Monday 24th October 2016

Benita, Cam and the kids came to visit yesterday and stayed last night and it was lovely! It was so good to have visitors that it was even worth the crappy nights sleep I had on the couch! They arrived just after lunch on Sunday and we mostly just hung out at home. Sullivan was very impressed with Jericho and Soren’s collection of Lego and weaponry, and Winnie has Emma wrapped around her little finger so she had fun too. Dempsey seemed to think it was great that we had a dog inside for him to pet, and apart from that he just liked walking around and smiling at everyone.

Dempsey is the cutest baby in the world. I wanted to keep him. I asked Jericho and Soren on the way home from school today if they thought we had room in our lives for a lovely baby and they said we did, and Jericho suggested his name should be Simon. I somehow don’t think their dad would agree with their assessment, ha ha ha!

They stayed last night, and it seemed easiest to put all of them in our room and have Troy and I take the lounge. Sullivan and Winnie slept on the little camp beds and although Dempsey had his port-a-cot he ended up sleeping in bed anyway. It worked out pretty well though, it meant our kids just went to bed like normal (which they had to, because they had to get up for school this morning) and settling their kids probably went better with them in one room than it would have if they were having a sleepover in a room with the big kids.

Ben and Cam and the kids came when I dropped Jericho and Soren off at school, so they could have a little look around. This also filled in time until the chocolate factory opened at 9am, since that was our next stop! I went with them and ate a brownie which left my stomach feeling like it was going to explode, but was very delicious all the same. The kids were just cute and adorable! And funny, I laughed a lot when Benita pointed out to them that they could watch people making chocolates through the window and Winnie took one look and then looked straight back at the bowls of sample chocbuds she’d just come from, saying, “Yeah…let’s go back to eating!”

Apart from it being delicious, the chocolate brownie also had the advantage of making me so stuffed that when I went to Costco (after saying goodbye to our visitors in the chocolate factory carpark) I was not tempted by anything and so I was able to do my shopping and leave without buying cookies or snakes or cinnamon rolls or giant marshmallows. So that was a singular experience.

By the time I got home I was so tired I couldn’t even put the shopping away. The rest of the day has been nothing more than a herculean effort to keep my eyes open.

Saturday 22 October 2016

I wonder how long the wonder of being able to go somewhere with Troy without having to bring the children with us will last? Because I think it’s been a couple of months that we’ve been willing to leave them home together while we go and buy something for lunch or tea, and I’m still kind of surprised by it every time. It has been fourteen years that we’ve had children though. I also wonder if the fact that we had children so quickly factors into this, because there really wasn’t that much time before they came along for us to be just a couple. I met Troy in April 2000 and Nicholai was born in February 2002, which is a pretty quick turnaround.

It was such a cold and rainy day today. I don’t mind this at all, but weekend days when the little boys can’t go outside on the trampoline are always a bit of a let down for them. They were pretty good though, played with toys and paid poker chips and did whatever. Nicholai and Emma did the same thing, it was all pretty relaxed today.

Jericho let me put his hair in a ponytail this morning, just to see if we could. It’s been getting a lot longer, and although sometimes he says he doesn’t know what he’ll do with it when it is really long he isn’t interested in getting it cut any time soon. We were actually able to put the top of it back in a ponytail this morning and although he didn’t leave it in, he seemed pretty pleased with the look. He really does have good hair!

Friday 21st October 2016

I can’t believe it’s Friday again already, and we’re nearly at the end of October. I’m so glad that it’s the weekend though, I’m really tired and kind of desperate to catch up on some extra sleep.

I spent a lot of time up at the school today, because of the puppet program. I really don’t know about all that – I’m sure that the teachers and the kids will manage to pull it all together in the end, but the process has been quite confusing. And if I’m confused, when I’m an adult and I sit through each lesson twice (once with Jericho and once with Soren), I can only imagine how the kids feel! However they have started to develop the stories they are going to perform and the characters that their puppets are going to need to represent, so that’s a step forward. There is going to be a puppet making workshop on Wednesday to sort out bodies for the kids’ puppets, so I’m going to take my sewing machine and bags of fabric up to school and join in with that.

Emma played hockey for school today, and she had a great time. They played and lost three games, but she said it was really fun and they got a lot better with each game. We had bought her a hockey bag for her birthday but decided to give it to her early so she could use it today. It’s purple, so she was happy with it. I’m happy with it because it will keep her stick, shin guards and mouthguard all in one place instead of being strewn around my kitchen for the duration of the hockey season like it was this year.

Jericho did the higher level literacy test today and scored in the 94th percentile for year seven, which was rather clever of him considering he’s actually in grade four. He was definitely proud of himself, which he should be – he even sent me a text from his teacher’s phone to tell me his result. I told him that I was proud of him for his result, and also proud of him because he decided to go ahead and give the test a try even though he felt intimidated. I am really happy that he was able to work through his anxiety about this and have that measure of success at the end. He needs to know how bright and intelligent he is, and he also needs to know that he CAN do things that scare him and that we will all praise the effort as much as any result.

I brought two extra boys home from school this afternoon, which made for a pretty noisy house. Unfortunately it was raining and everyone was stuck inside, although they managed to entertain themselves pretty well with electronics. I really suck at arranging playdates for the kids, so at least I’ve done this one for Jericho and Soren and I can stop feeling guilty about it for a while.


Some puppy love at school with Luna and Angus

Thursday 20 October 2016

I spent an hour and a half this afternoon working with Jericho to create a basic body for his puppet and it was horrible. I feel like my spirit is huddled up in the foetal position, crying quietly in a corner. He just makes it so hard. He’s desperate for it to be ‘good’, and nothing is good enough for him. I don’t know whether working on things with him helps him, or reinforces his belief that he ‘can’t do it’. It didn’t help today that Soren got really upset because we haven’t really done anything about his puppet and he felt like Jericho was getting all the attention. Unfortunately this was actually true, but as I explained to Soren we could work on Jericho’s puppet because I have talked with his teacher and we know what the performance story is going to be, so we could dress his puppet accordingly. Soren’s teacher has been sick, so we need to wait for her to come back and choose the storyline for their performance so we can decide how to dress Soren’s puppet. Soren understood and accepted this, but he really had been so upset that I still felt awful about it.

Bloody puppets. If I ever think that a school project like this sounds fun and I should help with it I hope someone hits me over the head and stops me.

Emma will get to play hockey for the school tomorrow. Originally they didn’t have enough people, but the girls who had signed up went around and basically badgered all their friends until they pulled together a team. Although they had training today, and Emma is the only one who has actually played hockey and knows the rules. And that includes the coach.

Teaching was a little frustrating this morning. We were doing a game, and they tend not to take those seriously and just mess around. I can understand it, but the fact is that the games are chosen deliberately as a learning tool, and either they actually play the games properly and learn what I need them to, or we don’t do games at all.

The little kids practised their Lima Monyet song and made monkey masks, which they will wear when they perform at assembly. It’s going to be adorable.

Wednesday 19th October 2016

I just finished my second two puppets. They are adorable! Much cuter than the first two I did, since these ones have smaller eyes and their heads and faces are much less wonky. I don’t think I’ll make any more (I don’t actually know what I’m going to do with the four I already have) but they are really fun to do. These ones are called Seaweed and Juniper. I still have to do the strings on them to make them actual puppets, as opposed to just weird looking dolls, but I think I have to look up instructions for that part.

I did a lot of exercise today. I rode the exercise bike in the morning and went for a walk with Jean in the afternoon, and a walk with Troy after dinner, so that was all good. I have to admit that I’ve really struggled to keep working on losing weight since stopping Lite and Easy. I haven’t regained any, I’ve actually lost a tiny bit more, (and that’s good, obviously) but I still have so far to go. And it’s not going to happen without some real effort in regards to what I eat and how often I move.

I find it a difficult topic to talk about actually, even though it kind of preys on my mind quite a lot. I think I find it embarrassing, because weight is such a loaded issue – I struggle a lot to not think about being overweight as being a personal failing on my part. Saying “I am trying to lose weight and not being very successful at it” really feels like I’m saying to myself that I’m lazy and unmotivated and have no self-discipline. Which is really pretty harsh, and certainly no reflection of how I feel about other people!

Anyway, while I am eating too many snacks I’m actually eating better overall. Breakfast is cereal and yoghurt (cereal is weighed out), and most lunchtimes I make up a plate with a combination of some of – carrots/ cucumber/ fresh fruit/ dried fruit/ nuts/ egg/ wholegrain crackers. Tea is tea, whatever, I could do better there.

Two things I have found helpful in my efforts recently have been weighing my cereal (a ‘serve’ is actually much less than you’d think) and weighing myself every morning. I had my doubts about that, since it seems like inviting trouble for someone as generally obsessive about things as I am, but it’s been good to keep reminding me to try and watch my eating, and seeing the numbers and how they fluctuate every single day kind of takes away their power to sting. I also use the Hello Kitty divided plate for my lunch – vegetables in the biggest space, fresh fruit in the next one, crispbread or pretzels in the next one down, and nuts/egg in the smallest space. It’s pretty effective for helping with portion size.

And all this is so boring! I hate talking about weight and diet and exercise, and here I am rambling on about it. Blah. I think I’ll stop now.

This will probably gross dad out, but here is Luna helping with the dishes after spag bol yesterday, lol.

This will probably gross dad out, but here is Luna helping with the dishes after spag bol yesterday, lol.

Tuesday 18th October 2016

I just went and took Nicholai’s ipad away from him, since he was using it when he was in bed and supposed to be asleep. I found him out because our internet started going really slowly and when I looked around for a cause, what did I see but something missing from ipad jail… I went to his room and asked him where his ipad was, and he very reluctantly handed it down to me from the top bunk.

It makes me so mad! And honestly, I really don’t know what to do about his continual disobedience with this. Do I just throw up my hands and say that it’s impossible to enforce and so he may as well do whatever he wants? Or do we just crack down even harder? I don’t know. I mean, we’ve given him plenty of chances, but he just continues to break the rules at every opportunity!

Now I’m actually too irritated by that to remember what I was going to write about! Today had some crazy weather, it poured with rain and there was a hailstorm, all interspersed with periods of brilliant sunshine. I knitted more things for my puppets and did house stuff – not exciting.

I spoke with Jericho’s teacher this afternoon. They’re doing that online testing again, and she wanted to tell us that she scored his test (which was the grade 5 one rather than the grade 4 one anyway) and he aced it. She said she’d really like to actually see where he was (as opposed to just ‘above this level’) and she asked him if he’d be willing to try the year 7 test. We both reassured him that it would be just for fun and there was absolutely no pressure on him, and that part of it was just to help his teacher know what else she could be teaching him, and he said he’d consider it. It would be good if he did, his anxiety makes the testing process very stressful for him, and it’s been difficult in the past to actually find out what his level is. With tests that continue on until you reach the level of your ability, his teacher has generally had him go through it until he’s reached a level above what is expected, but not pushed him too far beyond that because he gets so anxious. It would be really great if he gave it a go this time, just to have that experience and begin to realise that these tests are about finding out what he knows, not about making him feel like a failure.

Emma has signed up to play school hockey on Friday, but they still need four girls to make up a team. I’m really hoping that they get them! She loves her hockey and I think she’s missed playing, and it would be great for her to have a chance to play with some new girls and play for the school.

Monday 17 October 2016

Emma’s passport came today. One step closer to our trip! I really have to do some serious planning for it, thinking about what we want to do and see and photograph and buy. Buying is more about what I want for school, rather than souvenirs, so it will be better if I put together a list before we go so that I don’t forget things. Photography too is about things that are useful in my school lessons – forms of transport and shopping and street life and temples are topics that I often revisit with the children, and they have really connected with the photos I took last time.

I need to save up some money too. Em’s plane ticket was a bargain and we’ll do it cheap once we’re there, but I’ll still be paying for everything x2. And the latter half of the year is a bad time for us financially, with four birthdays (Emma and Troy in November, me in December and Soren in January) and Christmas, as well as having to buy all the summer clothes we need for the change of season, and then the back-to-school expenses in January.

I am getting more excited about going as it gets closer. It’s different to last time – this time I am more mentally healthy, for one, but it’s also making a big difference that I know what to expect this time. Last time I was terrified before we left, and absolutely not prepared for just how alien I would feel once we got there. I wanted to love it, and when at first I didn’t I felt as though everything negative I’d ever thought about myself was true.

I also think that last time I was just not ready to leave the children for so long, and to go so far away. I knew that they were perfectly safe at Steve and Jean’s and would be wonderfully taken care of and have a good time, but when it came down to it I missed them so badly and it really felt wrong to have left them.

I think it will be different this time. I’m more prepared now for how I’ll feel once I get there, and even though I did love it by the end last time, I’m not putting the same pressure on myself to create some kind of perfect travel experience. It’s going to be amazing, and sometimes I will love it and sometimes I will hate it, and that’s okay.

I’m better prepared to leave the children too. They’re older now, and less emotionally dependent on me. They’ll also still have Troy here with them, and knowing that they still have their dad makes me feel way more confident in leaving them. Plus, I’ll have Emma with me!

Travelling with Alyssa is going to be really different, but I definitely feel good about that. Being with someone who can speak the language and is both enthusiastic and relaxed about the whole trip is going to make things a lot easier. She’s confident about navigating her way around and being able to work things out as we go, which is reassuring.

I admit I’ve been very apprehensive about how annoying she’ll find me, but I’ve warned her very plainly that I’ll be scared, and I’ll cry when I get tired and I won’t want to speak Indonesian and I will probably eat mostly nasi goreng, and she still says she wants to go with me so that’s good! I’ll be braver anyway, having Emma there – I always try to be a good example to the children, and I don’t want her being afraid.