Archive for the ‘Family Life’ Category

Pyroluria

March 18, 2015

Possum is 8 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 6 years 8 months

Little Princess is 4 years 2 months

Well, it has been quite a time around these parts. 

Sadly, although I was becoming mobile in my last post (in August!), I still had a number of months of incapacitating pain ahead.  In January it looked like I was finally experiencing the carrot of remission from the pain.  (Really, any condition that is accompanied by words like “remission” and “mortality” are not things I want to have too much to do with.)

Instead of the hoped for 10 year window, I had less than two months of freedom from near continuous joint pain.  On the up side, although it is rather, um, unpleasant, I do have movement now.

But really, that is just the tip of the crazy iceberg.

Poor Bandicoot has spent his life with gut pains.  The doctors have done various tests over time, but found nothing.  One day I said to him, “You don’t talk about the pains in your tummy any more – have they gone away?”  He turned to me and said, “The doctors think I make it up, so I will just have to put up with it.  There is no point in me telling anyone.”  Doesn’t that just break a Mumma’s heart?

So when I discovered a naturopath who had helped some friends with similar issues, I figured I had nothing to lose.

The truth is, I am a bit on the fence with natural medicine.  This was all a big leap of faith for me.  However, she is a former biochemist and pharmacist, so I felt she would take the science seriously.

The good news is that Bandicoot was suffering from a parasite.  It was diagnosable with a standard test (ordered through my doctor, *ahem*) and relatively easily treated.  He hasn’t had the pains since.  I cannot imagine how much better that must make him feel.

The down side is that he was also diagnosed with pyroluria (or pyrrole, or krypropyrrole or, well, there are another couple of older names, too), which is a metabolic disorder.  Possum and I have also been subsequently diagnosed.

This is managed by a restricted diet and supplements of the nutrients our bodies are not metabolising from food.  Apparently we will all be new people.

I can’t wait.

Because right now, I am an exhausted wreck.  Some of the dietary changes did not agree with us and we had family wide “failure to thrive” – as good as it sounds.  It looks like it will take a lot of tweaking to find what works for us.  And in the meantime my life is food.  Every meal, every snack requires thought and recipe searching.  Do you know how often growing kids eat??

There is, of course, some kind of humour in this.  I learnt to cook as a preschooler.  (Not that we were called “preschoolers” back then.)  I read recipes for inspiration, but I really don’t know when the last time was that I actually followed one to cook.  I don’t like being that boxed in.  But now that my pantry is filling with all sorts of things I have never used before (chia, sorghum…) and so many of our staples have disappeared (tomatoes, ham), it seems I need a recipe to pour a glass of water.

I am so glad we decided to use a packaged curriculum this year to cut down on planning and recording time for me, although we had thought we would use that time for some other projects we had planned, not trying to work out what is for dinner.

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What is this strange blog I am reading?

August 24, 2014

Possum is 8 years 3 months

Bandicoot is 6 years 1 month

Little Princess is 3 years 7 months

Hi!  Remember me? ~waves~

We have had a busy and tough year this year.  Bandicoot joined our homeschool, with all his quirks and vivacity.  It has been a challenge for me to step up to the plate, especially as nothing I had planned or had previously used with Possum worked with him.  Really.  Nothing.

I have spent a lot of time in tears and in prayer.  I would probably have done better to do those in the other order.  I have also spent too many waking hours reading about kids like him and what works for them.  Some ideas I just cannot implement because of my personality and skills, and some I can.  Some of them sound fantastic and do not work at all when I try them.  Some of them sound ridiculous and work a treat.  It has been a steep, steep learning curve, and I am just beginning.

At the same time, Possum and Little Princess continue to grow and change as well.  Nothing ever stays the same with kids.  There is a lot of adapting required in parenting!

Thankfully, we are coming out of that four months or so of the year that I always find the most difficult – from approximately two months before Possum’s birthday until two months after Bandicoot’s.  It seems to always coincide with mental and emotional growth spurts for them, leaving us all unsettled.

This year it has coincided with a health upset for me.  I have had a rather significant “arthritic flare-up” in my knees.  We do not know what caused it.  We do not know if it will happen again.  We do know it is less than pleasant.  There has been extreme pain involved, a lot of fear as I was tested for any number of things, and a LOT of inconvenience as I have been almost crippled for weeks or months at a time.  (For quite a while I could barely move from bed to lounge, let alone get down the two steps at the front of the house to go outside.)

With all of this going on, blogging has fallen down the priority list.  Also, it is hard to be positive or inspiring when life is full of tears, pain and fear.  It is hard to think of the bright side when your head is under water.  And there are probably a lot of times in the last few months that I would prefer to forget, rather than have recorded and shared with you.

But now, I hope, things are a little better, a little more settled.  Now, I hope, I have grown a bit more.

Now I hope, I will get to share some of our adventure with you again.

What do you do?

April 15, 2014

Possum is 7 years 11 months

Bandicoot is 5 years 9 months

Little Princess is 3 years 3 months

What Did I Do Today?
What did I do today?
Today I left some dishes dirty,
The bed got made around 3:30.
The diapers soaked a little longer,
The odor grew a little stronger.
The crumbs I spilled the day before,
Are staring at me from the floor.
The fingerprints there on the wall,
Will likely be there still next fall.
The dirty streaks on those window panes,
Will still be there next time it rains.
Shame on you, you sit and say,
Just what did you do today?

I nursed a baby till he slept,
I held a toddler while she wept.
I played a game of hide and seek,
I squeezed a toy so it would squeak.
I pulled a wagon, sang a song,
Taught a child right from wrong.
What did I do this whole day through?
Not much that shows, I guess that’s true.
Unless you think that what I’ve done,
Might be important to someone,
With bright green eyes and soft brown hair,
If that is true…I’ve done my share.

Author Unknown.

Coconut Goo

August 7, 2013

Possum is 7 years 3 months

Bandicoot is 5 years 1 month

Little Princess is 2 years 7 months

 

Things have not been “normal” around here.  Sadly, on the weekend DH’s Dear Father passed away, somewhat unexpectedly.  We have had an upset time.

Formal schoolwork is on the back-burner.

Today I thought I would try something fun for the kids.  When my idea of the zoo was flatly rejected by Possum and Bandicoot (you can’t ride your bike at the zoo), I decided to try this instead:

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Coconut Goo!!

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The recipe is really simple.  I got it from the Creative Playhouse blog.  I will write it here, because it drives me crazy when recipe links disappear over time:

1 cup coconut milk

2 cups cornflour

Yup, that’s it.  Mix it up.  Play with it.  Squeeze it, goop it.  It started slimy and quickly turned into a crumbly dough.  It did that groovy cornflour thing where it is solid, but turns gooey when you squeeze it (okay, so it is probably something a whole lot more scientific to do with saturated solids and fine particle size).

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Gotta love three little ones playing together happily outside.

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Bandicoot made ice flows in Antarctica.  We had to lament the lack of plastic penguins in our home (and not for the first time, either).

Once it got too crumbly for our liking, we decided to add water and make runny, gluey, goo.

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Tee hee hee!  Loads of gooey fun.

It made a terrible mess, but it cleaned up very easily, even from our clothes.  AND it left our skin feeling so soft!

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St Joseph, Pray for Us

June 12, 2013

Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most strong, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.

Tonight I have started a novena to St Joseph.  We are trying to work out what to do about our home – extend? How? Move? Where?  We have been looking for homes and losing lots of sleep.  It is all so confusing and there are so many other decisions intermingled with this one.  It is so different to be moving a family than when it was just us.

Technology

March 29, 2013

Possum is 6 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 8 months

Little Princess is 2 years 2 months

 

DH is currently working interstate for a month.  Despite being in the IT industry, working remotely does not happen very much in his work.  Who’da thunk it?

So…. being a homeschooling family and all, we are spending four weeks in a unit in the National Capital.

This has many wonderful perks to it, especially when we have a daily food and expenses budget.  (I am impressed.  Years ago, even ‘though the budget was the same, it was tough to stay within it.  Now, with five of us, not only does it significantly aid the supermarket budget, but it also lets us eat out fairly often.  I must have learnt some housekeeping skills along the way!)  There are so many museums and attractions to enjoy, as well as lots of outdoor space.

Internet access is not one of the perks.

We can have internet access for $10- per day.  Yup.  That’s right. $10- per DAY.  Which makes it approximately $300- for our time down here.  We do need some internet for DH’s work and for Possum’s schooling, but we are trying to just do it in spurts as much as possible.

This is not good news for blogging.

It should be fine.  I love Microsoft’s Live Writer.  This is what I use at home.  It does have some flaws, ‘though.

  1. It does not have an android equivalent, not that typing on my tablet is my preferred way of going
  2. It does not have a Windows 8 equivalent, which means that we cannot load it on the “school laptop” (our newest baby)
  3. It does nasty things on DH’s laptop, apparently.  Well, not Live Writer itself, I don’t think, but all the other stuff that it now downloads with it.  Remember all those missing posts from January 2012?

So that means, no LiveWriter.  No blogging offline.  No easy posting of pics.  (Oh, and just to make it even more fun, we do not have Office on the school laptop, and I can’t cut and paste on the tablet, so writing in another programme and copying it over is pretty tough going, too.)

What a nuisance.

Hopefully I will be able to keep you up to date with all our exciting happenings in SOME way.  Hopefully.

Nature Study–Close Up

March 7, 2013

Possum is 6 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 8 months

Little Princess is 2 years 2 months

 

One of the tricky things I am finding with homeschooling is to fit in all the “extra” subjects.  You know, anything that isn’t one of the Three Rs.  It seems, in an attempt to keep up with (or ahead of, because there is always the extra pressure when homeschooling) the best students in our local schools, I am unintentionally NAPLANing Possum.

For example, we are currently working on a Reading Recovery Level of 16.  Compared to our local schools, this is a bit slow.  Of course, nationally, this is about a year ahead of where the average lies.

Realising this, and realising that Possum was not having as much fun learning as either of us would like, I have decided to take a step back and put a big effort in to getting the other subjects covered.

Our main “curriculum” (not that we are covering it to the letter) is Mater Amabilis.  I love the way it is done.  It works with our interests, pushes us just enough in the other areas and allows room for Possum to keep working ahead in Maths if he likes.  It is also quite easy to “Australianise”.

In Level 1B (equivalent to our Year 1), the main Earth Science focus is on water.  Specifically, right now, we are looking at waterways.  As a part of this, we need to choose “our waterway”, which is the one that we will use as our study focus and visit eight times during the year.

Today we made our initial visit.

We sat with our eyes closed to listen and smell and feel the air.  We looked.  We discussed who uses the river just there and how.  We recorded various observations and sketched interesting things.

 

And two of the three kids ended up in the river.

(This lead to the observation that the wet moss on the rocks was slippery.  It also lead to tears and extra washing for me.)

I mustn’t have been too surprised.  After all, I did have a towel in my bag.

 

Now I find the timing of this particular incident funny.  Just today I got this article in my in box from one of the blogs to which I subscribe.  I have to laugh:

Do you remember how much fun field trips were as a school student? I can only imagine how NOT fun they must have been for the adults. The constant worry of losing kids, the noise and chaos, shushing kids when tour guides spoke, slowing kids down, hurrying kids up – it had to feel like herding geese. Home schooling field trips seem to be a little more relaxed for us as teachers and parents.

and:

Can you imagine taking a group of kids to the ocean for the day as a field trip?

Hmm.  I can imagine.  Do you think there is a reason why my kids still haven’t been taken to the fantastic tidal pools on the rock platform at one of our (relatively) local beaches?

I Heart Camping

February 28, 2013

Possum is 6 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 7 months

Little Princess is 2 years 1 month

 

Tonight it is raining.  It isn’t torrential, as it was last weekend, but it is certainly steady.

And in that little, selfish corner of my heart I am so relieved.

I haven’t actually been praying for rain; I wouldn’t let myself do that; but I certainly have been hoping.

You see, we are meant to go camping this weekend.  Camping.  You know, where you spend ages assembling that temporary home, have kids walk muck all over the beds, sleep on the ground, get woken too early…  THAT camping.

The thing is, I don’t really like camping.  I think the worst bit is, there is just so much STUFF.  I mean, like, really, LOTS of stuff.  I am the Mum who carries one of those mega Ikea bags when I go to the park as it is (yes, be prepared, you never know what will happen), so you can just imagine how much stuff I need to go camping.

It isn’t that I hate camping.  I used to hate camping.  Before that, I used to love camping, but then I had a terrible – really TERRIBLE camping experience, so I hated camping.

That one was when I was a Uni student in Canada.  A whole bunch of us decided that we would go camping at the end of winter term.  It would be spring then, so nice for camping, right?  There was a large group of us planning to go to Algonquin National Park.  Of course, at the last minute, all the locals pulled out and left us foreigners in for a treat.

I had the added bonus of being the lone remaining girl in the group of five intrepid campers.

It was cold.  It was miserable.  The lake was still frozen.  We had had our heads filled with stories of bear attacks.  And the guys we were with decided to tell me that there were no loos, so we had to dig when we needed to go.  Not that we had a spade.  Oh they had some fun with that little gem for the first three days.  (Yes, we camped FIVE nights like this.)  It was so cold and windy that whoever slept on the side of the tent spent the evening blown onto the person beside them and the next day in the car with the heater running trying to warm up.  Fortunately we rotated that position.

It really was awful.  Very pretty, but really, really awful.

So I avoided camping quite happily for many years.

And then I hooked up with DH.

Now DH is a wonderful bloke.  In most ways I am so blessed that I have him.  But when it comes to family holidays, I really think I married the wrong man.  To be fair, he probably married the wrong lady, too.

For example, my idea of a fun, family holiday involves a house at the beach, the car staying in the garage from when you arrive until when you need to go home again.  A big night might involve the local pizzeria.  DH thinks a 9 hour flight and backpacking through Asia would be fun with the kids. *ahem*

Now, DH and his mates LIKE camping.  Not this cushy “car camping” thing.  Oh no.  It doesn’t count unless you have trekked for miles, carrying a heap of stuff on your back and get to spend the night in the middle of nowhere with nothing but your bleeding feet and bleeding shoulders and a bunch of scary snakes to keep you company.  THEN it is fun.  (Disclaimer:  This may be a slight exaggeration.)

Strangely, I declined the offer to join the more hard core outings.

And then a group of my friends thought that camping would be a good idea.

To be honest, when we camp it is much more civilised.  It involves a camp ground.  It involves relaxation.  It involves a lot of posh stuff, in some of their cases.  It also involves about twenty kids Possum’s age and younger.

The kids LOVE it.

Even I have been known to have fun.

And so, when they booked the latest weekend, I committed to it.  Surely it will be alright on the night.  Only, this week – oh the dread!  All that planning and packing.  It is completely overwhelming.

DH finds it amusing, and also frustrating.  I think he is the only one who really has any idea how overwhelming packing is for me.  To go away for a weekend, I spend a week nauseous with anxiety.  It is completely stifling, sometimes paralysing.  Even the afore mentioned trip to the park takes a couple of days to mentally prepare, and a few hours to physically prepare.  How do people take their kids to the park every day?  So you can imagine what packing for camping is like.

So this week, I have been hoping like crazy it would rain.  Praying for it would just be selfish and mean, but hoping… well what else is a girl supposed to do?

And tonight, as even the most hard core of the group have decided to pull the pin (apparently severe weather warnings and flash flooding are a bit too much with kids) I am doing my little happy dance.  It is disappointing to be missing the get together, but I am so RELIEVED that I don’t have to prepare for the event.

Time now to curl up with a warm drink and listen to sound of fairies dancing on the roof.  Aaaah!

Too Much On…

February 10, 2013

Possum is 6 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 7 months

Little Princess is 2 years 1 month

What a hectic week this is!  I love to mark the passage of the year by celebrating the various significant events and feasts.  This week, however, is a doozey.

Today, as you may know, is Chinese New Year.  Good Fortune to You!

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We had planned to go into the city today to visit the CNY markets – to enjoy the food, the music, the crafts and activities for the kids.  We got as far as the train station where we discovered that there was trackwork across the CBD, meaning that we would need to catch a train partway then change to a bus (and, honestly, rail-buses are NOT something that blow my hair back).  We ditched that idea in favour of visiting a much more local Chinese restaurant for lunch and DH is in the process of cooking pot-stickers for dinner.

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I had planned to do some crafts with the kids – movable cardboard dragons (I have the templates), spiral paper snakes (it is the Year of the Snake), paper lanterns…  Instead we came home and cleaned out the guinea pig hutch and cubby house and collapsed from a busy day.

Aah well.  Maybe we will have a chance to go and watch the dragon boat racing next weekend.  (I am not sure how I will go with that.  I was a highly competitive dragon boat paddler, way back when – you know, before kids.  Hopefully I will be able to be a good sport as a spectator if we do go watch.)

At least I got a chance to explain the significance of eating noodles and dumplings at CNY to the boys.

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But that is not the only event this week.  St Valentine’s Day is looming.  I know it is not until Thursday, but the kids need to get their “Valentines” sorted for posting/delivery.  Bandicoot will need to have his ready for his fiancée girlfriend sweetheart BFF (and his other BFF) for Tuesday, for example.  We don’t celebrate St Valentine’s Day in a big way, like in the US, but it is nice to remember our nearest and dearest.

However, those two pale into insignificance when we consider that this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.

Lent is a significant time for us.  Easter is the most important occasion on our calendar and Lent, as the preparatory time has a lot of meaning.  This all starts with Ash Wednesday (or Shrove Tuesday – don’t even talk to me about blini and pancake pressure!), and that means this is a heavy focus week.

It is a struggle to explain Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter to children, especially to young children.  It is hard enough for me as an adult to get my head around (I guess that is why Mother Church gets us to take this journey every year), let alone their sweet little heads.  I feel the pressure, too, because our kids do not have the benefit of the kind of Church or school that I did – one that took the gravity of the Lenten season quite seriously, and made sure even the youngest understood what we were doing and why.

And so I turn to the internet.

Have you tried Googling Lent for kids or similar?  The response is overwhelming.

There are so many entries, many of them not suited to our family (ages or stages), quite a few are.  It is a huge job sifting through this information to find what would work for our kids.

And then, once I have found the ideas that are suitable, to thin them out and choose the one or two that we can actually do consistently enough for the experience to be meaningful.

Oh, and then there is the actual implementation.

And somewhere amongst all this I am trying to fit in English and Maths and preschool activities and family life and….

Never rains but it pours!

Going Out

February 2, 2013

Possum is 6 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years 1 month

 

DH and I are going out tonight.  Once every two months, my siblings have a standing dinner date.  We never get to go.

However, this month, when the reminder went out, it was swiftly followed by an offer of babysitting from my sister’s pretty-much grown up kids.  Wow.

So tonight we are going out.

It is such a strange experience.  Our kids never get babysat.  We have been out without them, I think, maybe seven times since Possum was born.  Maybe not that many.

It occurred to me, late this afternoon, that in order for me to go out for dinner, I had to make dinner for the family.  It is much the same as when I get a “night off” during the week (to run off and shop on my own – usually for groceries or kids’ clothes or school stuff.)

(Oh, okay, to be fair, I would be allowed to do other things, according to DH, but I don’t get away often enough for that to happen.  It is always the essentials.)

So, after getting dinner ready, I went and got changed.  I put on my nice skirt (wash and wear, of course) and dug out my nice sandals (flat, but I can’t run as fast in these as in other shoes I own) and then looked into the wardrobe.  So.  Not a T-shirt then.  Hmm.  Interesting.  Eventually I remembered going out with some of the girls for dinner about 2 or 3 years ago and the top I wore.  Yup.  It was still hanging there all forlorn.  I am not sure it quite believes it is getting another outing.

Then I looked in the mirror.  Something was missing.  What was it?  Oh yeah.  Make-up!

I rummaged in three different drawers before finding my make-up bag.  To be fair, I knew which draw it was supposed to be in, but obviously the kids have other ideas.

I looked inside.  Foundation was too hard.  Even powder was too hard.  I felt like a teenager.  Okay.  Eyeliner.  First eye, good.  Second eye, um.  Not supposed to be on my cheek, I don’t think.  Second try was better.  Eye shadow.  Right-e-o.  I know you aren’t supposed to keep this stuff, but my newest is from our wedding.  In 2003.  Maybe the colours have come back into fashion again.  I am not going near the mascara after the eyeliner.

My lipstick is the same vintage, but it is a nice colour.  The blush even older.  Hang on – lip liner.  I KNOW that I have matching lip liner, now where is it?  Eventually I manage to retrieve it from the kids’ basket of coloured pencils.  Hmmm.

Okay, make-up done.  Another rummage and I manage to find some jewellery.  My friend Sam-O bought me a lovely set of owls a couple of years ago.  Unfortunately, one of the earrings has been residing under our bed for a while (recently retrieved, yay!) and the filigree of the pendant owl’s body upsets Bandicoot.  Good opportunity to wear them tonight.  (I love them).

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There.  Done.  Even mildly respectable.

Bandicoot has begged me to cover him with lipstick kisses and Possum has assured me that there is funny stuff around my eyes.

Gosh, I hope I remember how to eat with cutlery.

IMG_7290 Bandicoot showing off his lipstick kisses xxx