Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our trampoline

My fantastic parents got me the kids a trampoline for Christmas. It is one of those awesome spring free ones. It was assembled late on Christmas night with mum and dad, my sister and Raff and I. And some eggnog. And Baileys. It wasn't too bad as far as the assembly of these things go. I had hold of the instruction book, so we knew we were in good hands.

The kids LOVE it. The one-kid-at-a-time rule lasted about 27 seconds. They use it for so many things in so many different ways. It is great for laying on and reading, fantastic for rough housing, brilliant for tea parties and picnics, ideal for secret meetings. Lucy, at just 2 years old, would be on there 24/7. This morning she was on it, naked, at 7am.
Charlotte can do somersaults on it and Ella is getting it together enough to be able to bounce herself well.

They play a game where two of them curl up in a ball laying on the tramp mat and the other one jumps up and down yelling something like 'crack the egg, crack the egg!' the first one to 'uncurl' loses.
 I managed to catch a semi decent shot of them all with static hair. Then Lucy touched me - ouch!

I have enjoyed jumping on it in the evenings. It is much fun looking over all the neighbours fences!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


A Skype moment between Charlotte in South Australia and her Nana (my mum) in Manchester, UK.

How lucky are the children of this generation!? Mum and dad won't be home until mid-February, but the kids get to see and hear them still.

Monday, January 04, 2010

My business

Today I registered a business name. The OCBA tells me that The Office of Consumer and Business Affairs recommends that you DO NOT use or outlay any further expense in relation to the business name (advertising, printing or signage etc.) until your registration is confirmed by receipt of your Registration Certificate, so I don't want to jinx anything by telling y'all the name just yet. It has been a very very long process, choosing this name. Every name I liked was taken, and then I found one that wasn't and it was refused on some technicality ('sounds like ...')

Officially I 'teach basic computer skills to seniors'. What does that mean? Well, anything from 'This is a mouse' to 'Let's set up your brand new laptop' to chatting to my students via MSN to setting up Skype with them. I visit people's houses as well, because all the explaining in the world on my computer, won't show them how to scan a document on their computer.
I am helping an 81 year old student set up Coles online shopping, as soon her husband will be forfeiting his license.
I see a man twice a week that has a brand new laptop that he purchased after only two sessions with me and he is now inseparable from his computer.
In two short weeks I will be doing a group training session to some Mallala residents. I will be specifically running through the useage of a wiki site that has been developed. I have been teaching 3 wonderful, industrious, funny, clever, diligent, and dare I say, a touch stubborn women to find their way around that website - to upload photos, to edit and create pages, to insert relevant hyperlinks and all the other bits and pieces. We have been working together for about 9 months now, firstly on a totally volunteer basis, but in the last couple of months on a paid basis.

This is a really flexible 'job' for me. I enjoy starting my mornings with some light chit chat, a few laughs and the transfer of information. Currently, with school holidays, we are doing okay having the children around while I am teaching. It is not ideal and I will find it more relaxing when they are back at school, but for now, it works.

To teach is to learn twice. ~ Joseph Joubert, Pensées, 1842

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Just before Christmas we received the terribly exciting news that Raff would have holidays from Christmas Eve until the 4th of January. The added bonus, after the previous 5 years spent running his own businees, was paid annual leave! How exciting to not have to weigh up the need for rest time for him versus the ability to pay bills etc for the family.

Right from the moment we found out we ummed and aahed about what to do with the time off. An offer from his aunt (the awesome, the great, the Meg!) to spend some time with her down at Port Noarlunga could not be overlooked, so we spent two hot summery days and one fairly sleepless night with Meg. It was lovely to hang out and feel very relaxed while spending pleasant adult time with one of my favourite people. The kids really enjoyed their time at her house and at the beach. We drove home from there on New Years Eve (everybody slept the whole drive home, except me :)) We refreshed ourselves and then headed out to a NYE/30th birthday do. We stayed for a while and had the kids home and in bed at 10pm, so we had a couple of drinks and saw in the New Year together.

The next morning we were off to Barmera. Best laid plans went a touch awry and we didn't hit the road until 10:40am, as everyone was quite irritable (including me!) and there were still bags to be packed. Our original plan was to leave early and travel most of the way through in one hit, but that wasn't to be. I think we stopped about a dozen times on the 200 or so km trip. There were side of the road toilet stops for stubborn children that wouldn't go when everyone else went 10kms ago, there was a stop near the fruit fly exclusion zone where we could all sit and eat two days worth of fruit rather than throw it all out, there were a couple of 'I-am-stopping-this-car-right-now-young-lady' pauses. And coffee stops and lunch stops and 'Where's my Bear?' stops. Lucky we are all just such patient people, right?

We drove in to Barmera at 2pm exactly, which was check in time
The caravan park was great, right on Lake Bonney, with plenty to do. It was very very hot when we arrived, so it was straight to the cabin to get bathers and sunscreen on so we could head down to the lake. Unfortunately, the previous three days of sunscreen use had seen me break out in a nasty rash. I was

covered from toe to hip and from fingers to shoulders in a red blotchy puffy tight itchy rash. I made the rather stupid decision to not apply sunscreen 'just yet' as I was really quite uncomfortable. Of course, at 3pm on a 40 something degree day with lots of lake water to reflect sun rays, the chance of coming away from even 10-15 minutes unprotected sun exposure without burns was pretty minimal. So yeah, I got a bit sunburn too. Only a bit though, as I spent most of the time that the kids were in the lake perched underneath a bit of shade. The kids had so much fun and the back bubble floatie that mum and dad got Lucy for Christmas was used a lot.
The caravan park did kayak hire and we vowed to come back the next day for that, but the next day was a lot cooler, so we never did get a chance to do that.

We headed over to the swimming pool and spent a couple of hours just floating about in the shade. It was just divine. The pool was packed, but the kids were having fun and it was low stress. After a while my grumbly tummy let me know it was heading on to dinner time, so I headed back to the cabin to create a gourmet dinner of baked beans and tinned spaghetti with grilled cheese rolls. Even though the kids had had such little sleep the two preceding nights and had done little more than occassionally doze on the drive, I knew no one was going to sleep early in the bright hot cabin. So we settled in to play Uno with our cups of cold milo and chocolate biscuits. Very soon we could hear the distant rumble of thunder, so we all sat outside in our PJs and watched the great electrical storm. The kids have never really seen lightning before, so it was met with much excitement.

Watching the lightning - that's Lake Bonney ahead through the trees.

Very cheeky monkey, opening the sliding door for the 785th time.

The next morning dawned very cold. The air conditioner had been on all night and everyone woke up freeeeeeeeezing. A breakfast spent deflecting the many scowls at the chief clothes packer, who failed to pack warm enough clothes, and constant glares at the chief packer who didn't pack honey. Or pancakes. Or Any Nice Food!

First stop - the IGA for honey. And pancake mix.
Second stop - bakery for coffee and The Best Fresh Wagon Wheels in the Universe.

Third stop - the Big Orange: Unfortunately closed.
The fourth? Monash Playground! Now we're talking! It was pleasantly cool and there was only a couple of other families there. It is a long way from how I remember it, but the kids had a lot of fun.

Lots of running and climbing and giggling until the Time for Torture aka Sunscreen Application (And no, it wasn't me that threw the tantrum!) so a quick and noisy exit was made. Lucy fell asleep on our way to get lunch, so we detoured for a bit around Loxton to wait for her to wake. I was intrigued by signs leading us to the Tree of Knowledge, and was interested by what we saw. The tree had all the years of the rising flood levels on it, with 1956 being the one right up the top. The river is just behind that bank of trees, so it meant there was a LOT of water. I'm glad we ventured off the track, as a kangaroo hopped past our car which cheered up Miss Middle Child immensely.

We also visited the Loxton Historical Village This killed a few hours and was quite informative. Though Ella was 'scared' of the stuffed birds, the live sheep in cages, the automated voice-overs, the sheds with machinery in, I think she learned quite a lot, too. A lot of the stuff around the place reminded me of either Grandpa's house or our old homestead at Stebonheath, so I had lots of stories to tell the kids.

On the way back to the caravan park another sign for Thiele's Sandbar caught my eye. I followed it along a corrugated dirt road, with all my chickens in the back squawking 'go back, mum! this is scary!' I ended up listening to them when the sand started getting a bit squishy under the tyres. :( Though, we slowed down to look at some cactus on the side of the road and as I started to speed up again a snake slithered across our path - that was exciting :)

I dropped the kids and Raff at the pool and went back to the cabin to read my book aka starting dinner prep. Ah, the joys of holiday cooking - bacon fried in a burnt warped pan, eggs 'scrambled' in a tiny saucepan. Another relaxed bedtime with no clock to look at.

The next morning was pack up time. It brought back so many memories - the kids all checking the cupboards, doing the dishes, sweeping the floors and one last stop by the park playground as Raff handed in the keys.
Ella stepping out of her comfort zone and breaking the rules,
sitting in the middle of the seesaw
This caravan park also had a jumping pillow which looked like so much fun! I really wanted to go on it, but it was covered in kids each time we went by.

One last photo of the Lake and we were on our way! It was 9:30am, and we didn't get home until 4:30pm! We had choclolate fondue in Waikerie, caught the ferry across the river and drove to Morgan for lunch. We then stopped at Eudunda to see the Colin Thiele statue and play in the beautiful grounds there. After another toilet stop we headed home, to the sounds of two happy children playing with paper dolls in the back row and the melodic sounds of a two year olds rendition of Taylor Swift's Love Story ad nauseum. Only pausing mid song to demand 'green ice cream. PLEASE'
One last stop at the Willaston deli for green icecream :) and all asleep by 6:45pm. A lovely weekend.