Thursday, December 30, 2010

Facebook not working....


Unless you are accessing it via a mobile network.

Read more here.

So many poor people being deprived of opportunities to chat with friends online, to play Farmville, or to just tell the whole world their location at this exact moment. (I often get envious when I read those....often these people are posting from some fantastic restaurant and going out for dinner happens very rarely here).

Some of the comments are funny. I can't believe there are so many people sounding so angry about this. It's like they are suffering drug withdrawal symptoms.

Come on, everyone, lighten up. Call your friend on the phone. Go to their place and see them if they're local. We all survived for a very long time without Facebook before Mark Zuckerberg invented it.

Today...

I went shopping and found (almost) everything I went searching for...and maybe a bit more....

1. New hairdryer
2. New bathmat (not exactly the one I was looking for but one with bobble things on it, it feels great on the feet) and chair covers
3. Liam's birthday present (books and Nerf guns)
4. Ladybug backpack for Rosie to take to child care.
5. New tops for me
6. Sushi for lunch

Came home to a lovely clean house thanks to my wonderful housecleaning husband. Now to decide on what birthday cake to make for Liam tomorrow. Chris is the cake-making expert in our house so he will take care of the cooking and decorating.

Then my plan is to get back to my puzzle. That's proving more difficult than I thought. Not only is the picture of a lot of very similar looking wine corks, but sadly the picture on the front of the box doesn't match the puzzle inside it. The corks are there...but they are all in a different order to the ones on the photo. It will get quicker as I go along but at the moment I am placing pieces at a rate of around five per day...not very rewarding but it is good to be challenged.

And for our holiday Bible readings, Chris and I are working through the latest Briefing readings on guidance. Good stuff. It's been a while since I read Guidance and the Voice of God so it's nice to review it again in a slightly different format.

Hope everyone is enjoying time with family and friends this holiday season.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christian cliques

Read great blog posts about them here and here.

I was going to write a post railing about their existence in our church and how I have noticed them more as our church has grown larger. After I read these posts, I realised that I have been just as bad at actively seeking out new people and making sure they feel included at church.

It's much easier every week at church to talk only to the people we know, that we feel comfortable with and have things in common with. And it's okay to have close friendships in church. We need to have close friends who will hold us accountable for changing our sinful natures to become more Christlike. But it is not okay to be exclusive and to avoid inviting new people into existing friendship groups. This is not the kind of behaviour that Jesus demonstrated to us.

I think these posters are right. Cliquish behaviour stems from selfishness and looking out for our own interests (and I would also suggest our popularity) rather than the interests of others. And this kind of behaviour will not win others to Christ's family. In fact, I think it can be a real turn off to newcomers and may even drive them away from our church.

I need to examine my own behaviour in this regard and pray about it. I thought Ben's warning was good...if you don't think you are in a clique, then you probably are....

My holiday jigsaw puzzle challenge

I like to do jigsaw puzzles over the holidays when I have (in theory, anyway) some time to spare. This is the puzzle I'm doing these holidays.

Not only will I have to manage the challenge of the puzzle itself, but I will also need to deal with the special bonus challenge of how to keep the exploring toddler away from it.

The smell of death

It's in my hairdryer. A moth crawled in there one night last week and was incinerated when I turned the dryer on in the morning. What a way to die. I feel a bit bad that I was so unwittingly cruel.

I noticed a few sparks and a little flame in the dryer at the time but didn't realise what it was until later on. It stopped shooting out sparks and flames but it then started to smell really bad whenever I used it. A bit like the smell of roadkill after it has been sitting on the side of the road for a few days.

When I shone a torch into the dryer, I discovered the moth carcass and realised what had happened. However, what's left of it is irretrievable from either end of the hairdryer. Nothing happened when I tried to shake it out. It looks like it's become welded to the metal bits of the hairdryer innards.

So I had to throw the whole dryer away. It was heading for its seventh birthday which is usually when small appliances die anyway, so it was probably living on borrowed time. And at least at this time of the year I might score a bargain when I go to get a new one.



Rain rain go away

I need to buy a few things at the shops.

But there is no point in going anywhere near a shopping centre when it is pouring rain outside. Post-Christmas sales plus wet weather = bad news for people like me who don't do well with crowds.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to all

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas! Enjoy celebrating the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

"Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11, ESV).

May His blessings be yours this Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lego Nativity Scene


Aidan and Liam made this today for Cathy's Lego Nativity Scene competition. I suggested they do it/made them do it while I was cooking for our family Christmas Eve dinner tonight.

They had a few challenges. Making the star was tricky. The large arms/wings sticking out on either side of it belong to an angel. We don't own any Lego women, so Mary is being played by a builder. One of the shepherds has a leg missing, but that is cleverly hidden by the sheep positioned in front of him.

It was good fun once they finally got started. Unfortunately prior to them starting, I had to do the first two things on Simone's top 5 list of what to do with overexcited kids at Christmas.

Sigh.


Christmas Eve Muppets


An early Muppets since I may not be back in here on Monday.

Merry Christmas to my readers. Thanks for your support this year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not what you want to see happen at the Carols Service


Unfortunate.

I have sympathy for the camel. All that loud music and the large audience all singing and carrying on. No wonder he freaked out.

I don't think anyone was hurt...

(with apologies to Sheryl, I had to delete the earlier post with your comments and replace it with this one. The video I posted was deleted from YouTube and when I found another version I couldn't just cut and paste it into my first post. I'm sure it could have been done...just me being technologically challenged, no doubt...)

No Santa?


We do Santa at our house. Not in a big way, however. We wouldn't bother taking the kids to sit on Santa's lap in the shopping centre and have their pictures taken. I wouldn't encourage them to write him letters with long lists of things they want to get as presents. But he does come on Christmas Eve bringing gifts, and we leave out food and drink for both Santa and the reindeer (beer, carrots, those little bags of oats that always come home from preschool or school, and yummy gingerbread shape biscuits).

For Chris and I, Santa is part of our childhood memories. I never went to see Santa at the shopping centre when I was little, but we did leave out our pillowcases each Christmas Eve for him to put our gifts in. Chris and his four siblings would go into the city each year especially to see Santa. He remembers feeling scared of going to see him in town, but not afraid of him coming on Christmas Eve. I can't remember when I discovered Santa was in fact a myth. It just seems to have been a gradual discovery over time, and I certainly wasn't traumatised in any way by it. I saw it as being part of the childhood magic of Christmas, one of those things that seems to fade as we grow older and we reminisce about fondly in our adult years. I didn't lose any trust in my parents over them having encouraged us to think Santa was coming.

Which is why I kind of don't get the arguments many Christians put forth about why we shouldn't tell our kids about Santa. You know the ones. It's lying to your children. Santa has his origins as a pagan ritual.

No, Santa isn't the main point of Christmas. Jesus is. And our kids know that. We have been reading through the Christmas story from our Bible and our Advent calendar for the last three weeks. We don't ever set out to tell the kids elaborate lies about what Santa does. He just comes to our house on Christmas Eve and gives us gifts. Maybe we're fortunate that our kids don't ask too many questions about how he manages to get in when we don't have a chimney and the doors are closed.

Our eldest child now knows that Santa doesn't really exist. I think that it was probably someone from our church who told him. That put me in a slightly awkward position at his school earlier this year when I was told by his teacher that he had passed this information on to another child in his class who was still a Santa believer. The Mum of the other child wasn't too happy, apparently.

I felt sad when I heard this. Santa to me is part of the magic of childhood at Christmastime. Another stage of life has passed for him. But for our two younger kids, I'm keen for them to continue to enjoy Santa as much as we did. Childhood is such a short time.

I was talking to someone from our church a few days ago who has never done Santa. Each year they choose a theme for Christmas (for example, this year it's Narnia, last year it was Transformers) and use that for gift giving. It sounded interesting. But I can't quite see Christmas without Santa.

And where do you draw the line on the pagan thing? If you're going to argue that Santa is a pagan figure, then why put up a Christmas tree which supposedly was originally meant to honor Odin, the Norse God? Or why let your kids read any books with fantasy like wizards, witches or talking animals in them?

This year, for our Book Club Christmas reading, we read J.R.R.Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas.
I loved it, even though I have never managed to cope with Lord of the Rings in its written form. The edition of the book I found in my local library even had real envelopes in it with letters inside that you could pull out and read. And the illustrations were gorgeous. To me, it encapsulated all the reasons we do "do Santa."




Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why?

I am seeing these all over the place at the moment.

I don't get it. Come on, people. It's a car. It doesn't need a Rudolph costume.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Under the table can be any place you want...

Liam has spent a fair bit of yesterday and today under our dining room table reading his library books. Yesterday he was calling this hiding place a "World War 2 bunker" and today it has been reborn as a campervan. No real obvious differences in what it looks like today compared with how it looked yesterday.

I love the imagination of five year olds.

Word verification

Some of them are cool. They make you want to make up a definition.

Panemide....it sounds like a kind of medication.

And for something that doesn't require a babysitter...

don't forget to tune in to ABC Classic FM on Wednesday night at 8pm for the annual Christmas broadcast of Handel's oratorio Messiah. Bliss.

I have asked for ABC shop gift vouchers from family members this Christmas. I think I am going to buy myself Messiah so I can put it on whenever I want to.



Time to organise the babysitter


I want to go and see this movie with my husband over the Christmas holiday break. It seems to be getting fantastic reviews. And it's all about therapy/allied health professionals. What could be better? It will be interesting seeing how they "did" therapy back in the 1930s, even though I suspect it would have been quite different given that the client was the King of England.

Actually I could really do with a babysitter right now (although it's highly unlikely to happen). I thought the Christmas shopping was under control but there are a few important things I've forgotten. And I need to buy food. The thought of entering shops with all three kids is frightening. Thank goodness for extended shopping hours over the next three days.


Monday, December 20, 2010

This morning I made this

I even managed to make the funky little stars for the top. If I can make this, anyone can.

I can't wait to eat it. Find the recipe here.

Monday Muppets


Watch for a special Christmas Eve Muppets later this week!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Two five hour Christmas carol sessions at the markets down

And I think I can safely say I am officially over Christmas carols for this year. But I still have to work up sufficient excitement to play for our Christmas carols service at church tonight.

Since I have trouble playing the piano and singing songs at the same time, we actually go along to a service at the local Salvation Army on Christmas Eve so I can enjoy some carol singing as well. Although this year I am not playing the piano on Christmas Day so I will get to sing then too.

And as a Christian, it may be a little politically incorrect to say so, but I am also hanging out to play all my other favourite Christmas songs: The Twelve Days of Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Rudolf, Jingle Bells etc. I would also love to find the piano music for the Australian Christmas carols (Orana to Christmas Day, The Three Drovers and those ones). Even though I have been watching Ebay, this music is hard to track down...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Necklaces....

For teething? This is a picture of some amber teething jewellry. The new must have accessory for infants. Around $30-$40 from health food shops and online. They didn't seem to be in vogue when I had my two sons but third time around I have noticed many babies around Rosie's age wearing these so I thought I might do some research to find out how they worked.

Apparently they provide natural pain relief for teething because "the skin warms the amber beads, releasing healing oils which are then absorbed into the bloodstream." Hmmm.

This website, among others, explained all about it but I gave up reading not much further on. It all sounded too much like Bad Science to me. I actually thought the skin was supposed to be a protective organ which stopped foreign things entering the bloodstream....

However, if anyone would care to provide some good evidence that they do work (not just anecdotes) then I would be happy to stand corrected. I read a few reports on parenting sites from parents who had put them on their babies well before they even started teething and then said stuff like "aren't these necklaces great, my baby didn't complain at all when he was teething." But that's not proof. Their baby might just have been a non-complaining teether anyway, like all my kids have been.

(Edited to add....I just deleted a comment because I was spammed by a website that sells them!!)

Being a good evangelical woman

= having lots of children? Lately it seems that in blogland and other places, several people are announcing fourth pregnancies.

Sometimes I feel like a failure. Three kids just doesn't seem quite enough some days in this brave new world of "Biblical womanhood." Some days I dare to think that despite my dodgy pregnancy history, I could go on and have a fourth child. But most days I feel that three is definitely my limit....

And I know there are many women worse off than me. Single women approaching late 30s without a husband yet. Women who struggle with infertility and have difficulty even having one child. Women with secondary infertility who would have loved a larger family but it just doesn't happen for them. It must be so hard for them not to become bitter about the unfairness of it all.

Time to pray for contentment in the family I have been blessed with, I guess.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The madness of breaking up at school

It has destroyed the minimal creativity I possess. I'm all out of ideas for posts at the moment.

The boys finished school today with Presentation Day this morning. Actually there is one official day of school left but instead of going to school tomorrow I am going to send them to our church holiday program, Good News Week, for the day. Tomorrow morning we will go out to breakfast/for milkshakes to celebrate our successes this year. Tonight our Advent calendar activity was thinking of how God had grown and changed each of us during the past twelve months so we have discovered many things to be thankful for.

And then it is the holidays. Chris gets to spend the first day of the holidays with all three kids while I go to a professional development day at work. I am not very excited about going but maybe it will be okay when I get there. Just not in the work groove right now, hoping the excitement returns in the new year when the time comes to go back....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Muppets

Somebody on YouTube made the interesting comment that except for Benny and the cat, everyone else in this skit is a dog. One of those little detail things that you may have missed first time around...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Challenge for today....

This morning I am doing one of the readings at church.

Matthew 1:1-17. The genealogy of Jesus.

I am really looking forward to pronouncing all those names. So much fun.

Chris told me I should get away with most mispronunciations since most other people won't know the correct ones either. Except for Salmon. I won't be pronouncing that one like the seafood variety....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas time is here....

Let the shopping centre car park stalking begin.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

God's son was born in a shed

The message for this Sunday's toddler session at our church (we call it Sprouts) that I am running.

We are calling it a shed because strictly speaking it doesn't actually say anywhere in the Bible that Jesus was born in a stable. Wherever it was, it was a place where animals and humans lived under the same roof. So it could have been a stable, or maybe the interesting alternative of a "house of poverty."

It's just that when I hear the word "shed", I think of the Titans steel shed variety. Like this one:


Since the kids are pretty small (18 months to 2ish years old mostly) I can't get too carried away on the craft front. Some pasting and colouring in will probably be as complex as it gets.

And I haven't worked with this group for a few months, so I will have to relearn all the J for Jesus songs....

Off to photocopy some shed pictures now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good work, big A


Today we had the keyboard concert at school for all the Year 1s and 2s who have been having lessons this year. Aidan learns in a group with two other boys from his class.

Aidan was off school sick yesterday and wasn't too good this morning either. I rang the music teacher this morning to check that he wasn't playing a duet or anything involving other kids (he wasn't), and I said I would try to bring him down to play if he was feeling a bit better after lunch.

Fifteen minutes before the concert was due to start, when I asked him to get dressed and got out his school uniform for him, he was lying on his bed moaning about how he couldn't possibly move or get up. He can be a bit over the top when he's sick, there's lots of lying around curled up in a ball rocking and carrying on about how he can't do anything. I gave him some more Panadol. Nothing changed. So I assumed we weren't going and started on other jobs I had to do.

Ten minutes later he walked out of the bedroom fully dressed in school uniform (including shoes and socks) and said "Are we going now?"

So I dropped everything, packed the two kids into the car and race down to the school, arriving about twenty minutes into the performances. He'd missed his turn but his teacher called him at the very end and he got up and played his piece perfectly. He did "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" Not a song I'm that keen to hear again but he did very well and he was one of the only ones who did chords with his left hand.

Sometimes your kids surprise you. In a good way. I was glad I encouraged him (perhaps it was a little stronger than encouragement actually) to do it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To be fruitful and multiply....or not?


And if not, am I being a disobedient Christian??

We have three children. The number I always saw myself as having in those long time ago days pre-kids. It took us a long time to conceive #3 and I think it took so long because I am now closer to 40 than 35 years of age.

So now we are faced with a decision. What to do next? Do we look at a long term, even permanent, method of contraception? Or do we "let God decide" whether we should add to our family? (ie. not use contraception but just see what happens without actively "trying").

The "letting God decide" option is a bit scary. Putting that term into Google along with "family size" brought up a lot of hits from blogs belonging to women who stay at home homeschooling their families of (insert any number greater than 4 here) children. That and the Quiverfull movement. A few interesting quotes in all those on the relationship between family size and "Biblical womanhood" that I will tackle in another post because of how wrong I thought they were.

Let me just say I am struggling with the whole thought of "letting God decide." While I think at the age I am now, it is less likely rather than highly likely that God would bless us with another baby, what if he did? All my babies have been early, and the trend over having the three of them is that they have arrived earlier and earlier. My third child was born after a gestational diabetes complicated pregnancy at 33 weeks. Any earlier than that and there are so many risks for both me and the baby due to prematurity. No one can tell me why they have come earlier than they should, so I don't have risk factors I can get rid of next time. In fact it's likely to be even riskier because of my age. And all three of my births have been Caesareans as well.

But is it "unbiblical" as a woman not to put my trust in God to take care of me if I should have another baby?

And the contraception road isn't necessarily the quick and easy alternative either. Researching all the options out there and deciding which are acceptable to Christians isn't a five minute task.

Financially for us, increasing the size of our family would be a stretch. I don't think I should be expecting the government to provide lots of financial assistance for me to have lots of children. In fact, it's my own belief that if you can't afford to have children and predominantly support them yourself, then you shouldn't have them (although I realise that not everyone, including many Christians, share this view).

So I feel a little uneasy about what to do here. I know I don't have a wide readership to canvass here but if anyone has been in a similar position, I am open to advice....






Monday, December 6, 2010

Thinking about what happiness is...

...after looking at this discussion.

I put an answer on there, but I really need to give it a bit more thought. What do you think happiness is?


Monday Muppets


Robin the Frog. The most serious Muppet.

I loved this poem (originally from A.A.Milne) when I was little.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent calendar 2010

I am not crafty. At all. So much so that as you can see, I just bought an Advent calendar (from here) with a little booklet of readings. And I was planning to put up the felt one I bought last year so the kids could put the little felt shapes together to make the nativity scene.

Then I thought after looking at the many Advent calendars on Nicole's blog that perhaps I should make a bit more effort. So this is our first go at an Advent calendar with Bible readings and activities to do. I just bought a packet of blue envelopes, some number and Christmas bauble stickers, and stuck the stickers on the envelopes. And we now have an envelope to open each day as well as the little door on the calendar I bought.

For each day, I just used the readings that came with the Advent calendar I bought and added some activity ideas, mainly from a blog by Ally that Nicole recommended. A couple of cooking things that I knew I could cope with as well. Making a few decorations. Going and looking at Christmas lights. That kind of thing.

So far it is going okay. We've had a few late dinners this week, which has meant by the time we sit down to do the reading and discussion/prayer time after dinner, the kids have been a bit tired and silly, but we are hanging in there. The readings are only a couple of verses each which is perfect for tired and silly children to cope with.

Hopefully this is the start of a continuing tradition. Maybe next year I will make the little parcels or cups or something. I can't sew, so there won't be a funky little fabric one. But I am pleased we managed to do it this year.

No rain!!

Apart from a few spits (which could hardly even be called showers) we survived Carols at the Markets this morning without getting wet. We were inside a tent to sing and play but it wouldn't have been fun if it was pouring outside the tent. And because it wasn't raining people sat down and ate their food and drank their coffee and listened to us for a while. We even had some applause from the crowd, and that wasn't just from the people who came from our church to watch us.

God is good.

I still have plenty of room for improvement but for a first attempt I think it was okay. Improvising on some of the carols and adding variety with a few instrumental carols that are different from the sung ones is what I'll need to work on, I think.

Exhausted now...and we have to do it all again in two weeks time!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weather forecast for Carols at the Markets

Rain, rain and more rain.

But we have to turn up rain or shine. I was hoping that if it's really torrential rain they might cancel so we could sleep in instead. Hopefully all the sound and electrical equipment we are taking survives any downpours that might happen.

It won't be very pleasant for people to sit around on the grass and listen to us sing and play if it's pouring rain.

Please pray that if it does rain, it won't be heavy non-stop rain. Showers I think I can cope with. Pouring rain is another story. And it's not like we've ever done this before so there's already all the issues around us doing our first real public/non-church performance.

But I'm going to try not to be anxious. Today I've been reading in Ruth about the shelter of "God's wings." It would be good to have some of that shelter tomorrow.


Same sex marriage is not allowed in Australia


And it should never be allowed. But apparently you are allowed to marry your dog. Read more here. And don't forget to check out the extensive photo gallery. They got married in Toowoomba, of all places. Not the same park Chris and I were married in, but one of the other big parks popular with marrying couples.

I don't think this can possibly be a legal marriage. The celebrant doesn't look legit to me. And I didn't see any photos of them signing documentation for the Marriages Register.

This is ridiculous. The dog is a PET. What happens when Joseph meets a woman? Does he then go for a quick divorce?

He is getting plenty of publicity out of all of this though, which is no doubt what he intended.

Watching....



....the first series of Sea Change (ABC television series from around ten years ago).

And when I am finished that, I have the second series waiting to go.

Both borrowed from the local library. I love libraries, so much cool stuff. And all free!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I need to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a women's breakfast at the local Salvation Army Church. This is the closest church to our house, so even though we don't actually go there, I hear about activities that are on. I was invited to the breakfast by the deputy principal from the kids' school, located next door.

The guest speaker at the breakfast talked about "dressing for your body shape." She had a large rack of clothing from one of the Salvos op shops that she used to illustrate what she was talking about. It was interesting and a bit of fun, but the biblical links were tenuous to say the least. Back to Genesis where God made the woman and said she was "very good." The meaning of "very good" from the original language was quoted as being "beautiful", therefore God said women are beautiful (and thus they should dress to suit their body shape).

Anyway, while I was there I met a lovely older lady who was telling me all about the volunteer work she does in the Salvos op shop down here. She then asked me if I needed any clothes.

Now I should start this by saying I am happy to wear good quality second hand clothing. I love finding a good op shop bargain, and am happy for my kids to wear hand-me-down clothing from friends. In fact, this kind of clothing is the majority of Rosie's wardrobe. So of course I said yes. She took down my phone number and the sizes of kids' clothing that I wanted and said she would sort through some of the things she has stored in her garage at home. "I have lots of lovely things that people just throw away, dear," she told me.

She called the next day and said she was putting some things together for me and would call me again later in the week to organise a time when I could collect them from her. She asked me what size clothing I took and I told her and she said she would put in some things for me as well. Fine.

She called again earlier this week to ask if I wanted any winter sheets. I said that we didn't need winter sheets. I actually use summer sheets all year round. Again she said she would call me when she had things ready to collect.

So she called yesterday and this morning I drove to her house to pick up what she had put aside for me. I said thank you very much and took it all home with me. She said if I couldn't use any of the things I should give them away or give them to a charity. As I left, she said "Make sure you keep in touch, dear. I get things all the time."

And....

.....it was all junk. I could see why people had thrown it away. When I looked through the bags at home (fortunately I didn't drag them all upstairs but just looked through them while they were still in the boot of the car), I found lots of old polyester women's tops (the style that older ladies wear), some bikinis in size 16 (not my size) and children's clothing, but with lots of staining that looked like it would require lots of effort to remove. I think out of four huge bags and a plastic container of old toys, I kept maybe three shirts and a couple of pairs of shorts for the kids.

So then I drove into town to the Lifeline shop and gave all the bags and old toys to the volunteers there.

Something is wrong with this scenario. I feel like an unnecessary middle man in a charity donation roundabout. Taking things that people have donated to charity and then giving it to another charity isn't really a productive use of my time. It would be much easier for me to cut out the step of transporting bags of things around and just go to the op shop and look at second hand clothing there.

So I now need to work out what to say if she calls me again (and given the number of times she has called me already, I am confident that she will). Assertion is being called for here. I need to put on my big girl pants and say, "Thank you for the kind offer, but we have lots of clothes." It's not quite true but I don't want to be mean or ungracious, I just need to stop this before I become a convenient dumping spot.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Impressive


A friend of mine gave birth to a new little daughter last night, her third child. She was booked to have a Caesarean today (eleven days past her due date, nothing's been happening) because the doctors were worried that the baby was too big, but she was very keen to deliver naturally.

So I texted her this morning to wish her luck for the delivery today.

She responded to say she'd gotten her natural delivery....and the baby weighed....

......drum roll...





......5.3 kg (11 pounds, 11 oz in old scale).

Around two and a half times what Rosie weighed at birth.

Impressive work.

Now that I am starting to pick my jaw up off the floor, I might see if I can find out what they have named her so I can write the congratulations card.

Christmas Northern Ireland style



This is what the weather was like in Newry, Northern Ireland, yesterday. A little chilly, it would seem.

These photos were taken by Chris' uncle. Amazing. I'll bet they're looking forward to the hot roast Christmas dinner this year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas carol overload

And it's not even December yet.

Getting ready for our markets performance this Saturday. There will be no songs about Santa, even if audience members make requests. I think "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Deck the Halls" could be OK though. I also enjoy "Ding Dong Merrily on High" but playing the "Glo.....oo.....oo...oo...ria" bit is tricky. The rest are at least passable, I'm hoping that the bass and bongos will cover any minor errors.

I hope our next door neighbours are enjoying the entertainment. They usually give me positive feedback about my playing/practising Christmas carols in the lead up to Christmas. But this year they may be over it all by the time Christmas day actually arrives.

Monday Muppets


A classic....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some days are just about survival really


Today I woke up feeling much better...except that I had developed an interesting post viral lower back ache. At least that's what I think it was. I couldn't remember moving awkwardly or anything, it just suddenly seemed to be quite painful when I tried to move around. Maybe I slept in the same position for too long or something.

This made for an interesting day as Chris was working and I was taking the kids to check out the markets where we are playing next weekend, followed by lugging a heavy bag of library books back to the library. All of that took place with Rosie being worn in the sling on my front. Somehow I survived and when I made it back home I called Chris at work (he is a physio) to see if he could bring a TENS machine home with him.

So all afternoon I lay on the couch reading library books (fortunately this activity was also keeping the kids occupied) and watching the cricket on TV, in agonising pain every time I tried to change positions, waiting in anticipation of the pain relief that was on its way.

Such enormous relief when I heard him pull into the driveway...only to discover he couldn't find any TENS machines at work. What kind of physio department has no TENS machines?? He gave it a little rub and told me the best thing to do was keep moving so it didn't stiffen up any further.

So I went grocery shopping (!). At least that could happen minus the three kids. And it wasn't too bad walking around the shops, even with the lifting and carrying I had to do. It's still painful, but I had help with unloading when I came home. And I can still manage to sit at the piano to play all the songs for tomorrow morning's service.

I'll be thankful that I survived and that it hasn't gotten any worse. And that now I do have the 24 hour physio available to fix it up. Usually when my back is painful he does a massage thing that hurts like crazy at the time, but then eases the pain heaps.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I don't like to grumble

But I do it a lot so maybe I really do?

Anyhow, I will try to keep this short. I really really don't like being sick and having a toddler to run around after. While I was dozing off on the bed before, she managed to shut herself into the toilet.

On the being grateful side of things, at least she hadn't managed to pull the toilet brush out of its holder and touch it, or to drop her blankie into the toilet bowl.

So it could have been worse.

I hope I feel better soon. Too much music practice still to be done. And the timing is bad. Chris has his work Christmas function tonight so he was planning to go straight from work to ten pin bowling and then dinner without coming home. And he is also working tomorrow.

Pray for patience here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What to make for morning tea tomorrow...

....when you're not in the mood for cooking at all?

Tomorrow I am going to a morning tea with some ladies from our church. The "bring a plate" kind of event. Where you're expected to home bake something because that's what good Christian women/homemakers do.

But I just don't feel like cooking anything tonight. I halfheartedly got out some butter earlier this evening to soften up in the hope that I might become enthusiastic enough to make some gingerbread Christmas biscuits. But I really can't be bothered.

Maybe this mood will wear off by tomorrow but if not I am stuck.

I have a jumbo sized packet of Maltesers in the cupboard. Would it be acceptable to take those, I wonder? I guess I could also go out tomorrow morning and buy some fruit as a healthier option.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Muppets


One of Chris' favourites (not sure why, perhaps he would care to explain?). Watch for the Beaker cameos....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas carols 2010

This year, a group of musicians and singers from our church is going to perform Christmas carols at the markets at our local high school. We are doing two Saturday sessions in the lead-up to our Christmas carol service at church. This is a new thing for us to do, and we are doing it as a way of inviting people along to the carols service.

Each session goes for five hours. It will include some a cappella singing, some instrumental songs, and some items with both instruments and singers. It's a lot of time to fill up.

I am the pianist. Obviously most of the songs are familiar but because of the length of time we need to be there I am also practising some others that I don't know so well, which is time consuming (and hard work). But fun too, since I'm discovering some old carols I haven't heard for years. And even one or two that I haven't ever heard before. I'm thinking of using some of the less familiar ones as part of an Advent calendar type thing at home so we can play and sing them together as a family.

Please pray for us as we do this outreach into our local community. And that our hands and voices don't get too tired! Piano's not so bad, but I think our bongo drum player might struggle a bit...




Thursday, November 18, 2010

I have never moved house with a dog

So I can't relate to this.

But it is very funny nonetheless. I don't know Allie, but she has a gift for drawing cartoons, telling an amusing story...and attracting many many followers to her blog.

We've only ever moved with cats. We lost one of our cats when we moved down here. He freaked out and ran off. Although we had sightings we never could catch him again. I hope he found a new family to be friends with.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another royal wedding

Unless you've been hiding under a rock today (in Australia anyway) you couldn't miss the news about the impending royal nuptials.

And speaking of rocks, I'm not entirely sure about the choice of engagement ring. I get that Prince William wants to remember his Mum, and it's a beautiful thing to recycle the ring, but there's just something about it that doesn't seem quite right to me. Maybe because it is also in a way a reminder of his parents' marriage that went so far off track. But I guess that time will tell and perhaps it will come to symbolise true love and faithfulness. Kind of like the phoenix rising from the ashes.

I'm already looking forward to the television coverage. I still remember watching Prince Charles and Lady Di get married on television back in 1981, when I was nine years old. I know I had a book all about it that I pored over non-stop. And I think I may have even had a commemorative T-shirt of their engagement. The type of thing you wear when you're nine.

We should pray that they will be preparing for the marriage as well as for the wedding. At least they've given their courtship a decent amount of time. You'd hope they would know each other pretty well by now.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kerbside clean-up

It's that time of year again. Our council is kind enough to collect large items of rubbish every six months.

I can't believe what some people throw away. Driving to school yesterday morning I saw a perfectly good outdoor setting (table and four chairs, still looked immaculate) out the front of an equally immaculate duplex. This is the place where I see a guy polishing his car at least every second day. A bit further on, I saw another house with a futon frame and perfectly clean looking mattress out the front. They also had an air hockey table, which didn't look quite as good, but still okay.

I said to the kids, "All those things will be gone by the end of today." And I was right. The outdoor setting was gone by 12 noon when I came home from the shops. The futon took a bit longer, but I suppose whoever took that needed to organise some transport for it. And the air hockey table was gone by nightfall.

On the other hand, I also can't believe what some people will take. This time we put out a white plastic outdoor table top and its four legs. We haven't set it up since we moved here and we now have a new table so we never bothered putting the old one together again. Someone has taken the legs but left the table top behind. Admittedly the top did look a bit tired, but still. What do you do with four table legs? I guess you keep trawling the streets till you find a nicer looking white top to match them.

We have had a couple of good furniture finds thanks to kerbside clean-up. Last time I found two perfectly nice looking bar stools with nice wooden backs and seats and a metal frame. One of the seats is a bit wobbly but that doesn't matter, they still work. That was courtesy of some neighbours across the road that we've never seen since we've lived here. Rubbish just appears mysteriously from their house every six months. And another time we collected a child's desk. All that needed was a sand back (still to be done) and a couple of knobs to make the drawers open again. All good.

I love the thought that we're recycling stuff rather than sending it to landfill.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Muppets

Thought I might make the Muppets a regular feature. You might see a lot of Beaker to start with, since he's my favourite.

And, since we didn't eat honeydew melons when I was growing up (were they even available?), the link between the green head and the name Bunsen Honeydew has only just dawned on me. Clever.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Revelation

For my Bible reading this month, I'm working through the readings in Revelation from this month's Briefing.

Revelation has generally been a book I've avoided. I thought it was all a bit too hard. All those references to beasts and visions. If I'm completely honest, I'm still finding it hard going this time. But the introduction to the series of readings had two very insightful reflections that are helping me to stick with the program:

1. There are lots of Old Testament allusions in Revelation.
2. It is a retelling of the story of Jesus and his Gospel in a more colourful way.

Funnily enough, when Aidan is reading his Bible we often find him looking at Revelation. I think it's because he's obsessed with Beast Quest and similar types of books, so he enjoys reading about dragons and beasts. Perhaps that's my issue...I would prefer to poke my eyeballs with a stick rather than read about that kind of stuff so possibly my difficulties are because I'm struggling to relate to the subject matter?

But I think we need to be challenged to read parts of the Bible that we find difficult. It's in the Bible for a reason so it's important that we understand it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Unusual shopping list

I've been out shopping this afternoon for the following:

1. Wahu football (Christmas present for my nephew)
2. Brandy (to soak the fruit for my Christmas cake)
and
3. New swimmers. From clearance sale at local community hall. Nothing too fancy. When a sale is advertised as "nothing over $20" you can be fairly sure that the nicer swimwear items you see on the supplier's Facebook page are not going to be on offer. But I did find something. Wearing new togs now while I think about whether it is still warm enough to get into the pool.


Small boxes fail to deter the box loving cat

My sister in law just emailed me this. I'm a cat lover but not always a fan of cat related paraphernalia. Maru, however, may just be the funniest cat on the internet.

Farewell Powderfinger...

Powderfinger are playing their final ever show in Brisbane tonight.

This is one of my favourite Powderfinger songs, sadly underrated in my opinion. This is the first time I have seen the clip of it, though. Very cool, especially the space whale thing.

Edited to add...apparently they don't like sharing their clips with people's blogs. But you can see it all on YouTube if you click on the link.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Would you do this?

Yesterday I was reading a discussion on one of the parenting websites I visit. The topic was "if you recognise someone you haven't seen in decades (even if they don't seem to recognise you), do you go up and say hi to them?" The person who asked said she has a good memory for names and faces so she always says hello when she sees someone she knows from her past. The example she gave was of seeing her ex-boyfriend from Year 7 and saying hello to him after not seeing him in 36 years!?

I'm not so sure about this.

I also remember faces and names well and had this dilemma when we were on holidays recently. I saw a Speech Pathologist I worked with in my first job as an OT, seventeen years ago. I saw her at the supermarket last time we went to Yamba as well. This time I saw her at the beach with her kids. She was having coffee with a friend at the kiosk. I haven't seen her since I left the job where we worked together.

After spending much of the morning wondering what to do, in the end I didn't say hello. What if she hadn't remembered me? Then I would have felt embarrassed in front of her friend and all of their combined kids. Maybe if she had been on her own I would have done it. She was actually lovely to work with, so it wasn't like it was someone from my past that I didn't like (in which case I wouldn't have the dilemma, I'd just run and hide).

But maybe she saw me and recognised me too and both of us were waiting for the other person to make the first move.

Perhaps on our next Yamba holiday I will finally be brave enough to go up and say hi. But knowing my luck, I probably won't see her next time we go there.

It's interesting that I find this far less of an issue in the online world, although I did follow Simone's blog for quite some time before I was brave enough to comment to see if she remembered who I was. But then it's far less humiliating to say hello to someone online that you know from years ago and not get a response, as opposed to saying hello face to face and having the other person say "Sorry, do I actually know you?"

But when I have stepped out and been brave to contact people I know from years ago on Facebook or through blogging (hi Sheryl if you're reading!), it has been very rewarding. I suppose the face to face thing could be the same.










Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Karen's cooking adventures


Today I made little carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing on them. From a recipe called "reindeer carrot cakes" in the free Woolworths magazine.

The kids enjoyed them so obviously they are appetising even if you're not a reindeer. I think I might get them to make some for the reindeer this Christmas since I didn't mind them either. Cream cheese icing is always very good.

This is a photo of what they should look like when they are food styled with bright colours in the background.

Monday, November 8, 2010

And the votes are in...

...for the Classic FM Top 100 Classics of All Time (Ten Years On). I wasn't a Classic FM listener when they did this ten years ago. I meant to vote this time but didn't get around to it.

Pleased to see so many other people voted for my favourites though.

If I had gotten around to voting, I would have voted for the Beethoven "Emperor" Concerto (which came in at No 2), Handel's Messiah, Vivaldi's Four Seasons and the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony (this one is familiar if you have seen the movie "Babe").

So here is the top 20:
  • No.1 Beethoven Symphony No 9 in D minor, Op 125, “Choral” – Philharmonia Orch/Sir Charles Mackerras
  • No.2 Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat, Op 73, “Emperor” – Claudio Arrau, p; Staatskapelle Dresden/Sir Colin Davis
  • No.3 Beethoven - Symphony No 6 in F, Op 68, “Pastoral” – London Classical Players/Sir Roger Norrington
  • No.4 Mozart Concerto in A for Clarinet, K622 – Wolfgang Meyer, basset cl; Concentus Musicus Vienna/Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • No.5 Messiah - Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood
  • No.6 Dvorák - Symphony No 9 in E minor, Op 95, “From the New World” – Czech Phil Orch/Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • No.7 Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18 – Sviatoslav Richter, p; Warsaw Phil Orch/Stanislaw Wislocki
  • No.8 Mozart - Requiem, K626 – La Chapelle Royale; Collegium Vocale; Orch des Champs-Élysées/Philippe Herreweghe
  • No.9 Beethoven - Violin Concerto in D, Op 61 – Arthur Grumiaux, v; Royal Concertgebouw Orch, Amsterdam/Sir Colin Davis
  • No.10 Elgar - Cello Concerto in E minor, Op 85 – Jacqueline du Pré, vc; London Sym Orch/Sir John Barbirolli
  • No.11 Bruch - Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor, Op 26 – Robert McDuffie, v; Scottish Chamber Orch/Joseph Swensen
  • No.12 Vivaldi - The Four Seasons, Op 8 – Nils-Erik Sparf, v; Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble
  • No.13 Saint-Saëns - Symphony No 3 in C minor, Op 78, “Organ”: – Anita Priest, o; Los Angeles Phil Orch/Zubin Mehta
  • No.14 Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending, Romance for Violin & Orch – Dimity Hall, v; Sinfonia Australis/Antony Walker
  • No.15 Bach - St Matthew Passion: excerpts – Choir & Orch of Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe
  • No.16 Beethoven - Symphony No 7 in A, Op 92 – Berlin Phil Orch/Daniel Barenboim
  • No.17 Schubert - Piano Quintet in A, D667, “The Trout” – András Schiff, p; members of the Hagen Quartet; Alois Posch, db;
  • No.18 Beethoven - Sonata No 14 in C sharp, Op 27 No 2, “Moonlight” – Claudio Arrau, p;
  • No.19 Holst - The Planets, Op 32 – Berlin Phil Orch/Sir Simon Rattle
  • No.20 Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis – Vienna State Opera Orch/Sir Adrian Boult

Here's something good for a singalong....

The magic that is Beaker....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I won something!

I didn't win the Venn diagram competition, but the letter I wrote to the newspaper won the Courier Mail's "letter of the month" competition for October.

I still haven't actually seen it in print but my parents have cut it out of the paper, as I thought they would do, so they might send it to me. There was a little spiel saying I had won in the letters to the editor column of yesterday's paper. I missed that too, because I didn't bother buying the paper (even though I usually do get the Saturday one). I thought yesterday's headline looked a bit dull.

So I have won a "leather compendium" valued at $80. Not sure exactly what that is. I might go and google it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bilibos


The above images are actually mini-Bilibos. They are like little plastic shells that are easy for toddlers to hold onto. They also come in a larger size that a kid aged 2-7 years old could sit inside. They are marketed as an "open-ended toy that stimulates the imagination."

Today we used them at Rosie's music class. Banging two of them together makes a sound like a horse clop-clopping along. They also look good for putting things into (today it was the little egg shakers), hiding things under, peeking or poking fingers through the holes, floating in the bath and a myriad of other options. They also claim to be 100% recyclable.

Occupational therapists love these kinds of toys. Of course I am hooked. I will be buying some for work and will be suggesting to family members that they might wish to buy some for Rosie for Christmas as well.




Thursday, November 4, 2010

How exactly does death transform...

...people's undesirable personalities/opinions/behaviour or whatever into saintly characteristics?

Last night on the news I was listening to two former professional surfers talking about what a great guy Andy Irons was. (Just as an aside, Wikipedia are amazing...they have already updated their entry with information about his death early yesterday).

Chris has work colleagues who are involved with the world of professional surfing and while there is now much grief at Andy's unexpected death and in many ways he may have been a great guy, he is also guilty (as we all are) of making some dubious lifestyle choices.

A few years ago, the Chaser guys wrote a song called The Eulogy Song, famous for the chorus line "everyone's a top bloke after death." I won't link to the song because it contains large amounts of bad language but at the time it generated much controversy because it was said to be offensive to the families of the people mentioned in it. Definitely it was, and it's not really a good song for Christians to listen to, but like a lot of the Chaser's work, there was a ring of truth in it also.

Why can't we just be honest and say that these people were like all of us, not at all perfect and saintly, just sinful?

I am not in any way "alternative" in my parenting style...


....but I do love wearing my baby (now almost a toddler!) in her baby carrier (an Ergo). When she was tiny, we used a pouch style sling to carry her. I used these partly because she was born prematurely and I wanted to be able to hold her close and curled up to compensate a bit for the last few weeks of being in utero that she missed out on. Other reasons for using it were purely practical, for example, I found it quicker and easier for ducking in and out of the shops and we live at the top of a hill so walking to school and back was easier without a pram.

My boys were carried around in the sling a little bit when they were babies, but we mostly used the pram for them as they got older and larger.

Rosie, however, has only been in the pram once since she was born, when I took her to an all day seminar at work and I thought she would be more comfortable sleeping in the pram. As it turned out, she wasn't, probably because she had never been in it before.

So we continued to use the carriers, since they seemed to be working so well (and my big old 4wd pram was looking a bit worse for wear so I was a little bit embarrassed to take it out among all the new compact and trendy looking prams). I thought I might buy a folding stroller if we needed it when she was bigger. But we haven't had to. Rosie still occasionally sleeps in the Ergo, not as often as when she was tiny, but sometimes if we are at school doing reading and she is getting a bit tired, she will go off to sleep if I put her into it. She will also sleep in our arms sometimes if she's very tired, but the Ergo is preferable because then we can be hands-free while she sleeps.

I have been blessed with having children who like sleeping. This is something I am very thankful for since I know that not everyone is similarly blessed. Yesterday, Chris was talking to a couple that he works with who have two non-sleeping children. Their theory was that you could tell parents of sleepers from parents of non-sleepers by whether they had a third child or not. I'm of the opinion that children's sleeping has more to do with temperament than anything their parents may or may not do to encourage it. Rosie has been the best sleeper of all of our children. She does have a placid and laid back kind of personality, but I do think that carrying her a lot may also have helped.

Now that she is bigger, I keep getting comments like "she must be getting heavy in that now." She is, but it is still really comfortable to wear her in the Ergo. It has great lower back support and I haven't had any back pain wearing it at all. I will confess that I don't walk to school with my kids every day, but when I do and I carry her back up the hill in the carrier, it feels like I get a great work-out.

Wearing her on my front (like the above photo) still works quite well but my next challenge is that I want to work out how to put her in it in the position where she is carried on my back. Supposedly you can use these things until the child is 3 or 4 years old. I'm pretty sure I'll be making Rosie walk by herself much earlier than that but we have definitely got our money's worth out of it already. It has been used almost every day since we bought it. The only change since we got it is that it's faded a little on the front from too much sun.



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Starting at a new Bible Study group tonight

I'm going by myself and I feel a little bit nervous about it even though I know everyone in it and they are not scary people.

We are going to be studying The Prodigal God by Tim Keller.





Sorry

On Monday I posted a YouTube clip featuring a message by Keith Green, a Christian singer-songwriter. I really should have checked out some facts before posting it and commenting on it. The way I spoke about it was disrespectful.

I have now deleted the post. Thanks Caroline for drawing my attention to the full story, I do appreciate it. And thank you for reminding me of the need to be humble in the way I speak about others. And for reminding me of my own rule (that, embarrassingly, I reminded myself about in the post before) that it is sometimes better to wait before hitting the submit/publish button.

And having now discovered more about Keith's life and untimely and tragic death, I will put up a quote I found of his that was very challenging to me....

"If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!!" — Keith Green