Showing posts from August, 2012

Mess shifts from playroom to bedroom

Since our youngest started school this year the playroom has become a desert of rolling tumbleweed (well, actually, carpet with leaves that blow in from outside the back door).  The kids don't use it much, the cat likes sleeping there, I dump all my clean washing in there.  I have been starting to ponder what to do with this room because it's not a proper room - it's an indoor/outdoor type room.

And the toy cupboard that I have enjoyed for years since I had two little ones, is now haunting me at night.  It is full of unsorted bits of toys that hardly get touched.  I need to do a big cull come the next school holidays.

What's happened is that the chaos of the playroom that ended each of my long days at home with little kids, has now been replaced by the sight of two disgustingly messy bedrooms.  See exhibit A and exhibit B below (great work Team Kemp - not).

I'm finding that this below is my current method of coping (and planning a blitz over the weekend).


Book week finale

I forgot to give you the final costume from book week last week.  I was seriously lacking in inspiration by the end of the week and not feeling very well.  So this was my paltry effort.

However, it was a fabulous week and so worth the effort of dressing up.  It showed the kids (and teachers) my warped sense of humour.  It also gave the kids a real sense of fun about the library which is a lovely outcome.  My own kids loved suggesting ideas and hearing all about how the kids at school reacted.  Good fun.

More book week craziness

So here's what I've dressed up as for the past three days. 

It has been fun but to be honest I'm super tired and struggling with a horrendous cold sore.  And tomorrow I have to go in for an extra day of work to run the book week parade.  Very thankful that my own children don't have a book week parade.  That kind of extra event (especially with four children involved) would probably mean my whole face would become one giant cold sore.

Nanny Piggins visits

Yay - another Australian Children's book week rolls around!  Always a busy time for children's librarians and school librarians.  This time last year I was entertaining over 500 school kids who came with their classes for a special library visit.  Thankfully I'm just helping out my wonderful team this year to put on some fun lunchtime activities for the kids at school.

Each morning I'm visiting the junior school assembly to advertise the book week activities for the day.  Today Nanny Piggins came along to visit.  There were a lot of kids who knew it was me but couldn't be quite sure.  Very cute.

Tomorrow will bring a new book character.  Who will it be??!

Hi Canberra friends

Just have to say a quick shout out to any new readers from Canberra.  Apparently my blog got a plug at Canberra Women's Convention today.  Better start thinking of something sensible to say!

Book review: Going Gray

If you've been following my blog you'll know that I've started the journey of letting my hair grow out to it's natural colour (ie. grey).  I needed this book and I wasn't disappointed. It's not a heavy book but I found it so refreshing and frankly, encouraging.

I'm at the 4 month point which is not looking all that great.  I often used to straighten my hair to make my hair neater for work but I just can't do it with my giant streak of grey.  And I'm resisting going the pixie look because I do think that will age me very quickly (and plus it is winter and I don't want a cold head!).

Anne Kreamer has a very similar story to mine.  She started to colour her hair in her early 20's and at 49 decided that she no longer wanted to keep up her three weekly hair appointments.  She saw a picture of herself standing with her teenage daughter and a peer with natural coloured hair and thought she looked like a fraud.

Anne uses her experience of let…

10 tips for music practice with kids (by an ordinary mum)

I say an ordinary mum because a lot of the kids I know who are super musicians have parents who are professionals or they have tiger mothers. I don't know what they're doing at home but what I do know for sure is that their kids play a lot better than mine in a shorter amount of time.  Actually, I kind of do know, but don't want to admit it.  They just practice a lot.

So I humbly offer what I've learnt as an ordinary mortal about helping my kids with their music.

1.   They will want to quit - often.  Don't give in.  There are so many great reasons for persevering with music.  Plus you've forked out quite a lot of money so you need to be sure you want to cave in.

2.  They might weep in frustration - often.  It is not easy learning an instrument.  If another person says, 'O, your kids are sooo talented' I might do some physical harm.  It is just hard work (for all of us).

3.  Get them to listen to the pieces they are learning played by a professional.…

New 'friends' on Twitter

In the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to attend a couple of conferences for work.  As a new teacher librarian (and frankly, just being me) I love all the stimulation and new ideas.  I'm particularly interested in using social networking as a way to connect with other teacher librarians and exchange new ideas.

So during these conferences I've been madly tweeting and as a result I've started to 'meet' other teacher librarians who are interested in the same thing as me.  It is quite an amazing phenomenon.  Quite different to facebook that enables me to keep up with my friends, twitter is introducing me to new people in a professional capacity.

I'm starting to consider if I need to rethink my blog and perhaps develop a more 'professional' blog, consolidating some more of my work related posts and leave the general musings and ramblings about life to you privileged lot!  So much I 'could' do - so many ideas.  I always come away from t…

Speaking the TRUTH in love (what real encouragement IS)

An illustration that has stuck in my head over the years is from Larry Crabb's helpful book 'Encouragement'.  He tells the story of being trackside when his son is in the final stage of a long track race.  When he saw his son rounding the final corner he didn't just quietly stand there watching his son working hard and struggling to finish well. He started yelling, cheering him on, urging him to keep going.  And his son responded.  He heard his voice, lifting him to run fast to the end of the race.

The Bible speaks of us being in a race, a race to the very end.  I don't know about you, but this race can feel very hard at times.  How often do we doubt God's goodness in the midst of suffering?  How often do we struggle to believe that God really has a plan for our life?  How often do we wonder if it all has a point or not?  How often do we feel tired by striving to live in a way that pleases God?  How often do we think that living life in our own way would just be…

What real encouragement ISN'T

So back to my friend from youth group.  We were about 16 at the time and I was really struggling with terribly low self esteem.  Her cries of 'You're the best Jenny' were a genuine attempt to encourage and cheer me up.  But they didn't help.  In my heart I just didn't feel 'the best'.  Because you know what?  I wasn't the 'best'.  I was a fallen, sinful human who deeply felt the weight of her failings.

For many years I struggled with this and it wasn't until my late teens that I changed.  What changed me was that I recognised that if God (the all powerful, perfect God), loved and valued me enough to send Jesus for ME, then who I was to continue to place such a low value on myself?  It truly changed my perspective on my place and purpose in the world.

What I'd really needed at that time was someone to point this out to me.  To keep reminding me of what was truly important.

And I think this is where we can get encouragement wrong.  What …

Real encouragement

I've been working on a talk for a church women's group on the topic of encouragement.   I thought I'd share some of my thinking about this topic with you.  And if you, say, live somewhere warm and would like me to do it in person, feel free to invite me.  I'm cold!

Encouragement is one of those topics that can become a bit ho hum.  Well, maybe that's just me.  When I was in youth group, another girl declared that she had the gift of encouragement.  This was quite annoying because what she thought was encouraging wasn't actually encouraging for me.  Little notes on flowery paper of smultchy blah, blah with a token Bible verse felt empty to me.  Hugs with cries of 'You're the best Jenny!', just irritated me.  Consequently I thought that encouragement wasn't something I either needed or felt I needed to give.  It just seemed dumb to me.

But I've discovered that it actually is for me and it is for everyone.  What it looks like will be different…

Doing marriage well in busy times

As our kids are getting older so are their bedtimes getting older, sorry, I mean later (I'm also feeling older).  One of the hard things about this is that while it is nice to spend time with them, it makes it hard for Rowan and I to work out when we will spend time together.

We used to put them to bed early, chat for a while, watch a bit of TV and go to bed.  This routine has worked for years.  But we now find ourselves rushing around taking everyone to things/picking them up from things, having dinner later, helping with homework/reading/solar system model to scale/app design/ _________ (insert latest crazy project idea here) and then we're ready for bed (children are often not so ready for bed - yawn).

So days can go by and we're unlikely to have had a decent conversation beyond, 'Can you make sure you pick up little Mary from Jane's house at 3:23 before you drive Blog to Point X for drop off at 3:46 and go back to Point Y where Freddie will be waiting to jump …

Sharing the minutiae

Recently a friend was telling me about a sermon she had heard at her church where the minister told them to not waste time on Facebook and put time into things that are more important.  While it's a valid point that Facebook can waste time, my friend and I both felt that FB actually helped us strengthen many of our real life friendships.  Why?  Because it is often in the small things that relationships grow.

Many of my closest friendships have been formed through just the everyday stuff.  What might be considered minutiae. Counting the number of feeds we'd done with our newborns the night before (trying to stoically ignore those women with the baby that 'just sleeps through from 8-6 without a feed'), retelling the trauma of a two year old's tantrum in the shopping centre, trying to find shoes that fit our toddler's weird feet, analysing the distance the vomit projectile travelled during the latest round of family gastro, negotiating lifts to netball training,…