Cheap Watermelon. Yum.
I am sitting outside in the relative cool of the evening, playing chicken with the mosquitoes. The sky is hazy with smoke and I cannot see the hills beyond the suburbs like I usually can. I don’t know where the fire is.
It’s nice to take some time to sit alone and think. February is my favourite month and I find myself thinking of February’s past. A lot has happened during the last 12 months. It’s been quite a year.
February 2012 marked the beginning of the pregnancy which gave us Joel. He is three months old now and we are all enjoying him as babies are meant to be enjoyed – that is, he is being thoroughly lavished with attention from us. Lucky boy with lots of siblings to fuss over him.
We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary last week in what was one of the toughest weeks of our marriage so far I reckon. I suppose it’s because our marriage might now be considered a petulant teen. Or it could just be cracks showing the strain of the extra weight of a new baby, a new country, and some stressful issues all at once.
Moving back to Australia has been a good move for our family and I don’t regret it for a moment, but at the same time I wouldn’t call it easy. Not that others don’t have it harder. But still…I took some strain this year.
Probably the hardest thing has been the kids missing their friends and lacking buddies to play with during the week. Because we home school and they don’t get a ready made bunch of friends at school, making friends is something we have to be proactive about. There are plenty of active home schooling groups here with friendly people and fun, interesting activities, but I just haven’t had the energy to consistently get involved and really get connected. This also means we haven’t had the support that I think is essential to home schooling working, especially with a large family. It does take time. I know this. And we gave it just over 6 months. We still sorely miss our NZ friends.
I kept thinking that soon I will feel better…ever moving the goal posts…”it will be easier when the baby is born”…”it will get better once we’re through the new born stage”….”I just need a good night’s sleep”…”we’re just having a rough week”.
But there were too many rough weeks in a row, and we always said that we would regularly assess what is the best educational choice for the children . I haven’t had the energy to do the home schooling thing well, and that just isn’t fair on the kids. D & I also struggled to find time to be together to talk and were taking strain. I came to the sobering and a little painful conclusion that I am burnt out. Its the kind of tired that takes more than a few good sleeps to fix.
So we decided it would be best for everyone if we enrolled the children in school. The boys started last week and Emma will start next term. I don’t know if it will be permanent. I can’t think too far ahead right now. But so far I can say that it was definitely a good decision. They are settling in really well especially considering this is their first experience of school.
Actually now with just three at home during the day I really don’t know myself. It’s been great though and when the others come home I am excited to see them which is the kind of Mum I know is inside me but who has been missing in action for a while.
I am consciously taking time to look after myself. I feel like I need to recover and that will take time and kindness. I have started journalling my way through to the other side. I might share some of that with you as I go.
Yes we bought a bus. She is an old school bus converted to a motorhome and is the newest member of our family.
We are looking forward to lots of adventures. In fact they have already begun as Doug had to drive her home all the way from NSW in a record breaking heatwave without air conditioning. About 1700kms of hard work and discomfort for both of them (and Ryan who went along for the trip), but I think they became well acquainted during that and are possibly even slowly forming a firm friendship. I love her already.
The children likewise are enjoying getting to know her.
Even Sam seems to like her even though they had a little disagreement on the first day. He fell out, the step being a little higher that he thought and his two footed jump down to the gutter went awry.
I can’t wait to hit the road.
I’m a little bit scared of them. Even though they apparently only swoop during breeding season, they have beady eyes and a menacing look about them all year round. If I encounter them while out walking, I find myself trying to stare them down. But then I’m scared they’ll peck out my eyes, so I look away. Of course then I can’t see what they are up to, so I sneak a look and then alternate between hiding and staring while upping the pace and getting past as fast as possible. I keep wondering if they can sense my fear. I think they can.
Watching them feed when I am out walking always makes me smile and a large flock of them wheeling over head is cool enough to really make my day. I like watching them walk around. They spend a lot of time feeding on fallen seeds on the ground.
Superb Blue Wren:
There is a little family living in our backyard. They are a bit shy, but if you keep your eyes open you will sometimes see them out and about. They are really tiny little things, and look like they might break. Every time I see one and call some family member or other to come and look, they dash away. Sneaky little things.
All the pics pinched from Wikipedia Commons.
There is something about January that feels fresh. I love the feeling of starting over at the beginning of a new year.
The kids pens and pencils were in such a mess. Lots of broken pencils and felts missing lids all in the bottom of a box in a jumbly mess. So uninspiring. It’s not surprising no one wanted to draw.
So today I made these new pencil tins out of leftover scrapbooking papers my cousin gave me and some recycled food cans.
A fresh new pile of secondhand books is also new yearish. And considering my current reading rate this lot will probably keep me going for at least 6 months.
I am already reading The Hobbit, and a friend and fellow bibliophile has lent me her virgin copy of The Messenger by Markus Zusak, (which just proves how much she loves me), so I have more than enough reading material for a while.
We’ve been here over 6 months and this is the first decent spider we’ve seen. A fairly common Huntsman on Emma’s bedroom window. Harmless to humans, but hairy and fast.
My thumb for scale, and in case you mistakenly think I’m brave, the spider is on the outside trapped between the screen and the glass.
I once had one on my windscreen (on the inside) which scared the crap out of me.
That is all. Strange blog post.
39 degrees outside?
No problem, play in the sun, feeding hundreds and thousands to the ants.
Can’t find your Bob the Builder sunhat?
No problem, stick a beanie on your head.
Just lie down and have a nap on the floor.
And here we are two weeks later and it feels like he’s always been with us.
We really hit the ground running, with an eventful week leading up to the birth, and there’s still a lot happening. The due date came and went…I spent some of the day out with Sam trying to distract myself from the fact that I was still pregnant.
The Friday was Emma’s birthday and we spent the day at the pools with cousins and Uncle, and finished off with cheesecake. The following day she was treated to see the Russian ballet perform Swan Lake and went to that with her Aunty and cousin. I wished I could have joined them, but as it turns out I went into labour late that night so rather glad I didn’t. Especially since it was in Tanunda, about an hour or more drive away.
So this brings us to the early hours of Sunday morning. In labour – contractions are sore enough not to sleep anymore, but not so bad I couldn’t take bad self portraits.
At 6am he was born with my family there and my excellent Gaskin-esque midwife offering support from the sidelines.(Ina May Gaskin is a new hero of mine – I will be telling every pregnant woman I know to read/watch as much of her material as possible) Doug delivered him straight into my arms and all was well. I have difficulty already remembering the pain, except that I do know that it was really really painful. For those interested in such things, like Ryan (my third born), he was a star gazer, meaning that although he was head down, he was facing the front which is the opposite to the ideal. In my experience it’s a more painful second stage, and the pain feels more scary or out of control and I’m really grateful for the encouragement and support of Doug and the midwives.
About an hour later and we were tucked up in bed where the two of us stayed for the rest of the day and most of the next two.
Two days later Ben’s birthday. He spent the day sliding down hills on ice blocks with the home schooling crowd, had Hungry Jacks for lunch and again, finished off with cheesecake at home. He had a party on Sunday at ten pin bowling.
Sunday night heralded the start of a gastro that swept through most of our family. Fortunately Joel and I escaped and didn’t get sick. but everyone else had their turn over a period of 48 hours, one night we had two boys taking turns vomiting through the night interspersed only by a baby waking for feeds. Wow, that was a fun way to spend the wee hours.
It left as quickly as it started though and by Tuesday we were all back on track, just in time for Doug to start work – an orientation day. My first day with all 5 children by myself, and by then we were all suffering a severe case of cabin fever. For me it was 9 days straight inside the house. So we headed out to the playground, Joel’s first outing at the park. It was a really hot day, the older kids played under the sprinklers at the playground and begged to swim at the beach, but I wasn’t quite ready to deal with 4 wet kids and a car full of sand.
Since then we’ve been busy with ballet rehearsals for Emma’s end of year show, and some children have been getting messy with food.
And what else? Making the most of every moment and trying to savour these newborn things that don’t last very long at all – like fuzzy hair and brand new feet that have never been used.