santa and food).  But also partly (as usual) because we're a bit lazy.  One set of presents was enough for me to cope with.  The idea of stockings was beyond me.  And …

Crazy land

My apologies folks. The well has run dry. I have two birthdays, a speech day, preschool concert, carol service, birthday party, piano concert (all 5 are playing at), three hour marathon high school music concert, a French horn exam, an absent husband, work and a cold to manage this week. It has left me with no thoughts to share with you. None.

Wow I'm tired though. But still not freaking out about Christmas. Sure there is no Christmas tree up, not a nativity scene in sight and I'll be surprised if anyone gets a Christmas card this year - but we're OK. The sky hasn't fallen in. The 7yo who loves order did get the advent calendar out, wrote up a roster and stuck it up next to the calendar. Legend. I love this kid. I love it when my kids feel the weight of their mother's uselessness and problem solve themselves. Hope the same skills can transfer to cleaning, washing and cooking. Surely the dirt, lack of clean clothes and hunger will be enough motivation. Although I…

What I'm learning about having a teenager ...

... so far.   I've only just started.  It is like someone with a six month old baby telling everyone they know what it is like to have a toddler.  I truly have no idea.  But I'm starting to get some small ideas.

1.  They are often grumpy

2.  They are often tired

3.  They are often unpleasant because of (1) and (2)

4.  They are often unpleasant to every single member of the family (good to share the 'love' around)

5.  You can't suggest anything

6.  Every request by a parent must be responded to with either a sigh or an eye roll.

7.  The parent is 'completely outrageous' and has 'utterly misunderstood' their response by quietly suggesting that they are being rude.

8.  They are, of course, quite ancient and often make shattering, dismissive comments to younger siblings along the lines of,  'yes, when I was younger, I thought that too but now I've grown up, (*parent quietly choking in the background*) I've found that not to be the case'.

Book reviews: Three Australian women write

I've read these three books over the last month and I thought I'd share them with you because while they are all different, I enjoyed all of them.

The first is a funny and light read by Australian mum and blogger, Kerri Sackville.  Called 'When my husband does the dishes', it is about marriage and motherhood.  She has three kids (11, 9 and 3) and writes so well about having kids (I laughed, embarrassingly, out loud on the train reading some bits).

I didn't love all her stuff about marriage (first section of the book, so be warned), probably just because I'm really not comfortable with having a go at husbands.  It's such a part of Australian female culture, and can be quite bonding and entertaining, but ends up being quite disrespectful of guys.

Aside from that, it's fun - a little bit of therapy for mums in a book (and reassurance that you are not alone!).

The second book, 'Me of the never never',  is by the Australian comedian and mother of fiv…