Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Sampling of School

There seems to be a problem right now with Google and Picasa.  Other bloggers are having the same problem and it is preventing us from putting pictures on our blogs.  Hopefully they get it straightened out soon.  In the meantime, let me tell you about our outing the other day; it doesn't involve pictures.

Eliot will be starting Kindergarten next February.  He'll be attending all day on Monday and Tuesday with a half day on Wednesday.  Talking to other moms about school stuff makes me feel like Spencer and I are standing on the brink of a whole new phase of parenting.  It's kind of like being pregnant for the first time with all of the worries and questions about the unknown.  It's exciting, but also a little scary.

Yesterday they had a welcome day for all of the new Kindergarten and Pre-Primary children at Eliot's school.  We were to drop our child off at their classroom at 9:30 and then proceed to the library where we would be given all kinds of information, and a nice morning tea, before returning to collect our child at 11:00.  I wondered how Eliot would react to my leaving him with a bunch of strangers for an hour and a half.  I spent all of Monday telling him all about it.  We had been there once, many  months ago, when we'd visited to check it out, and at the time Eliot had been delighted with a toy pizza he'd seen.  I made sure to remind him of it.  I also made it clear that Peter and I would not be joining him.  He seemed pretty excited about going to school, and even seemed comfortable with the idea that I would not be with him the whole time, but he did insist that Peter would be staying with him.

When we arrived at the classroom, however, his eyes widened.  We were the first ones there and he had to wait in the doorway while the room was readied.  He leaned in over the threshold, trying to take it all in.  When he was finally able to go in I bid him goodbye and see-you-later, but I don't think he even noticed me leave.

Peter and I had a nice time at the morning tea.  We munched on cookies and cupcakes and I chatted with some of the other parents.  When I went to pick Eliot up he was excited to see me, but wasn't in any hurry to leave.  He'd made a little paper Christmas mouse with a candy cane tail (which he ate on the drive home) and told me that he'd been able to play with the toy pizza.  It was a good day for both of us.  Something to make that Day in February just a little less scary.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks

So, this year I forgot about Thanksgiving.  I mean, not totally.  I knew it was coming up, and on Wednesday I remembered that the next day was Thanksgiving.  But by then I'd already planned on having prawn skewers for supper and going out to a movie with girlfriends in the evening.  So, we had prawn skewers for supper and I went out to a movie with girlfriends in the evening.  It's amazing how those American holidays can sneak up on you when you're away.

We may not have had turkey, but we certainly had enough pie.  An American family at church has a tradition of inviting friends over the Sunday before Thanksgiving for a pie night.  Everyone brings a pie to share and we all eat our fill of the one thing everyone loves but scarcely has room for after a large meal.  The boys had less pie that I had expected, which was probably just as well.  They were far more interested in running and playing with all the other children, which I'm certain they were thankful for.

Not having a turkey dinner certainly did not detract from my feelings of gratitude for my health, my husband and children, our extended family, our friends, our comfort and safety.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A little time off

Back when my mother was planning her visit, she and I planned on a few days when I could go on some excursions without the boys.  Partly to give me a little break, and partly to have the boys to herself.  I looked forward to my mom's visit because I was excited to see her, but I think I was equally excited about my 'days off'.  Spencer had planned on taking the boys for a day, but his work schedule has been far too exacting these past few months.

I love my little boys so much, and I love the chance I have at this time to be at home with them full-time.  But it was time for a little break.  I missed them a little during the day, but I found that missing them a bit turned out to be a really good thing.  All the little exasperating things had faded a bit and I felt fresh, rejuvenated  and ready to be patient again.  I also had a really great time.

Here are a few of the things I saw and did:

Kings Park
I had breakfast at a little cafe in the park where I could slowly drink an entire pot of tea, and peruse a book, before starting off on a couple of free walking tours.
On a previous post I wrote that the boab tree isn't native.  Well, I must have been too busy chasing little boys on my previous visits to read the signs very closely, because this time I learned that the boab tree is native to Australia.  The Kimberly in Australia's north west is full of them.  The only other places you find boab trees naturally is in parts of Africa and Madagascar.  Evidence of continental drift.  Fascinating.

Didn't catch the name of this fruit, but apparently the pieces come apart and fit back together just one way.  Aboriginal children play with it like a puzzle.  Pretty cool.

This is called a 'bird flower'.  Can you see it?

Banksia.  Lovely and everywhere.

Peppermint tree.  They have a lot of these throughout the city.

These are called 'black boys'.  

A honey-eater

The crows aren't shy about helping themselves.

Beach Day
I spent an entire day at the beach.  Spencer wasn't sure I could do it.  But I did.

I was the only one on the beach with not just one, but two beach umbrellas.  I got a sunburn anyway.

Two of the beaches had been closed that morning due to shark sightings.  That was okay, because I was only planning on wading in a little.

In the rocks along the shore I found all these cool little fossils.  I took a picture with my foot for scale.  I wonder what they were.

Margaret River
Spencer and I drove down to Margaret River for two days and a night.  

We toured three different caves.

Most of the photos in the caves didn't turn out so well, but this one was worth keeping.  It's a floating table.  The guide told us that it is one of only two in the world that have been discovered, and the other one is in a cave in France that isn't open to the public.  It was pretty neat to see.

Each cave involved hundreds of stairs.

The karri trees are immense.

Getting our feet wet just before sunset.

The tree outside the front door of our B&B sported one of these incredible parasitic plants.  I used to clean house for a guy who grew one of these on a piece of wood on his wall.  This one was at least ten times its size.  Amazing.

The forest was full of these.

The lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin.  We a took a tour to the top.

Cape Leeuwin is where the Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet, so you can see them both.  The tour guide pointed out that the two oceans aren't divided by an arbitrary line on a map.  They are governed by different currents and from time to time you can see them splash up against one another.

A view of the Southern Ocean from the top of the lighthouse.  We also caught a glimpse of a pair of dolphins.

We each took a turn dipping our toes in the Southern Ocean.  It had just started raining but we ran down to the beach anyway.

It was so windy, and those waves came up fast.

So long Cape Leeuwin.  We'll be back.

Happy parents = Happy children

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wild Encounters

While my mom was in town we took the boys on a few little adventures.  We met up with some interesting creatures on the way!
A picnic at Serpentine Falls

Paddling our toes in the water.

Eliot is not drinking the water here, he is rinsing off his face.

As we were leaving, we came across some kangaroos.  This mother had a little joey on board.

At the Fremantle Market the boys got to pet a koala bear.

Yellow Bear got a turn too.

Eliot wasn't shy at all when it came to handling the snake.

Off to our next adventure!

A visit to the aquarium.

Exploring the huge shark tank.

A leafy sea dragon

Spooky jellyfish

The boys also had a chance to handle sea cucumbers and starfish.  It was a very exciting day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween Events

Halloween isn't really a big thing here in Australia.  There's generally no trick-or-treat unless you live in a neighbourhood with a lot of Americans or Canadians.  In spite of that, we had a lot of Halloween fun.  Between the American Women's Club (AWC) Halloween Party, and our ward's Trunk-or-Treat, there was plenty of fun (and candy) to be had.  Get ready, this post has heaps of pictures.

Christopher Robin reminding Little Sheriff to stay in character.

The morning of the AWC party.  Eliot helped with last minute preparations on his Christopher Robin shoes.  He actually did a really good job handling those little pins.  No injuries.

The only picture we have of Peter in his cute little Sheriff's hat is this one where he's angrily tearing it off.

There was a bouncy castle just inside the party's entrance.  Both boys climbed in for a little bounce.  Notice Peter's position.

Next, Eliot was off to have his face painted.

Peter was still hanging out in the bouncy castle.  Hadn't moved.

Eliot entered the colouring contest.

Peter was still enjoying the bouncy castle.  Same spot.

Eliot checked out the climbing equipment.

Peter was still in the bouncy castle.  I finally dragged him out because it was getting hot.

He coloured a little, but preferred organizing the bucket of crayons.

Snuggles with Noni.

There was a sink with a nifty stool which Peter enjoyed.

Eliot took his turn at the piƱata and joined in the rush for candy.

Little Sheriff kept a wary eye out for rabble-rousers.

Eliot didn't waste any time getting into that candy.

Both boys crashed after the party.

We didn't get around to carving a pumpkin last year, so this was Peter's first Jack-o-Lantern.  He was pretty impressed.

The ward's Trunk or Treat party was held the Saturday after Halloween.  The boys were happy to don their costumes a second time.

Pin the nose on the pumpkin.  Peter got pretty close.

Both Peter and Eliot ate their way through the Trunk or Treating.

There were plenty of throwing games where Eliot could show off his skills.  I don't know if you can make it out in the picture, but he has just tossed a rubber bat that's about to land squarely in the waste paper basket.

Peter was totally sold on Halloween.

The boys weren't the only ones who dressed up this year.  Spencer and I were invited to a costume party.  I went as a rag doll (Eliot couldn't stop looking at my face) and Spencer dressed up as the star of a Kafkaesque spy show from the 1960's called 'The Prisoner' (search 'Patrick McGoohan as the Prisoner' in Google images.)

All in all, we had a splendidly spooky Halloween.  Hope you did too ;)