Friday 24 March 2017

Troy and I sat down with the kids last night and had a long discussion, so now it’s all out in the open and I can talk about our planned life change here. Which is good, because it’s basically all that is on my mind at the moment! But it’s going to change so much…we’ve decided we’re moving to Ballarat.

Even for us this does feel a bit like it’s come out of nowhere, but we’ve thought about it a lot and there are a lot of factors at play in making this decision. The main one though is the fact that the kids are growing up and so what they need, and what our family as a whole needs, is going to change.

At the moment, it’s a pretty safe assumption that Nicholai and Emma will go to university after they finish high school. Going to uni while living in this house would be really pretty difficult – we are twenty minutes from the closest train station, and although there are buses they are not particularly frequent. Being realistic, the kids would likely have to spend three hours or more a day on public transport just to get to and from school, which sounds horrible. We can’t afford to support them in any meaningful way that would allow them to move out either.

Nicholai’s autism is also a really big factor in our plans – while I absolutely believe that he will, in time, learn to drive and live independently, we can’t put a timeline on him attaining those skills. We have to be prepared to have adult kids living at home.

All of that led to the idea of Ballarat, which has a couple of universities and is a city in its own right, but just on a much smaller scale to Melbourne. When we looked into it there are most degrees that the children might want available at uni, and there are good high schools and primary schools for them to go to in the meantime. There is everything else we might need too. (Like medical and psych care for me, public transport, orthodontists, opportunities for me to work etc etc).

Obviously Troy’s work was the big issue at this point- he’s a partner in the business and we want to keep that, so we had to figure that one out. In the end the plan is that Troy will work from home three days a week, then he will drive back to Yarra Glen and work at the office for a day, stay over at his mum and dad’s that night, work at the office the next day, and then drive home. That will be a lot for him, but he doesn’t mind driving and is pretty confident that he will make it work.

Once we had worked sorted out (at least in Troy’s head, the details have not been worked out with the rest of his work since he is on holidays now) we decided which high school we wanted the kids to go to, then I narrowed our real estate search to houses that fell within their zone borders. We want something that has an office space for Troy to work in (separate from the living areas), four or more bedrooms, walking distance to the primary school and high school, and with room in the backyard for a trampoline. We’ve found a few homes that potentially fit all our criteria and then some – we’re looking at newish houses in housing developments (a soul sucking estate!ack!) and they have multiple living areas and often lovely outdoor living spaces. We’ve even found a couple of five bedroom places, which would give us the ultimate in luxury of every child having their own room, something I never even considered as a possibility.

So after a lot of talking and planning, things are really happening. Troy and I are going to see three houses on Tuesday and then to talk to the bank on Thursday. We had the real estate agent around to look at our house and give his opinion on what we might get for it (which…holy crap, I just about fell off my chair when he told us. I mean, we might have no actual money, but the house can certainly give us money to be traded for goods and services, ha ha ha!)

We talked to the kids about it last night. It went better and worse than I thought really – everyone was shocked, but the three older kids seemed to come round to the idea of it being kind of an exciting adventure and an interesting new way of life for them. My baby little one though…oh, Soren just sobbed. He is so frightened of the whole idea! I think it’s mostly because he’s eight years old, and just doesn’t have the experience to understand what’s going to happen. He sat on my lap and cried into my shoulder- we had to explain that we would all come back and visit Grandma and Pop sometimes, and that they will come and visit us as well, and then we had to reassure him that there is a pool in Ballarat and we can find swimming lessons for him there, and that even if we get a house where he can have his own room he’s still allowed to share with Jericho if he wants to. We showed them the houses that we were going to look at, and then I pulled up google maps to show him where the schools were, and the pool, and the park and the supermarket. He was very quiet for a while, and then his teary little voice said, “There is a pizzeria…we can get pizza from there.” I should have known it would come back to his stomach!

I think he’ll be okay. It’s going to be a huge change and I know there will be a lot that will make all of us anxious or scared or sad at times…but there will be lots of good things too. We just have to take it all one step at a time.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Hockey training has started again, so I had the chance to have a good talk with Emma on the drive. I love my girl so much, and I’m so proud of the way she’s growing up. She’s not having the easiest time of it with her friendships at the moment- there is a bit of mean girl behaviour going on, and although it’s not directed at Emma it still upsets her. She’s a very sensitive girl, and I really wish she could find a kindred spirit.

I had to pick Jericho up from school today after they rang saying he had a stomach ache. They’ve had a couple of kids go home with stomach aches and it turn out to be gastro, so they were being cautious. Jericho wasn’t really sick though, and he felt fine after a little while. He still had to miss his martial arts group, which was a pity since it was the second last lesson.

At least we didn’t have to go back to school and collect Soren later, since it was Wednesday and he had swimming. Although as it turned out Steve forgot to pick him up, and I had a phone call at 4 from Kerrie saying that she had an upset Soren in the office wanting to know who was going to coming to get him. My poor baby! I felt really bad, even though it wasn’t our fault.

Soren’s doing really well at school. His teacher caught me at the end of school yesterday and asked where all the brains came from…what am I supposed to say to that? Perhaps I should have said that they come from me, and that I’m really a genius. Or perhaps not. Anyway, it’s lovely to be told about how clever my children are, and I’m always glad to know that they’re working and learning well. Soren is in a really good place at the moment- he’s happy at school, he’s reading a lot, he loves jumping on the trampoline and making comics and following tutorials for drawing pokemon. I love seeing him so absorbed and involved in his own world.

 

Omg, completely unrelated, but my teenagers are driving me crazy! Their attitude to homework, their appalling table manners and questionable personal hygiene…where did I go so wrong???

Monday 20 March 2017

The Schools Spectacular dance rehearsal today was nothing like I’d imagined. There were about ten different schools there and the children have to learn seven different dances! There was no way I could have done what they were being asked to do today.

My group was a little bit late because we had to wait for various children, but they were just doing the warm up when we got there so it didn’t much matter. The kids worked so hard though, it started at 9.30 and they went until 1.45, with a short recess and lunch break. They were also rehearsing in a gym that had no airconditioning or even fans, so with the humidity today it was like a sauna in there by the end. The kids I drove had been all giggly and chatty on the way in, but they were so tired on the way home that I don’t think anyone said more than two words.

I took my knitting, and after working at it for most of that time…I came home minus about two and a half inches. I basically messed it up so much and got so confused that the only sensible thing to do was give up and start over. So I ripped it back to the toes and managed to catch the stitches there, and next time I knit I can begin the pattern rows again. I think I kept making mistakes because the man teaching them the dancing was counting all the time, and so I would start counting along with him instead of counting my knit stitches. It was pretty sad to have taken all that time to go backwards in my project though.

Troy had his first day of holidays today, and they emailed him already because someone resigned. Really? You didn’t think to do this LAST WEEK???

Sunday 19 March 2017

Another relaxing sort of weekend day today. It was hot though- I know summer was slow to arrive this season (which I appreciated!) but surely it’s time for some autumn now?

At least it was good for getting some washing dry. I’d fallen a bit behind on folding it up and giving it back to the children…Jericho and Soren had eleven and a half pairs of socks between them on their piles.

No one really did a lot of anything today. I was actually out of bed in time to get pancakes for breakfast, which is a rare Sunday thing for me, but my early(ish) start didn’t translate to much action. After I’d finished breakfast I ran a bath and lay in there reading for probably an hour or more. Then I just went on the computer and chatted with Twilight Girl for ages. Troy cooked a barbecue lunch and then I put a bandaid on my blister and sorted more Trofast and sharpened more pencils. We went over to Steve and Jean’s for a bit in the afternoon and brought home fish and chips for tea. After tea there were baths and laundry and doing the bins and that kind of thing…really exciting stuff!

Tomorrow is Troy’s first day of holidays really, so he can just stay in bed. I, on the other hand, have to get up early! The school is going to be part of the Victorian Schools Spectacular, which is a performance thing, and tomorrow is their first rehearsal session. I have volunteered to drive and take other children, and even though usually no one ever actually needs a ride to these kind of things I have ended up with Jericho and five other children! I’m going to take my knitting and just hang out while they’re doing their thing…should be interesting.

Saturday 18 March 2017

I finished crocheting the mermaid tail blanket today. It really is such a ridiculous thing to make, but I do kind of love it. I made an open blanket rather than a cocoon, because I think that’s more practical and I really want the blanket to be loved and used. So the blanket is a really large rectangle, with the bottom edge folded in thirds and stitched together to the fin. It makes for a cosy little spot for feet, and the rest of the blanket can be tucked around the legs if you really want to look like an authentic mermaid. I washed it once it was done, it can dry over tomorrow, and then I can post it on Monday.

A couple of weekends ago, in an effort to be organised, I started sorting through the Trofast tubs that are in the study and I went on with that for a while today. Last time I went through the deep tubs that held all the drawing books and notebooks and colouring books, putting aside some artwork to save and putting all the filled books in the recycling. Today it was the turn of all the things to colour with – in the end I threw out every single texta and crayon, since mostly they didn’t work or were broken or no one actually ever coloured with them anyway. I kept pencils, and sharpened every one before it went back in the tub. So much sharpening that I gave myself a blister on my finger! I have to admit that I couldn’t help thinking that it was rather pointless – Jericho and Nicholai have never liked colouring (I do think being colourblind contributes to finding it a bit unsatisfying!) and Soren seems to have gone off it too. Emma does a lot of drawing, but mostly uses her own pencils. Besides, we have a box of 72 Derwents – why would anyone use the inferior pencils in the Trofast when they could use those?

Troy and I went and did some shopping this morning. A new barbecue cover, a folder to put dvds in, a steering wheel cover for Troy’s car, and some dog food and chicken food. Pretty unexciting. Although the dog food was a grand bargain, we bought one and got six free cans of (matching, fancy) wet food, and we also got a free bag of the food because we’ve bought ten and so that was our reward. Getting a good bargain always makes shopping more interesting!

The kids are all doing pretty well at the moment, although Nicholai dislikes his shaved head and wore a beanie all day, despite the fact it was over 30 degrees.

Friday 17th March 2017

Nicholai went to bed tonight significantly less hairy than he was when he got out of it this morning – it was the World’s Greatest Shave today so he got Troy to shave his head. Troy did it with the clippers with no comb on them, so it’s pretty short. Then, just to go along with the theme, Nicholai shaved his moustache and beard (what there was of them, anyway). He always hates it when I say this, but he is just getting so grown up!

I went on the primary school excursion to CERES today. The place is amazing, and the sessions they ran were excellent. I did the batik workshop first with Jericho’s class. I was hoping I’d have a chance to redeem myself after my terrible batiking result in Indonesia, but sadly we were not using canting, instead we were just using paintbrushes dipped in wax. The Indonesian teacher said that they didn’t use cantings because they run the workshops in an outdoor classroom and with Melbourne cold the wax solidifies in the little spouts too quickly. The children really enjoyed it, although I think quite a few of them were frustrated that their efforts weren’t producing the results that they would hope for – I definitely empathised after my failures! Now I really want to run my own batik class with the children where they can use the cantings. I think they would have fun, and would have a greater appreciation of the process after trying the two difference methods. I’ve found a couple of sites where I can buy a wax melting pot and some beeswax, so I shall have to do some price comparisons.

I stayed with Jericho’s class for their next session, which was about energy. Primarily fossil fuel energy, and I have to congratulate the teacher because she explained about energy transference in such a clear and logical way that I actually feel like I understand it now! They also did some experiments using renewable energy, and attempted to boil a kettle by riding a bike – after everyone in the class had had a turn and they’d only increased the water temperature by 2 degrees, they conceded that perhaps bicycle powered electricity was a little problematic. I didn’t stay with them for the final session, but Jericho said it was about renewable energy and they did things with solar panels and wind turbines I think.

Soren’s first session had been making paper, then he’d done the batik class second. He asked me to go with him for the third session so I did, and we all trotted off down to Merrri creek to see what we could net in the water. The kids had a lovely time (and managed to stay surprisingly dry) and they all found lots of little water bugs of various types. It was really good, the lady who was leading the group was so knowledgeable about everything and was able to identify all the organisms the children collected.

The worst thing about the day was the bus trip home – it took forever and all the kids were overtired and hysterically loud, and then we were late. I sat next to Jericho though, since his friend was sick today, and we collected some pokestops when we were driving slow enough so that cheered him up.

It was Troy’s last day of work today. He’s using some of his leave and is going to take the next four weeks off, which will be good for him. Although he did say something about making a list this weekend of jobs that he ought to complete, so he seems to be planning on productivity.

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Thursday 16th March 2017

WHY are my children so averse to good personal hygiene? What’s wrong with a bath? And shampoo? I do not understand this!

We had a break from the sunshine today with a bit of rain, but it was still quite warm and so pretty humid. Jericho and Soren went to school, but the three-way conferences were being held at the high school so Nicholai and Emma had the day off. We had wanted to go to the conferences with Nicholai, but usually I would be working on Thursday morning and we have had an orthodontist appointment booked in the afternoon for a while, so it wasn’t going to fit in. As it turns out I didn’t work today, but it was a bit late to book in then.

The orthodontist visit went pretty well. Jericho went for an initial consultation to see if there is something we’ll need to do for his teeth, and it’s not too bad. He does have a narrow upper jaw, and his bottom teeth are sitting a bit far back, so the plan is that he will need an expander that also has an attachment to his bottom teeth that will push his lower jaw forward. However this doesn’t need to be done now- although he is ‘dentally mature’ (he actually only has three baby teeth left, which is apparently very surprising in a ten year old) he’s still got lots of growing to do and so there’s no point in acting now. The orthodontist will check him in six months, but he doesn’t think we’ll do anything for another year.

Emmanuella had photos and moulds taken. I think it’ll be kind of fun to get the new plaster mould and be able to compare it to her original one – her teeth were so bad back then. I was able to make her next two appointments for school holidays, which is good since she’s already missed a lot this term. She’ll have a quick appointment in the first week to put spacers in, and then an hour-long appointment the following week to put all the hardware in. At least she knows what to expect this time, and probably half the kids in her class have braces so she’ll be in good company. I’m slightly anxious about how much this is all going to cost, since they didn’t have that paperwork done, so fingers crossed it’s not too outrageous. (Although our orthodontist drives a Jaguar, just to give you an idea of how much we DO pay him!)

I didn’t work today because I’m going on the school excursion tomorrow and using my hours then. The kids are going to CERES, which I had never heard of before this, but it sounds quite fun. I don’t know, I will probably find it a pretty long day, but it should be interesting. Soren told me I can sit next to him on the bus, so I won’t be a sad no-friends, ha ha ha.

We went shopping this evening to get some school clothes in the 20% off sale. Nicholai needed new school trousers, and after he and Emmanuella had tried on their windcheaters and showed us we needed two new school jumpers as well. So annoying that they wear the same size though! Troy also needed a new pair of pants, so he got them there as well since they were on special. Soren also needed a new pair of school shoes- we got him another pair of boots, since my two youngest sons seem to have a pathological aversion to doing up shoelaces and at least with a pair of boots they’re not tripping over undone laces.