Archive for April, 2012

Just Say CC!

April 30, 2012

Possum is 5 years 11 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 9 months

Little Princess is 1 year 4 months (16 months)

 

Today I was initiated into another School-Mum ritual.  The Cross-Country Run!

I don’t know – is a Catholic vs Public thing?  Or were they just not around when I was younger?  Anyway, I have never actually witnessed one of these events before.

Possum was so excited.  They had a training run last Thursday and he has talked of nothing else since.  You know that they have to run ALL around the WHOLE school?  EVERYone runs!  It is SO good.  It is SO MUCH fun.  And he REALLY LOVES it!  And all the parents are going to come and sit on the gutter at the side of the oval and cheer them on!  (Oh, are we?)

Well, you get the general idea.

On Thursday his Kindergarten class and two of the three others all ran together and he came 6th.

On Friday, the scheduled training run did not happen (Boo, hiss.  Guess who was an unhappy bunny.)

But today was THE day and he was stoked.

Much to my horror, after a chaotic morning at home, when I did drop off, I discovered the race started at 9:30.  So, racing home (thankfully DH had got Bandicoot to pre-school), I quickly changed Little Princess, washed some of the masses of yoghurt off her, grabbed a bottle of water for each of us and raced back.  Wish I had have stopped to have some breakfast or even a glass of milk.  Also wish I brought some snacks or toys for her, because she got restless before it was all over.

There were two courses, the longer being the same as the shorter but with another loop on it.  Depending on the age group, they did different numbers of laps of which ever course was required to make up the length.  I believe that the under 5s and under 6s ran 500m but the under 12s did 3 or 3.5km.

IMG_4690Trying to rally a bunch of excited shorties in the marshalling area

All the school was assembled on one side of the oval, ready to watch and cheer.  The age groups were called out, they proceeded to the marshalling area where they were lead through their warm ups (and the parents got progressively more excited as we strained to see who we could pick out).  Then they were called in a motley mass to the starting line beneath the football posts and they were off!IMG_4692And they’re off!

It was very exciting.  I watched with a group of parents from Possum’s class.  We cheered and encouraged (we were close to the end of the race, and some of them needed some encouragement by then – I sure would!)  We also cheered extra loudly for our Kindies siblings and friends.

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Go Possum!!  That’s him in the dark green…  Check out the smiles.

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And Possum crossing the finish line, with that stinky kid in the red shirt just beating him at the last moment.

It really was a fun day.  Well, morning.  Little Princess had really lost her cool by the time the last race was on, and I watched it while we were leaving (but managed to see the big brother of one of Possum’s mates win his age group.)  She wasn’t impressed that she wasn’t allowed to join in the racing.

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And as for Possum, how did he go?  A very impressive 8th!  I was impressed with him.  He was devastated.  He wanted a top 5 win.  He couldn’t work out how he finished so far back (hello?  So far back??) 

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I pointed out that he was racing against the bigger kids from all 4 Kindy classes and some Year 1s, too.  That seemed to make it alright.  At anyrate, all was soon made better – one of his mates helped them all fold their certificates into paper aeroplanes and they had loads of fun together again.             

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(Actually, I secretly was hoping for top 6.  The top 6 make the zone team with 7th and 8th as reserves.  Of course, the under 6s are too little for zone, but that is not the point.)

Maybe next year we should try doing some training.

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April 29, 2012

This is a trial post using offline editing with WordPress on my new Asus tablet.

ANZAC Day

April 27, 2012

Possum is 5 years and 11 months
Bandicoot is 3 years and 9 months
Little Princess is 1 year and 3 months (15 months)

25 April is ANZAC Day.  It is the anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, classified by many as our country’s coming of age.  For those who don’t know, the battle for the beach at Gallipoli was early in WWI.  The allied troops were invading the Ottoman Empire.  Australia and New Zealand were called to send their men as part of the British Empire.  Their first assignment was this landing.  Of course, the location given for the landing was incorrect (not a lot of respect lost for the Colonials anyway), and the troops were all but obliterated.  Those that managed to land were required not much later to withdraw through the same danger.

The really amazing thing from all this is, the Turks consider us brothers because of this battle, despite the fact we were fighting against each other.  How amazing are they?

ANZAC Day is a pretty important public holiday around these parts.  It is treated with more reverence than any other, even Easter or Christmas, or so it seems to me.  Perhaps because it is secular, perhaps because it is recent history, perhaps because the World Wars are so much a part of the collective conscious… I don’t really know.  Whatever it is, I have issues with ANZAC Day.

There are a few things:

  • We were  invading another country.  Not even in the modern so-called liberating army sense.  Straight out invasion.
  • We celebrate a national day when we were fighting for another country?
  • War is plain stupid.  I do not think that these people were heroes.

Of course, these ideas are the kind to get me linched.  But I hate ANZAC Day.

My Dad was a WWII veteran.  He saw active service, even though he never officially left Australia.  (He was involved in several covert missions, in cooperation with American troops against the Japanese.).  Because of this, he did not get the Returned Serviceman’s care of most of his peers.  He did not have the same respect as his brothers-in-law.  He hated ANZAC Day because of the memories it aroused (this was before anyone knew about post traumatic stress.). I hate living through ANZAC Day with him.

For me as a child it was a case of watching silently as my father sank further and further into his demons.   My Mum wasn’t much better.  He always sort of wat he’d the arch on TV, in a. Restless, moody, cloud.  We would have to sit in silence, alongside.  ANZAC  Day was not a day for children.  While we had the day off school, we could not play, or do anything happy or fun.  It was jolly awful.  And it should be.  War is jolly awful.

As a child I would have done anything to be away from that house and that experience.  I remember it with horror.  The horror of what happens to young men stolen by war.

I once asked my father why he didn’t march.  Perhaps I thought the comradery would do him good.  Perhaps I thought it would mean that I wouldn’t need to watch.  He didn’t want to march.  For him, his own memories were awful enough, he didn’t need to share anyone else’s.  Also, many of his platoon were from interstate, so there were not many he knew in our town (probably to share his shame at not serving overseas).

This year we aren’t just dealing with our history, but our kids are in the public domain at school.  Bandicoot came home and presented me with a `beautiful flower’ that he had made at preschool for me.  He is right.  It is a beautiful flower.  It is a red poppy.  (Actually it is a really nice preschooler craft – 4 paper petals, a simple paper centre and a little magnet on the back.)   Possum was to take a long stemmed flower to school for the class wreath.  I forgot.  To be fair, it was the first day back from  school holidays.  To be honest, though, it was not my priority.  I could have walked back to school with a flower, but I used the excuse that it was one of those exercises in disappointment that I am supposed to engineer for Possum’s anxiety.

This year was okay.  We made it through without sticky questions.  They will come.  I am sure that over time it will be one of those issues the kids will grapple with as they try to balance Mum and Dad’s philosophy vs that of their friends.  I have no intention of introducing them to war before I need to do so.  It may come soon.  Bandicoot’s godfather is in the army and may yet tour Afghanistan.  It may not.  In the meantime we will continue to work on instilling principles of kindness, sharing, love, non-judgement and peaceful negotiation.

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I haven’t discussed DH’s childhood experiences.  We haven’t really discussed them, but our attitudes are similar.  I know that his father was a chaplain during WWII.  I can’t imagine he had an easy war.  He is second generation Australian ( I think!  Might only be first…) of German heritage.  I know that many were interned for less, here.

He is Risen!! Alleluia!

April 9, 2012

He is risen, indeed!  Alleluia, Alleluia!!

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The family at the 6am Easter service…


  This post has been linked to Catholic Icing’s Easter Edition of the First Friday Link Up.

It is also linked to Catholic Cuisine‘s Celebrating Easter Link Up.

Loaves and Fishes

April 6, 2012

Possum is 5 years 11 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 9 months

Little Princess is 1 year 3 months (15 months)

Right about now I am looking for an Easter miracle.

In the Catholic (and the Orthodox) tradition(s), the Easter Tridium is a time of prayer, reflection and fasting.  The celebrating happens starting on Sunday (well, after the Easter Vigil on Saturday night).  The Lutherans that I know around here start celebrating on Thursday night.  Many of them have big gatherings and feasts on Good Friday.

Not that one way is right and the other wrong, but when DH and I have grown up in two different traditions, this is one of those times it gets a bit confusing.

As a compromise, I fast, but only by the modern Roman Catholic directions, he eats a little less and we don’t party up big.

Thus, I was making a vege casserole in the slow cooker for dinner tonight.

Enter SIL #1.  Our 19yo nephew from interstate is moving to a city 100km from here.  His Mum (DH’s sister) and his brother have decided to drive him over.  They had planned to stay at our place overnight, but thought that they would arrive late and leave early, leaving catch-ups until next week.

Except that they got a good run on the roads and are now looking at arriving several hours earlier (and require dinner).

Now Enter BIL.  We are still assembling that ginormous cubby house.  DH’s brother has come around after Church today to help with the roof.  He also would like to see his sister, seeing as she is arriving earlier.

And he has a wife (SIL #2 for this post) and four kids.

And none of them fast on Good Friday.

3pm was not a good time to find out about these changes, not when the kids need to eat in 2 hours and the shops are shut!

SIL #2 and I had a discussion on the phone for about 15 minutes as we rummaged in our fridges and pantries.  I think that with pasta and pooling of our salad veges we might just pull it off.  I have found some bread for garlic bread and I will bake a cake (bake a cake on Good Friday???) and hopefully no one will starve.

My pantry is pretty low – catering for fasting days and then going to a function on Sunday, and so was her’s (she hasn’t had a chance to go shopping as she is in the choir at Church), so really that everyone will get something on their plates IS an Easter Miracle.

Holy Thursday

April 6, 2012

Possum is 5 years 11 months

Why is it that Roman Catholics tend to call today “Holy Thursday” and Lutherans, “Maundy Thursday”?  We both know it by both names, but we seem to use a different default.  Strange, huh?

And what on earth does “Maundy” mean?  (Apparently “maunder” is an obsolete word meaning, “to beg”.  There was an old tradition of the monarch distributing money – maundy money -  to the poor on Holy Thursday.  Is that where it comes from?)

But I digress.

Isn’t it amazing how different people can hear the same story and get completely different things from it?

Tonight, at Church, we listened to the story of Jesus washing his disciples feet (John 13:1-17), and we listened to the story of the Last Supper (1 Cor 11:23b-25 / Luke 22:19-20).  These stories left Possum unmoved.

Perhaps it is just that kids are so disingenuous that washing someone else’s feet is no biggy.  And really, the Last Supper is a bit out there – transubstantiation is a rather big mystery for a grown-up, let alone a little mind to even pick it up in the Gospel reading.

However, he came across this page in his Holy Week Activity Book:

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(click on the image to link to the colouring-in source page)

It completely blew his mind!

What is Jesus doing?

Why is he praying?

ALL night?

Who to?

Why would he be scared?

Actually, he was completely thrown by the idea that Jesus could feel scared.  Then we started reading about some of the things that happened that night in our children’s Easter Bible.  He was totally horrified.

We played this hymn as a reflection in the Church.  I always find it a spellbinding video to watch, but this time, so did he.

(Thank you to my darling DH who managed to find this video in about 30 seconds after I had spent hours searching…)

And finally, during the stripping of the altar, as we sang the repetitive, almost chant-like:

Stay here and keep watch with me;

Watch and pray.

Stay here and keep watch with me;

Watch and pray.

At first Possum asked why we were singing such a slow song.  I told him the words so he could understand.  After a moment he joined in, too, with a real sense of horror and awe.

 

I wonder how the Good Friday service will go.

 

Spy Wednesday

April 5, 2012

Possum is 5 years and 11 months

Bandicoot is 3 years and 9 months (Good grief!  He is growing up too fast!)

Little Princess is 1 year and 3 months (15 months)

Yesterday was Spy Wednesday.  If you would like to know more about how this day gets its name, here is a neat explanation.

To celebrate – er, maybe commemorate is a better word – the day, we read the story of Judas from one of our favourite Easter Children’s Bibles:

CCF06042012_00000(This book is Jillian Harker and illustrated by Jane Swift.  I haven’t been able to find it in print anywhere (Paragon), but Amazon do have a few second hand ones listed.)

We also baked Judases.  Well, I baked them.

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I think it would be fair to say that these are definitely NOT Passover friendly:  I thought that the amount of yeast in the recipe had to be a typo!  (No kneading, either.  Very unusual.)  Still, I went with it and I ended up with some lovely, lovely, light, sweet bread.

I did substitute orange zest for the lemon zest as my lemons seem to have disappeared.  They tasted *so*good* that I think I might modify my recipe to use orange in the future.

Apart from the whole Passover/yeast thing (and, if you are Orthodox, the egg, milk and butter thing), I really am left to wonder:  how can food that tastes this decadently good be fasting food?  Not all bad, is it!

Oh, and here is what you are hanging out for:

~~tantalising recipe link~~

Holy Week

April 3, 2012

Possum is 5 years and 11 months

Bandicoot is 3 years and 8 months

Little Princess is 1 year and 3 months (15 months)

So here we are at the pointy end of Lent.  I hope that your Lenten observances have been more “successful” than mine have been.  I don’t know about you, but I seem to get very bogged down and distracted by the day to day stuff of life.  The point of Lent is to try and cut down on that, to realise our reliance on God.  I guess it is always a journey.

I have, however, decided to help our family end with a bang (or “Stick the Landing”, as was our theme at Church last Sunday.)  Here is what we are doing:

Abstaining from meat (with the exception of the scheduled dinner at McDonald’s on Thursday night.)  I am aware that this is my thing, and not theirs, so I will see how we go.  If DH wants to buy meat at lunch time, then I am not putting up a fuss.  Likewise, I will not make Possum miss out on the end-of-term fundraising sausage sizzle at his school on Thursday.  However, I will not be serving meat.

And secondly, I have made up some Holy Week activity books for the kids:

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I was inspired for this brilliant idea by Sylvia over at Orthodox Mom (this is the blog entry where she inspired me.)  There is one for each of the kids, including Little Princess (who loves to draw ALL the time – and on anything.)

Here are a few sample pages:

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I spent way too much of my sleep time trawling the internet to find activity pages for them – colouring, puzzles, mazes, songs, cut and paste (do you like the palm leaves stuck down in front of Jesus and the donkey in Bandicoot’s book in the middle there?)  There isn’t any new content (that I can remember, anyway), but a lot of work getting them sorted.  Each book is a bit different as I tried to tailor them to their current abilities and interests.

They work progressively through Holy Week, with Good Shepherd pages (I wanted to introduce The Lamb), Palm Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (preparing hearts and homes), Spy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and finally Easter Sunday and Beyond.  I have allowed bunnies to appear in the final section – and I think it will keep them going a while – but not before.

The kids are really enjoying the books, but I think the best bit about them is the devotion time preparing them has given me.  I didn’t realise what a wonderful, focussing activity it would be.

Here is to a holy Holy Week for you.