Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The rest of 2014

So since my last catch-up, I have the following things to report.

Fixit has been made permanent at the Rehab Equipment Hire place. He initially applied for a warehouse packer/delivery driver position but his skills and talents were recognised and he was eventually hired as the Warehouse Manager.  He works long, physically demanding hours in a hot dusty shed, but seems reasonably content.  This is a shot of him celebrating his birthday this year, we had a deluxe dinner of sushi, garlic prawns and Peking duck pancakes, and he was very impressed.

IMG_6409 IMG_6392

Cherub graduated to a full-size bike. It is my old mountain-bike with a more masculine set of handlebars.


Cherub's school had another fete.  I made more bunnies for the craft stall, and some cupcakes for the cake stall which suffered somewhat by being transported to the fete in the basket of my bicycle.  I worked pretty much the whole day on the Champagne/Strawberries and Cream stall so didn't really get to wander round much. It was a good day though.

IMG_6670 IMG_6703

My sister was diagnosed with tongue cancer.  She has had the lump removed and had 6 weeks of radiation to make sure.  It's been hard for her, but she's been brave and positive throughout. Her recovery starts now.


During the school holidays my Dad and I rented a house on Phillip Island for a week and took my kids and Bron's kids with us, and while we were there we celebrated Cherub's 11th birthday.  We did a bit of rock and tree climbing too, and some maze-running.

IMG_6169 IMG_6353
IMG_6042 IMG_6234 IMG_6087 IMG_6086

We also visited an a native animal park, where we patted kangaroos and tried to avoid the stroppy emus.

IMG_6346 IMG_6348
IMG_6345 IMG_6344

We helped Bron move into a better house, and I cooked lots of soup for her. Not that she was able to eat much of it before her mouth got too sore, but you do what you can.


We went to the Royal Melbourne Show with friends, and the kids had a great time as usual. Patting baby animals, trying out rides, inspecting yarn-bombed items and getting a showbag. Fun.

image image
image image image image

The boys finished off their soccer seasons, and Cherub was awarded Best and Fairest Player in his U11 team.

We took Cherub to see The Dream by Bell Shakespeare (Climber was off camping with a friend and a whole host of mosquitoes at French Island)  The production was an adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream using only 6 cast members. It was clever and fun, although not as fantastic as some previous Bell Shakespeare plays I've seen. But you know, gave my kid some culture.


And we took both boys to their first comedy gig.  We started them with a master, the brilliant Bill Bailey, and the kids loved it.  It was really fun taking them to see this, sharing with them something we love and seeing them love it too.


Both kids received excellent reports, and Climber received an A for his flute exam.  He also performed a short flute solo as part of Junior Stage Band. It was beautiful.

I missed out on September Craft Camp, but got to sneak off for a night to enjoy a girly-getaway to a deluxe spa resort with Jen and Astrid.


Climber went away on Year 8 camp. He had a very good time, possibly too good a time... (don't ask)


Fixit wasn't granted any holidays over the Christmas January period (grr) but was given a week in early December.  It was nice to spend time with him again, and he certainly needed the rest and recharge..

And summer is on its way, which means we see much less of Basil. So I grabbed a picture while I could, with the portable air conditioner which will soon be working hard as the hot months arrive.


So that is us pretty much up-to-date, although I need to report back on my end-of-year concerts too. Still waiting on a bit of footage and some time to piece it all together.

In the meantime, I'm quite glad to see the back of 2014, what with the various familial health scares and the job stuff with Fixit.  I hope that next year brings health and stability and fun, and wish anyone that still reads here love and happiness for the new year.


High School Musical, Primary School Musical

Unlike our primary school, a school production at high school is a voluntary, additional activity, and in Year 7, Climber, despite having always enjoyed performing at primary school, did not volunteer.  He also had no plans to participate in Year 8, despite the fact that they were calling for tap dancers and the kid has been tapping since he was 4. When I found out about this I encouraged and cajoled (and eventually begged) him to try out, like a good stage mother. It seemed positively sinful from my point of view not to use his skills, and to miss out on a fun-filled opportunity because of either fear of failure or fear of judgement by his peers.  But nothing I said swayed him, and I eventually emailed his Home Group teacher (also the Production Director) to say he could tap and I wasn't sure why he was so reluctant to try out and could she have a word please. The upshot of which was that he did audition and did get the gig, alongside our mothers group friend and fellow tap student Pip.

2014-07-26 22.23.34

The show was an off-broadway musical called Urinetown, and the school put on a great production in July.  All the kids did a fantastic job.  There is something very beautiful and heart-warming about watching a bunch of committed kids giving their all on stage.  I was extremely proud of Climber and Pip.  I am pretty sure that Climber enjoyed himself, although I think early in the rehearsal process when the dancers were separate to the main cast he felt isolated and resentful.  But once it became a performance, he seemed to really enjoy it, and had a great time hanging out backstage with some friends.  I suspect any future high school performances will be based on whether his peer group takes part (it will have to come from the girls, none of his male friends show any signs of wanting to perform), but I'm very glad he gave it a shot this year, and that he persevered and discovered it was worth it.

2014-07-30 show

As for the younger son, his Grade 5/6 production went on in September, and it was fun all the way for my all-singing, all-dancing Cherub.  He auditioned for an acting role and got nothing (unbelievable!) but was not cast down.  He just had a ball singing and dancing as part of his class' routine to Happy ...


... and as part of the boys hip-hop crew to Classic



He was one of the strongest dancers in both numbers, and looked so cool, and so comfortable.  As always the production was heaps of fun, and again, all the kids were so committed and were having such a great time on stage that it was completely happy-making.


Little dude.  I love how much he loves dancing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

And so that was Christmas.


Hello! I'm sneaking in a last-minute post to record our December festivities, and now that I'm on holidays may even sneak in a few more to belatedly fill in some gaps from this year!  But first, before I forget: Christmas.


Christmas just seems to get more crazy every year, in terms of my workload. Some days I romance the idea of a mid-year tap concert for my school, but my students and I probably need the December concert to be a big full-stop (really an exclamation mark!) for the whole year of tap. So I spend November and December in a panic: producing, directing, choreographing and administrating two concerts; all the while trying to keep some headspace free for the myriad of other things that need to be done at the end of the year. What it means is that by the time I'm ready to get Christmas prep started I'm exhausted and having to push through in a slightly hysterical manner.


Anyway. We got the tree done very early in December, and everything else (shopping, cooking, wrapping, card-writing) very, very late, but it did all come together on the day.  I woke on Christmas morning with my heart racing, thinking something important happens today, what is it? and then I thought oh yeah, Christmas and stopped thinking work-work-work and instead tried to relax and enjoy.


The kids came in to our bedroom at a very respectable 7:30am and opened their stockings with us. I do like this time, watching them dig in and find a little something and then show it to us all, then wait patiently for their brother to do the same.  It's quite lovely.


Poor Cherub had to wait before we opened the under-the-tree presents.  Like Inigo Montoya, he hates waiting. But everyone needed to be dressed and breakfasted and ready to leave before the wrapping paper could be ripped away.

DSC_2116 DSC_2120
DSC_2123 DSC_2128

I think everyone liked what they received but I am conscious that Christmas carries the weight of expectation, a feeling that maybe under the tree is something so lavish and wonderful that you'll explode with happiness.  And then there's just the dvd you requested and a smallish lego set. On our income with all these people to buy for there is never going to be a big ticket item for anyone, even when I do let the guilt get to me and spend more than I think I ought to on them.  And I think our kids know this and accept it in theory, but they also carry this memory of being 4-years-old, and receiving a really big box full of Thomas the Tank Engine stuff that blew their mind with excitement.  Christmas does  kind of go downhill after that.  But hopefully after you realise that the fireworks present isn't happening this year, you take stock of the nice stuff you did receive and feel happy and grateful. Hopefully.


DSC_2130 DSC_2127

In the lead-up to Christmas we had a couple of family gatherings, a big get-together with my Mum's extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins galore!) which is always fun, although as it was scheduled on the same day as my Tapkids Concert, I was pretty wiped out during and didn't manage any photographs.  My boys are always pretty popular with the younger kids at these parties and generally walk away with a devoted fan each year.  This year it was 5-year-old Alec who insisted that Climber needed to come to his house for a sleep-over.  Anyway. Here's a photo of my Mum staying with us afterwards.  It was good that she was able to be here, especially to spend time with my sister who is recovering from horrid-but-successful treatment for tongue cancer.


Then there was our Mothers Group Christmas celebration, our 14th! This year we tried the kids out with a 'crap-cringle' which is where instead of buying presents targeted at a specific person you lucky-dip for a gift and if you don't like it you can exchange it for a present that has already been opened. This system favours persons whose name comes out of the hat last, and ruthlessness is meant to be the name of the game, something I'm sorry to say my children displayed shamelessly. This meant we came home with the giant Toblerone and the giant box of Malteasers.  Also the gingerbread house kit, which I think meant we got ALL the sweet stuff.  Good work, Fixit males.


Despite this, my kids have decided that they prefer being bought for over the riskiness and crazy fun of crap-cringles.  They have always been fairly cautious individuals.


On Christmas Day we spent lunch time with the Fixit family, and I really only took one acceptable photo (Pa Fixit handing out presents) and then the afternoon onwards at my aunt and uncle's house with my sister and brother and father and half-brothers and cousins. Didn't take a single shot there, but we had a lovely time and ate some very fine food indeed.


On Boxing Day we headed to Barwon Heads to see some more of my family, and enjoyed more good food and company.  Climber and Cherub were very taken with baby Beatrix.


2014-12-26 21.10.35

And then it was back home to play with the lego and the computer game and to read the new book and eat some of that chocolate, and to rest and stop rushing. It's all good. All that rush and work and effort means there's a busy vibrant Christmas going on round our way, and really that's something to be very happy about. Family, friends, food and fun. Christmas as it should be.  Hope yours was too.