Sunday, 8 April 2018

March 2018 Done and Dusted!

Following on from last month, we now have temporary stairs at the back door.  We had a ladder kind of stairs, but the job is going to be a bit bigger than we first anticipated (isn't that always the way?) so the Big Fella amended them so they're more stable and comfortable to use.

Uni was off and running in full swing, and I handed in my first assessment.  I haven't got my results yet, but the Big Fella said it was "actually really good", which is a massive compliment from him on a first read through of a uni paper!

Peppa thought she'd help me out with my studies

We finished up the Little Big Fella's cricket season for 2017/2018, which is a relief but we miss the new friends we've made.  Definitely need to make a few catch up times before the next season starts!

A 4am wake up for the last game of the season was balanced with a beautiful drive, with the sun rising through the fog.

The Little Big Fella bowling

The team with our super-encouraging coach

A bit of fun at our final practice with a ball machine!

The Little Big Fella and his coach having a chat
The Little Big Fella's class had a performance at the school's weekly assembly this month.  They've been reading "The Twits" by Roald Dahl and sang a song about how gross this old couple is.

I had a parent/teacher interview with the Little Big Fella's teacher.  Unsurprisingly, he's doing really well academically and his new teacher is really pleased with how he's getting along with his class mates.  One thing we discussed though, is that the Little Big Fella hums and makes noises... a lot!  It helps him concentrate, but it distracts the other students (and his teacher).  I know I have a soundtrack in my head almost constantly, so I've talked to him about trying to keep the songs in your head while people are working.  We're also going to try some things that he can (quietly) fiddle with while he's working and see if that helps as well.

I had a lady stop me in the supermarket one day.  She recognised the Little Big Fella from a community event he'd been at and commented that he'd been such a lovely boy.  It turned out she was the aunt of one of the Little Big Fella's class mates.  She made a point of saying that parents often get told when their kids aren't behaving or whatever, but are rarely told that they're doing a good job and she wanted me to know we're doing great.

Definitely have to give kudos to both mine and the Big Fella's parents on this!  Without their excellent examples (not perfect, of course, but excellent) we wouldn't parent the way we do, and the Little Big Fella wouldn't be the awesome kid he is!

The Art Society had a cleaning bee on a Sunday early in the month, and the Big Fella was at work so the Little Big Fella got to come with me.  He was SO helpful and didn't complain once!  We were out in the garden area and he was such pleasant company and the other ladies commented on how great he was.  Makes me so proud!  The hall and gardens are now looking lovely thanks to the combined effort of everyone!

One of our older Art Society members turned 84 so we had a little party for her. I have to say (again) how much I love this little group!  It's such a supportive environment and is SO good for my soul!

Oh!  I finished my picture of the Big Fella, and as promised, here it is!

I have two projects on the go this month.  One for our monthly challenge, and one I'm hoping to have ready for the High School's art show in May.

Updates next month :-D

I had a fun night in with the girls, eating cobb, drinking cocktails and buying linen.  Which reminds me, we haven't planned our get together for April yet!  

We had another haircut and pizza night this month as well, and I got my hair cut from a bit past shoulder length to chin length.  I was waiting for the weather to cool down (it's SO much easier to put your hair in a ponytail when it's hot) but I think I was a little bit early.  It's still in the 30's most days and I have to try to pin it up off my face.  But I love it and it's so nice to be able to do something nicer with it without spending hours in the bathroom.

Unfortunately we had an incident at work, which saw one of our boys in hospital.  It affected everyone quite deeply, and there have been some significant changes at work as a result.  However, I'm ecstatic to say he has been released this week and is recovering remarkably well!

Have I mentioned that I live in a pretty impressive place?  It's semi-outback, but we have a limestone escarpment just "there" and I took a few photos this month.

The Big Fella worked the Easter weekend and it was the Little Big Fella's birthday just before then, so we took the weekend before off and spent it in Brisbane with the Big Fella's parents.  It was lovely to see them and the Little Big Fella was well and truly spoiled again.

Grandma and Grandpa had offered a Segway ride from this place.

After looking at the options, the Little Big Fella chose this electric trike thingy and had an absolute ball, while we sat next to the beach and chilled out.
Of course, you need a birthday cake to celebrate a nearly-birthday!  The spinning candle sang Happy Birthday (and ended up in the bin because we couldn't turn it off).

My mum-in-law and I had a bit of a pamper, getting a pedicure at the local shopping centre.  It was great, except for the foot-tickling part!

Birthdays were always such a special time for me as a kid, and mum made sure we always had a party.  It didn't have to be spectacular, just special.  So despite just getting back from our weekend away, and that things were insane at work, and everyone was getting ready for Easter, we had a few boys around for a party.

It was SO loud!!!!  I reckon it took them nearly an hour to stop shouting every time they spoke!  But we had a great time, some of my all-time favourite games, chips, watermelon, burgers and soft drink, and there were smiles all around.

Definitely a winner of a game!

This one?  Not so much.  The toilet paper kept breaking so they couldn't get a good wrapping going.

Have you ever played this one?  Plain flour is packed into a bowl and turned upside down on a plate.  A single lolly is placed in the middle, then everyone takes turns "cutting" some of the flour away.  Whoever knocks the lolly has to retrieve it without their hands.

And then it was on!  Flour face painting (throwing was stopped immediately!).  Had to follow this with a hose off and stripping down a bit.

The chocolate game... with a twist!

The Big Fella had to go to work at the end of the party and wouldn't be awake in the morning (for the Little Big Fella's actual birthday), so he gave the Little Big Fella his present half way through the party.

Handball in the driveway

The birthday cake.  Not quite as professional as last year, but I had a good teacher and remembered a lot of her tips.  At least you can kind of tell it's not a push bike!

So that's pretty much March, 2018!  I'm glad it's over because it was hectic and difficult, but there were some GREAT memories and people in it.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

February 2018

Hi everyone!  We made it through another month!

My February started with finishing up as the Treasurer for our schools Parents and Citizens (P&C) association.  I did the job for two years, and starting uni this year, I wasn't sure of the time I'd need, so decided to hand it over to the next person.

The Little Big Fella's cricket has been going pretty well this month.  He's a bit "I don't want to go to cricket", but he enjoys himself when he's there and before we signed him up we asked him to commit to the whole season.  It's a team event so having someone drop out part way through would impact on everyone else.  And we wanted him to complete a season of something to help him learn the life lesson of commitment.  He's improving and gaining confidence, and even bowled someone out this morning!

I've continued with our local art society this year (I LOVE it!) and our theme/challenge for February was "love".  So I drew my husband.  Here's the photo I worked from and the incomplete drawing:

Since then, I've finished the ear, added a bit more shading to his face generally, and splashed some water colour over the left side of the page.  If you're lucky, I'll remember to post the finished product next month.

The Big Fella is back home, and after doing a few weeks of day shift finishing up some of the stuff for the new trainees, he's back driving and working awful shifts.  Seriously, whoever makes these things up has no concept of sleep patterns or family life!

But, working weird shifts means he's often home during the day and he's inspired to finish our plans for our back patio area!  We started by finishing off the herb garden and pizza oven area (see the last photos of it here).  The Big Fella and his mate laid the pavers properly, and then the Big Fella and I moved some of the stones from under the back ramp to fill in the rest of the garden (we laid weed mat first in the hope that we can keep those under control).  We pulled out some of the older plants, added more potting mix to the top of the garden, and put a few new plants in.

So, after a year and half, here's the finished product:

We're loving it!  It's easy to use and has exactly the feel we were hoping for.

Unfortunately we've had some warm weather this month (warm as in 45 degree Celcius, 113 Fahrenheit) so some of the new plants have died, but a lot of them have survived and we're eating our way through lemongrass, taragon, rosemary, thyme, basil (regular, Thai and lime), oregano, chives, and chillies.  Bring on pizza oven weather!!!!

I had a bit of time in my front garden as well, and I'm LOVING the bird of paradise plants we have.  The pink in the middle of this leaf, and the up close texture in the sun... LOVE!

Once he finished that lot, the Big Fella and another mate pulled out the ramp from our back door in preparation for putting in stairs and an outdoor kitchen.  Which was kind of a good thing, because they found termites in it!  So the job keeps getting bigger, and we'll have a few months of something like this:

But now we have temporary stairs so it's all good :-)

I started online orientation for uni this month, with a bunch of 1 hour sessions.  Some of them have been repeats of info I got last year doing the Study Link subjects, but I've garnered extra suggestions in almost all of them, so it's been worthwhile.

Doing the online sessions at the dining table was getting a bit wearing, so we decided to move the guest room furniture into our room and set the guest room up as my study/art room.  I don't have any photos for you yet, but here's the guest room before it was moved.  Now all that matching furniture is in our room, and all the junk that was still piled in the corner is... in the living room :-(  I'll get there :-)

The weird thing has been going from sleeping in a big, soft king size bed, to sleeping in a smaller, harder, queen size bed.  The Big Fella and I are NOT used to touching each other in the night so we kept half-waking whenever either of us rolled over.  We're slowly getting used to it.

My first "actual" uni subject has started and I'm already behind in week 1.  There's a LOT of reading.  Thankfully my previous tertiary experience tells me that I'll settle in and find a rhythm, because otherwise I'd be seriously freaking out (instead of just general freaking out).

The girls I met last month all got together for another dinner out and I met some more new people.  I think it's good for me to keep meeting new people.  I tend to get caught up in my own little world, so being with others (especially new people) reminds me that the world is not about me.

I also got together with the art ladies for a social night, which is always fun.  They're so good for me :-)

Our final bit of news for the month is that the Little Big Fella has started learning to play the flute.  He's in Grade 4 this year, so is eligible for instrumental music lessons and he chose the flute (choices were flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone and percussion).  Like cricket, he had to commit to playing (and practising) for the whole year.  He was SO enthusiastic for the first few nights (including wanting to sleep with it) but it's tapered off already.  I'm guessing that when he learns a couple of specific notes (rather than just blowing to get a sound) he'll up the enthusiasm for a couple of days and we'll go round and round the motivation cycle for the rest of the year.

Or he could surprise me!

I hope you've all had a good February, and I look forward to "seeing" you next month!

Friday, 2 February 2018

And that's a wrap - January 2018

Hello friends and family!

Yes!  The blog is still live, even if I only wrote in it three times in 2017.

I was showing someone my Cars today and thought how long it's been since I wrote here.  So, I thought I'd try to at least do a month-by-month summary of what's going on in our lives this year.  You never know!  I might even stick to it for the whole year :)

We had the privilege of having the Big Fella's family with us for Christmas, which was really wonderful.  Unfortunately I was still a bit stressed out from all the "stuff" leading up to it, so I wasn't as gracious a host as I would have liked.  Thankfully they were gracious enough to let it slide, and we all had a pretty good time :)

It was actually the first time we've all been together since the Little Big Fella was born, so it was pretty special!  Crazily enough, we didn't actually get a photo of all of us together!  But here's a couple I did get :)

I did a treasure hunt for the Little Big Fella's major present (a PS4).  He had a little envelope in the Christmas tree that he opened, which had a bit of a poem/riddle to solve to find the next clue.  I think there were six clues, which he worked out very quickly and he really enjoyed the process (as well as the present).

Everyone left by December 28th, and I didn't have to be back at work until January 3rd.  So, despite having a list longer than my arm of things I wanted to do, I pretty much sat on the couch and read my Kindle (1-3 books a day) and watched Netflix.  I kind of wondered why I "wasted" so much time, but now that everything is back in full swing I absolutely know.  I was exhausted!

Seriously, I need to keep a lid on things a bit better this year or I'll be a nervous wreck by the end of it!

I recalled the joy of receiving actual letters in the mail when I was a little girl, so I've decided to try to write a letter a week.  I'm not doing great at keeping at it, and I'm only a month in, but I think it's something I'd like to keep trying at.

I'm starting a course at university this year - a Bachelor of Social Work (hopefully with honours) at Charles Sturt University.  So January included a couple of pre-study subjects to make sure I know my way around their online learning environment, and learning/remembering referencing systems and all that joy.

Oddly enough, I actually enjoyed all that.  So imagine how much "fun" it'll be when I get into the "real" subjects!

I got to celebrate the birthday of my friend and hairdresser in January.  And at the same time met some awesome new potential friends.  We had such a fun night we decided to make a habit of it, so about once a month we'll all get together for dinner and a drink or two, with or without the kids.

I had to do a photo for my uni student card, so while I was dressed up for my night out with the girls, I took a photo that I'm actually pretty happy with :)

I finished another painting this month as well.  Our challenge was to use one colour, and shade/tint it with black/white.  I'm happy with how she's come out.  I love the shape her body makes and the sense of movement in her hair and dress.  And the feeling it reminds me of from when I used to dance :)

The Big Fella has been assisting in a training school for the past 14 weeks.  The first and last 5 weeks were at a town down on the coast about three and a half hours from home.  It's been tough, but a LOT easier than before we first moved up here and the Little Big Fella was so much younger.  We're excited to have him back home again for the foreseeable future!

The Little Big Fella and I drove down one weekend to hang with the Big Fella, which was a fun break from routine.  We did some shopping, eating (of course!) and general hanging around.

I was amazed by the creativity in their public spaces!  They had multi-purpose spaces that were functional, interesting, creative, relevant to their area and generally well thought out.  I think I'm going to need to get in touch with the people who design our public spaces and see if we can come up with some good ideas to bring people together creatively.

I surprised the Little Big Fella with a trip into our biggest close town to see the live show of Deadly 60.  He really enjoys the TV show, and seeing it live was really cool.  We ran into a bunch of friends there, which made it extra special.  Then had some Hungry Jacks before the long drive home.

We're back on a health kick this year, hoping we can make it more of a long-term lifestyle change.  The Big Fella and I have put a bit on over the last few years and we're uncomfortable in our clothes.  Add a bit of hot Queensland weather and you have the inspiration for getting back in shape.  So far I've lost 2kg, which is a nice, steady loss for me, and I seem to be taking to the routine well enough.  The proof will be in the pudding, though!

So that's pretty much January!  Fingers crossed I'll see you again in about 28 days :)