Showing posts from December, 2012

Home again

After a long flight home I was thrilled to be home with my gang, early on Christmas Eve. Despite jet lag I managed to go to church and see the Christmas lights that night and enjoyed a relaxing Christmas Day with our family and grandparents.

I loved my time away and I found it really refreshing. Even though I was staying with another family, it wasn't mine so I didn't carry the responsibility of thinking through all the logistics of life. I realised that just not carrying a mental to do list around in my head for a fortnight was a wonderful respite. I could only do this because I am married to a wonderful man who took on the whole gig at home on his own.

I have to say that on the day I flew out i did SMS my sister saying that this was probably the craziest thing I'd ever done. I know that it was a huge privilege for me to do a trip like this, but I would highly recommend doing a break like this if your life is as mad as mine. Ideally I would have loved to do the t…


I hadn't thought heaps about our jaunt to Venice but just that it sounded fun going on our own. I'd never been there before and it was so different to any other place I've been to in my life. It is a photographers paradise (my friend is very artistic and has a great eye so she was very busy).

We caught a fast train from Florence to Venice (went at 300km/hr which is somewhat disconcerting at times) and as soon as you step out of the station, bam, you're there, looking at a church on a canal.

We spent the whole time fascinated by how you function in a city with no roads. We saw the postie boat, the police boat, ambulance boat, DHL boat, the builder's boat. We also spent a lot of time walking and getting lost. The streets are very narrow (only two people can walk side-by-side) and they all start to look the same after a while.

Anyway, glad I've seen it. Wasn't feeling any big loss in my life having not seen it before, but Venice is quite unique.

Only …

Weekend in Florence

Have had a nice weekend enjoying Florence despite feeling a bit fluey (feverish and achy). Since my bed is in the lounge room, I haven't had the luxury of swanning around resting, so pressing on has worked pretty well. This year I've had quite a few recurring, niggley health things, so I think I've got used to keeping going while not feeling 100%.

Yesterday morning we went to a middle school open day and I got a tour of the school, entirely in Italian! Sadly, the library was not included in the tour (not a big thing here). I still have not got a CLUE what is going on except that I now know what 'Five children' sounds like, because my friend keeps telling her friends that piece of information!! I have a huge appreciation for what my friends have been through moving to another country, learning the language, and not just functioning, but also having relationships in the local community that are meaningful. It was great to see them in action, connecting with th…

Friday in Florence

Did lots of walking today. Went for a long walk with my friend and her almost 5 year old (my new best friend) this morning.

While being here in winter is cold, walking around is very pleasant (you get warm quickly) and there are always beautiful things (like the lane way below) to look at.

On the way home from picking the kids up from school we enjoyed a yummy Friday treat at the local bakery. Bit different to the old cheese and bacon roll from Baker's delight that is my kid's treat of choice!

This afternoon I waltzed into the Uffizi gallery with my pre booked ticket (booked by my friend over the phone-am sooo thankful for an Italian speaking friend!). Not a queue in sight. Have heard horror stories of waiting for seven hours in a queue. Rowan and I came to Florence almost exactly 15 years ago when I was pregnant with our eldest. He was keen to go but I was being completely lazy and chose the option of an afternoon nap. So today's visit made up for that! Have…


Well, after a long trip I safely made it to Florence. I had a little hiccup at Rome station which I think was partly related to the fact that my brain wasn't functioning after 28 hours of travelling and not much sleep. But I'm finding that being mum to 5 has proven to make me a much better and braver traveller than I was in a pre child life. I was most certainly not an intrepid traveller so for me to do this trip on my own is quite a feat.

However, I just don't feel so worried about looking silly (been there done that with many a tantruming toddler at the shops) and keener to just get on with things. Even had a man at the station ask me for help in very fast Italian! Made me laugh.

Staying with my friends who have 4 kids pretty similar ages to my own kids is fun and they are thrilled to have an available adult for chats, games and just attention in general. And it's nice to have the time to do that. Helped out with some babysitting last night when parent teacher …

Book for child about to start school

I thought this would be a lovely book to give a child about to start school.  It goes through all the things Cornelius Pig needs to do to get ready for school.  But it's only until he gets a kiss from mum that he's really ready to go.  Very cute and simple but good for helping with the idea of getting in a routine to get organised.

Books for 7+

Here are the books that have been great hits with the 7-10 year old crowd in 2012.  Hope it helps with your Christmas shopping!

New Geronimo Stilton series 'The Kingdom of Fantasy'

'Tom Gates' series

'EJ12' - spy girls books that are good after they get tired of 'Rainbow Magic' fairies.  

'Unicorn Riders' - serve a similar purpose to EJ12!

'Dinosaur Rescue' - combining dinosaurs with adventure.  Perfect combination!

'Specky Magee' for the AFL mad (a little more challenging read).

'Nanny Piggins' has been hugely successful this year.  

And I'm off!

I'm going to be sleeping in Florence tomorrow night - surreal!

Readers 5+ - summer reading list

These are some of my most popular books from 2012 for kids who have just started to be able to read a little on their own.

13 + summer reading list

As usual these are not all new books, but they're books that I've enjoyed in 2012.

'Starters' by Lissa Price is a dystopian story that actually has quite an interesting premise.  During a world-wide viral epidemic, only the young and the over 60's are given a life saving vaccination.   The over 60's are now able to live into old age, while the young are left starving and orphaned, unable to work until they are 18 so they don't take the jobs of the elderly.  16 yo Callie is looking after her little brother, but cannot work out how to care for him alone.  The option comes for her to earn a large sum of money by renting her body out to a senior.  But while she is being rented something goes wrong and she wakes up, discovering that her body is going to be used to commit a murder.

'Matched' is a dystomance (we made this genre up).  Ie. a dystopian romance!  The Society determines through DNA and psychological testing who your perfect match will be. You d…

Pastor's kids aren't unpaid ministry team members

I've been reflecting recently on a common issue that comes up when chatting to adult PK's.  A lot of fantastic pastor's children are involved with the uni ministry. It is always a great privilege to meet them.  We feel a strong affinity since both of us are PK's too.

The issue that keeps coming up is how hard it is for adult PK's to leave their parent's church.  Especially when they are heavily involved.  They might help with the music, or help run the youth group or teach Sunday School.  And it is tough in a small church.  You need the people power to keep the show on the road and it becomes easy to rely on your capable children who have grown up knowing instinctively what to do.  As committed Christians themselves they feel the burden of the responsibility too.

I have come to feel strongly that pastors need to free their adult children to go to another church or to serve in ministries where they choose.  I actually think that it is vitally important that th…

New family photos

A few weeks ago my friend Katie came over and took some gorgeous photos of our family.  We like send our supporters a prayer card for their fridges every few years.

One of the more sensible photos.

Then it descended into 'silly' photo time.
And here's the photo that I am providing for you specially my blog friends, to see what my hair looks like from the side with my grey/brown stripy thing going.

Last party for 2012 ... phew!

Yesterday was No 5's sixth birthday party.  With a predicated forecast of tops of 42 degrees (celsius) we were feeling that a 2pm party may have been a bit of a mistake.  Plus we haven't done many 'little' kid parties for a while and our creativity was lacking.

Anyway we rallied the troops and managed to pull off a fun party.  We had lots of games (did you know that ministers are often quite good party entertainers?  Good to have a back up career plan ;),

facepainting (the 12 year old has learnt to do it this year - highly, highly recommend encouraging this skill)
pass-the-parcel cobbled together five minutes before the guests arrived

Pin the crown on the princess

Outdoor water fun to cool them down.

She was happy and the kids had a great time.