Thursday, March 31, 2011

We now have drums for church on Sunday

And that is good.

Crystal children

This week I have been doing a bit of google researching (highly evidence-based, I know) on "crystal children." The mother of the boy I am seeing tomorrow believes her son is a crystal child who has special talents and intelligence. Supposedly these children have some kind of blue aura around them.

I am a bit skeptical. I think crystal child might be the new age term for children whose parents are not ready to accept that their child is delayed/on the autistic spectrum/has attention issues or whatever else.

I am open to the fact that there are children with special talents and intelligence but to get through the school system in Queensland (and almost everywhere else too, I guess), you do need to have a few basic skills like being able to sit down and listen, participate in group times and understand what is going on, hold a pencil and scissors so that you can do craft and activity sheets, and some ability to communicate with adults and peers. That is what my therapist colleagues and I can help with. If your child doesn't have those skills, then even if he is a crystal child, he is going to need to acquire them before he acquires the less flattering label of "behaviour problem."

Book Chat #2

Or maybe I should have called this one...the ups and downs of attempting to organise something.

After freaking out a couple of weeks ago that too many people would come along to the book chat on Saturday, now I am getting lots of apologies and "sorry, I can't make its."

So in the true style of one who is never I am feeling a bit discouraged. Why aren't they coming when they seemed so keen a few weeks ago? Didn't they like the book? Didn't they finish it? I would love people to come even if they didn't finish it. I like knowing why people haven't finished it...Was it too boring to get into? Was there not enough time? Is it me/my house they don't like?? (well, maybe the last one isn't true but hey, why let that get in the way of catastrophizing?).

So I hope there will still be a few of us to chat about it. I really REALLY enjoyed this book, it highlighted heaps of fantastic memory verses to learn.

I have also learned stuff about how to organise this group next time. Find out who is actually coming so I can email around to remind them and maybe send out a discussion question to hook them into not pulling out (thanks Deb for the tip!). Get more books to begin with so that I don't have slower members of the crowd who don't buy it in the first two weeks saying to me, "they've sold out of the book on the stand so I can't read it now..." (when this happened and I asked if we could buy some more for the book stall I was told it would be better if we could try to share the other copies around). Find out who has actually bought it early on so I can see if they've finished with it and are happy to pass it on to one of those who are slower off the mark so that then they can read it and come along.

I will not feel disheartened by this. It is going to make me clean up my house, so that can only be a good thing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How not to fix the obesity crisis in Australia

With this:

Read more here. It looks frightening. Over 30g of fat and almost two hours of exercise needed to burn it off afterwards....

Feeling stretched to the edge of my (limited) creative powers...

...Trying to come up with some discussion points on "God Is Enough" for our Book Chat this Saturday. I don't know how many people are coming, I didn't want this to be a stressful thing (just a few women chatting about a book that was pretty enjoyable to read), yet I feel a bit anxious about how it will go. Just needing a couple of thoughts in case the discussion stops or gets off track.

Then I have to prepare an RE lesson for Jesus Club (the group of kids at the local special school) next week on the message of Easter. Not a difficult topic, but the audience need it simplified to younger child level without it looking too much like a preschool activity.

My creative ability isn't much good at the best of times. Give me something already prepared and I can organise it and run it, but having to invent things on my own isn't a strength.

But maybe these are challenges that God is using to extend me beyond my comfort zone.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Mitchell and Webb Look

The Muppets will be back...but I couldn't resist this one as a follow up to my i-post last week...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Feeling a bit lonely


I think we need to invite some people over for dinner or something. Now that we are a big family, we don't get that many invitations to other people's houses anymore. We cost a lot to feed, and we have a toddler who gets cranky after about 7.45pm. Not a great combination.

Or maybe we're just boring company.

Enough of the pity party. Off to play some songs and watch our new Premier claiming victory. And to read Proverbs. That should sort me out.

Today I voted in the State election

But I didn't feel very excited about it. We live in a safe National seat. The Liberal/National Coalition were always going to win this election in a landslide. And they've been able to achieve this feat without even telling us what they will be offering the people of NSW from Government. It would be good if they could enlighten us about this sometime soon.

I was tempted to vote for the No Parking Meter Party on the Upper House form. They seemed to have a lot of names under the line. Cool party name and policy. I got a parking fine a couple of weeks ago. No parking meters would be great (even though the parking meter I was fined from was in Queensland...).

So now it's onto the election coverage on TV. Antony Green is the main reason I watch. His enthusiasm for elections is endearing.

Probably the highlight of my day was baking white chocolate and raspberry muffins to take to the cake stall the school was running as a fundraiser while the voting was on. They looked so good I made another batch for us to eat at home.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Unusual name for the week

Uriel. I just googled it and apparently Uriel was one of the four chief archangels. The name means "God is my light."

You might think it would be pronounced like "Muriel" but without the "M" at the beginning.

Apparently not. Well, not by the family of the little person with this name.

They pronounce it "Ariel." As in "are-ee-al."

I haven't met him yet. That is next week's pleasure.

Never fear...homeopathy will save you....

The homeopaths are at it again...and this time they are trying to capitalise on the recent spate of natural disasters worldwide....

Here is an Australian homeopath's website claiming that homeopathy can be used to protect from the effects of contamination through radiation. Fortunately, the media got onto it and has published a story here to clarify the real story.

And from the same homeopathy site, this, where you can learn all about how you can use homeopathic treatments for shock, fear, hysteria and injuries.

Last year, I posted this fantastic YouTube video which pretty much sums up what I think about homeopathy. Hey, I liked it so much, I'll post it again...

Using water to treat life-threatening illnesses and injuries? Using X-rays to "minimise genetic damage following exposure to radiation"?

Nah, I think I'll stick to conventional first aid and get myself to a hospital for some medicine if I'm sick or injured.





i-pad 2 (out today).

i know someone with all of the above.

To me, having that many Apple products is verging on the ridiculous. But....for the person concerned, this is a status symbol....having all of them just screams "it's all about 'me'" (or should I say "i"?)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Return of the slow cooker

I dragged it out today from the depths of the cupboard where it has been hibernating through spring and summer. Unfortunately in our part of the country right now we are having a late heatwave which I didn't cater for in my menu planning this week. This week's menu consists of bakes, a roast, a curry and two I am now having to re-assess that plan...

But I thought if I could do the roast in the slow cooker then it might not heat up the kitchen quite so much. I haven't tried this before but fortunately the internet is your best friend in these situations. Within five minutes of Google searching I had found a recipe and the lamb (a 2kg leg seasoned with garlic and rosemary) has been cooking since about 9.30 this morning, sitting on top of five balls of scrunched up tin foil so it doesn't stew in its own juices.

It smells AMAZING. Hopefully it will taste as good as it smells. I decided to ditch the idea of roast potatoes and have boiled up potatoes to make potato salad. Some corn, some lettuce and tomatoes and we are having roast lamb and salad for dinner tonight.

Minimal effort. Minimal time spent in kitchen on boiling hot day. Maximum enjoyment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So as I was writing that last post....

I had a call from the kids' school.

Liam has bitten a kid in his class because she "was in his personal space" (that's the reason he managed to come up with when the deputy principal asked him why he did it).

So yes, I am definitely praying for wisdom now. And also that I will be able to control my anger when I have to sort this out after school. Having been through a couple of these kinds of situations previously, I've found that the way I react to them works a bit like a grieving process.

My initial response is always to feel shocked and upset and also pretty embarrassed. My thought process goes something like this. I've taught my kids better than that. They know it's the wrong thing to do. There is never any excuse for that behaviour. What will the other parent think of him/me? (I don't think the school tells them who the biter is, but I'm sure their child will pass the information on). What will the teachers/principal think of me?

When the stage of embarrassment and feeling upset settles down (usually about the time the culprit arrives home from school), I then move into an anger stage. I feel really cranky. I shout (quite a lot...). I don't want to hear about what the other kid did, I just want you to behave yourself. How dare you do that? etc etc

And then I feel guilty. Has this behaviour started happening because I've recently gone back to work? Am I too busy doing other stuff to find the time to look at my own kids' issues? Have I not paid him enough positive attention lately?

And then I have to think of a consequence for all this. He's already had a few special things removed this week. We're running out of options.

I know that once I calm down (probably a day or two away, hopefully tomorrow though), then I will be able to think about it a bit more reasonably. There was another kid in Liam's class biting people this week. Not the smartest move to copy this behaviour but at least I know that other kids have done it. I wish my kids wouldn't do these things but we all do stupid things and so Chris and I need to sit him down and have the talk (again) about what appropriate behaviour choices are. As parents, we need to keep praying that over time, he will choose more appropriate responses when someone gets in his way.

I think though that the way I react in these kinds of situations has a lot to do with how people might perceive me (as a person or as a parent). Which is in its own way as sinful as the behaviour that initiated it. It's not important what other people think. What God thinks is the most important thing, but that isn't what comes to my mind first up. It's always about what people might think of ME, which is of course a very selfish attitude to have. And so as a consequence, I am also being sinful.

So then I was thinking that maybe we need to go through a similar grief process about our own sins more often, particularly with those more insidious sins that outsiders don't see. I don't know about other people, but I find it's only when my sin is exposed and I am perceived for who I really am that I feel bad/guilty or upset about it and I might actually change something about the way I do things. It's easy to ignore the "little sins" and pretend they didn't happen.

Sigh. A calm and easy life seems a long way away right now. Praying for strength, wisdom and that I will feel convicted enough by my own sins to confess them and actually change my behaviour. Maybe it's just me, but I find that it's way too easy to skip over the confession part when I pray....

When something unexpected happens....

....that is potentially life direction changing, what do you do?

At the moment, we are in this situation. Presently I'm coping by going into denial. That will be OK for a while but sooner or later I will have to address what's going on and deal with it. Well, we as a family will have to address it. Big changes are involved. Financially I am unsure about it.

Well, I guess the obvious answer is to pray. And I have been doing that. Chris and I are reading from Proverbs at the moment so requesting wisdom is high on our prayer list.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Muppets

Thought we hadn't seen quite enough of Beaker lately...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How to tune a trumpet?

We have added a new instrument to our household. Aidan is now learning the trumpet at school. So far he seems interested, but the practising can be painful to listen to at this beginners' stage. Playing in a jazz band, a stage band, or even the fledgling school band, seems light years away.

I would love to know how to tune a trumpet. I have absolutely no idea when it comes to this sort of stuff. As a piano player and in a previous life, a xylophone player, I have never had to tune an instrument before. I don't think it sounds right but can anyone tell me if I have it right that an E on the trumpet is not actually the same as an E on the piano because a trumpet is a Bb instrument? When he is playing what he says is an E on the trumpet, it is sounding like a G on the piano....

Scary 70s fashion #3

Yep...low on blogging ideas here....

But I am amused that these shirts were marketed for "action people" that are "always on the move." I don't think Bob, Paul or Steve look like they are about to go out and do a triathlon, or play a hard game of football.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Work is wearing me out...

I feel unhappy saying this. Usually work energises me. I love sharing ideas, trying new things, thinking about what's the best approach to helping this family and which other one would work best for that one.

Not at the moment. I feel exhausted. Today I waffled around in a case discussion and felt really stupid. I had to write my notes about the case on a whiteboard which is very difficult when you are left handed. I kept smudging what I'd written so nobody could actually read it from the board when I had finished.

Then I had to go and talk to a bunch of Mums and their little babies about toys, play and infant development. Generally in these talks, one or more of the babies cries. In the past, I could keep on talking without missing a beat or becoming distracted. Not today. Two of them started up and I just lost where I was up to and felt like I couldn't string two consecutive sentences together.

And then I came home and read a bunch of blogs with intelligent thoughts and well reasoned arguments presented on them.

None of that here tonight, I'm afraid. Bed is calling.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

DIY Course

Tonight I am going to a ladies' night at our local Bunnings hardware shop. They will be showing us how to change a washer, fix holes in plaster walls and fix toilet cisterns, among other things. And there will be food and sample bags to take home.

I think I am doing this in reaction to the book I have been reading about what women "should" be doing in their homes (in which fixing toilets and holes in the plaster walls are not mentioned). Maybe it is a bit of an ungodly reaction. But I think it will be interesting anyway.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Movers and Groovers...and school gate politics

This morning was the first session of a motor skills group I am going to be doing at the kids' school for a few of the kids who have been identified with gross motor skill difficulties. I am calling it Movers and Groovers for now until I can think of a better name or get used to this one.

I originally thought it was going to be mainly children from Year 1 and 2. It actually consists of seven kids ranging from Years 1 to 4. Quite a large age range to cater for. I think it is going to take me a few attempts to pitch it at the correct level with modifications for the youngest and the biggest ones.

I'm also going to have to find a spot to run it away from the staring eyes of their peers. Today the rest of the kids were doing a run around the school oval so the quicker runners then became spectators...potentially not an ideal situation for some of the older kids in my little crowd who are likely to be getting a little more aware of or sensitive about their motor skill difficulties. The whole school has a twenty minute outside/gross motor time at the same time as I am running this, so I am not having to withdraw them from classroom learning time.

But we're off to some kind of start. All I was really aiming for today was being able to successfully locate the kids, say hi to them and do a couple of simple activities. I already know three of them from having worked as a classroom helper in Aidan and Liam's classrooms last year. The kids all seem quite nice and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to do the usual OT thing, which is to assess their skills first. That's just going to have to happen on the run. Today I also could do it without the toddler. Aidan is off school sick today so Chris stayed home with Aidan and Rosie while I went down to the school. Next week it will be the Karen and Rosie show with greatly increased potential for things to go off-track.

I used minimal equipment this morning. I brought along a few plastic containers for catching beanbags in, and some paintbrushes for the kids to brush their arms and legs with (increases awareness of body parts, and also let me see if any of them disliked the sensation). I asked the school if they could supply some beanbags. Schools would have heaps of those, wouldn't you expect?

Apparently not. I was given the lid of a copying paper box with about twenty old and sad looking beanbags in it. I was told teachers keep taking them and leaving them in their classrooms. Liam's teacher is a bit of a hoarder. I might ask her if she has some stashed away somewhere.

The first week is always the hardest. I'm sure it will get better as time goes on.

As I was leaving, I came across a group of three Mums at the school gate. I could tell from the tone of their voices that they were complaining about something. I don't like to get sucked into those kinds of conversations, and I only knew one of these mothers very slightly (she also has a kid in Aidan's class) so I just smiled at them and kept going. But I heard enough to hear two of them whingeing about how the teachers spent so much time off class, their poor little kids weren't learning, didn't want to go to school etc etc.

This annoyed me. I find it hard not to get impatient with the carrying on some parents go on with. I knew the Mum of the child in Aidan's class (taught by the middle school assistant principal) had specifically asked for her child to be transferred from another class into his class because she didn't like the teacher her child was originally allocated to. So I thought it was a bit much to hear her complaining about a situation that was actually of her own making.

And I guess I also thought that if they all had half an hour to spend at the front gate whingeing about it, that was half an hour that they could have spent in their child's classroom helping out and getting involved. Maybe they do and I don't know about it....but my experience is that the complainers are generally the ones who don't bother.