Friday, August 26, 2011

"See you at Tronno High today"

It's been a week that I will never forget. Six words in an email that have left me winded. Made me a part of something bigger than my normal day to day life.

Normally the beginning of the week is home based, laundry, cleaning and helping out in the kids school. By getting everything running smoothly at the beginning of the week the days that I do work don't seem to impact the family. This week the kids had a pupil free day on Monday so instead of getting them to help in the house we just went out and met Dad for lunch and did some nice errands. Tuesday was Book-week celebrations which was great fun but I spent all day at school while the ironing mountain was getting dangerously high. Wednesday we were running out of clean socks and it was reading with the kookaburras. Wednesday afternoon Gareth and Rhiannon were due to travel to a local school to take part in a cultural festival with lots of other primary schools. I love going to things that are on when I am lucky enough to not be working.

Wednesday I was unsure. There were no clean uniforms for Thursday and the house truly was a mess. I asked the kids would they mind if I didn't go to watch them. They were ok about it but the guilt was niggling in my head. I told them that unless another Mum nagged me to come along that I would stay home and get the house back on it's feet. Literally less than one minute later there was a ping from the computer. An email had come in from Monica, "See you at Tronno High today" I called out to the kids in playful exasperation "Aaarggh! That was Monica nagging! I'll be there, the ironing can wait!"

I have not got my head around what happened that afternoon. I don't want to go into too many details that might upset anyone. The brief summary is that we stood for the national anthem. My kids played in their school band as another school choir sang the words. I had goose-bumps as I heard the words. They were making me emotional.

As we sat down they interrupted the concert and a woman spoke into the microphone. "Is there a nurse or a doctor in the audience? Can you please come to the fire exit"

I stood, I walked through the door and for the next hour I was part of trying to resuscitate a woman who had collapsed. Being a nurse in a hospital is one distinct part of who I am. Being a mother is another. Mixing the two was hard. Hearing the sounds of the children singing on one side of the fire-door while hearing the paramedics count us over the phone as we performed mouth to mouth and cardiac compression on the other side is something I cannot shake. When the paramedics got there her heart had a weak output. We had maintained her. Unfortunately she didn't survive. She was 56 and the grandmother of one of Gareth's classmates.

I know that I did my best, along with all the other wonderful people who also were a part of the CPR. I just feel a bit overwhelmed. Confused. Grateful to have been there. Sad she didn't make it. Proud I tried. Scared when the images flash back into my head. Embarrassed by the messages of thanks and the flowers that I have received from friends, from school. Emotional when I was given a Thank-You card written by the family.

I had contact on Thursday from the school where the concert took place. Their staff were all sent for counselling. I was offered it but had turned it down without truly thinking about it. I was offered it again today and I have accepted.

I know in time I will be fine. Life goes on. Sian went to school on Thursday and Friday in slightly crumpled sports shirts. I went to work. I talked to a lot of people about how I felt. I now know that I was meant to be at Toronto High at 12.35pm on Wednesday the 24th of August 2011. I knew in my heart before the day unfolded that I wouldn't put the ironing ahead of being a Mum. I just needed those six little words from Monica to realise it...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Reading to the birds!

On Wednesday mornings I spend time in the kids school reading with groups of 8 and 9 year olds. 
The school is set in some beautiful bushland and has its fair share of nature around. Today we had a Kookaburra sitting on a post listening intently to the story and Gareth decided to show him some of the illustrations!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bookweek 2011

Each year the kids school celebrates "Bookweek"

The students get to dress up as a favourite character from a book and lots of fun activities take place. Parents and friends are invited into the class rooms to read to the kids and there is a character parade in the new school hall.

I love getting the opportunity to be involved  in the school and am so grateful when events happen on a day I am not working in the hospital. I missed out last year and had to be content with photos sent on to me by friends. This year I hit jackpot and enjoyed every minute of it.

Rhiannon was Esmeralda from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"
Gareth was Dan Kelly, an Australian Bushranger and brother to the infamous Ned Kelly who is seen here next to him. When asked what book they are from Gareth replied "Any book on Australian History"

Both are being protected by a friendly Storm Trooper. You never can be too careful!

Monday, August 22, 2011


...when a picture speaks a thousand words!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Meet Wilma and Betty!

Do you want to see where I transplanted the little Bottle Brush tree?

I put it right next to my birthday present!

My new Chook house!
Today we went in search of some chickens to live in it. It seems as though every suggestion from friends led back to the same man, Simon. Unfortunately Simon has a badly fractured leg and said he has been out of action for the last 6 weeks and does not know when he will return to selling in our area. He recommended an egg farm about an hours drive away. This morning we jumped into the car and drove to Anna Bay and came home with Wilma and Betty.

The kids had fun bonding and we all squished into the hen house for some cuddles.
Here are some photos...
We can't wait to check on them in the morning to see if the girls have settled into their new house and whether they may have laid us an egg or two!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Veggie patch

A couple of weeks ago I looked out my kitchen window at this...

Not very inspiring, the bins, a broken swing seat waiting for Council pick up, a small Bottle Brush tree...
Many of the blogs I read were talking about gardening and preparing this years veggie and herb gardens. I wondered if I could find a use for this narrow strip of soil down the forgotten side of the house. I imagined looking out my kitchen window and seeing veggies growing, maybe a passion-fruit vine winding itself over a trellis, fresh basil and coriander waiting to be plucked and added to the evening meal...

Fast forward to last week. With Gareth sick and home from school I had a lot of time on my hands. I got to thinking, and sketching, and planning, and nagging! 
I am very excited to say that within a very short amount of time I ordered some four and a half meter long railway sleepers, had them delivered and got out my trusty drill and made this...
Yesterday while out shopping I came across a bargain. A local Go-Lo had reduced bags of compost from $7 each to $1.74! I asked could I buy all that they had and now 22 bags later my new veggie garden is looking even better with lots of soft compost ready for me to get planting. 

Oh, and the little Bottle Brush tree has not been torn out and forgotten. It was given a new home next to my birthday present. What present you ask? Well that is going to be my next blog post, you will just have to wait and see!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Separated at birth!

Today I shared celebrating my birthday in work with Lesley.
She tells everyone we are twins, separated at birth, raised on
opposite sides of the world and finally reunited at the Blue Hospital.
It's enough to bring tears to your eyes...
Tears of laughter that is!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Life is short enough and the days can run into one another with work, cleaning, cooking, sleeping... 
What makes our lives wonderful?
The special days.
Holidays, Christmas, days in the park, weekends. 
We have to make each and every one count.
Make a kalidescope of memories for our families of all the happy days so they are the ones we remember.
So what is my favourite day to celebrate?
Someone in our house is going to wake up tomorrow to kids sneaking into her bed, cards and gifts!
Guess who...?
I'm so excited!!!!
Have I given it away?
Tonight Rhiannon got busy making me a card.
I think she took every single item out of our craft cupboard. 
This is what I found after she had gone to bed...
I can't wait to see what she has created!
I'm off to bed now to sleep away the hours till I am Top Banana for a day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mission Fun Day!

Our school runs an Annual Mission Fun Day.
The kids get to invent stall ideas.
Create posters.
Run the stalls.
Make money for the Missions.

...and get to eat ice-cream too!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Morning Tea.

I was invited to a friends house last week for morning tea. Lucy is the only female in her house. Her husband and boys love nothing more on the weekend than riding dirt bikes up the mountains in the middle of nowhere and returning home caked in mud. Not much call in her house for delicate florals!

Now Lucy decided that she wanted to indulge in some proper formal girl time and arranged for a bunch of us to have morning tea with her. We were to bring nothing, she was going to bake and prepare it all herself. When we arrived she was piling high plates of delicate smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, strawberry custard tarts, meringues, lemon tart.... Lots of teeny tiny morsels of delight.

We sat and talked and poured endless cups of tea after tea into lovely fine china and talked and talked and talked! It was so lovely to just sit and enjoy some female company. An old fashioned style of morning but one I would be very happy to repeat in the future. Not sure my waistline could cope though!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Learning to fly.

With Gareth sick this week I asked Rhiannon if she could get the school bus so he could stay in bed. As the bus came close to pulling in outside our house she told me to quickly go back inside as I was embarrassing her in my dressing gown! I stood watching her from inside the almost closed front door and I felt a stab of nostalgia. This is her last year in Primary school. The last year that the school bus will pull up outside our door and she will jump on dressed in her Primary uniform. These years have gone much too fast and somehow I know that the coming months will pass quickly too. Another bird perching on the edge of the nest ready to learn to fly a little further away from home. I'm not sure momma bird is ready...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Poorly bad.

It's been a bit quiet this week. Germs have struck hard and fast. Most of us have had some combination of aches and pains, sore throats and headaches. Gareth fared the worse over this week and had a few days off school. I found myself housebound, achy and not in the mood for anything too energetic myself so we had some nice quiet time and a few cups of tea to warm ourselves up!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday!


This month represents the 6th year of this blog!

Back in August 2005 we were preparing to emigrate to Australia. I was completely computer illiterate and Byron created this blog. He then handed it to me and told me it would be an on-line diary where I could put photos of our family as a way to keep in touch with grandparents and close friends as we started our new life Down Under. Never in a million years would I have guessed that 6 years later It would be still going strong. 

In 6 years it has gone from a simple diary for a small group of people to a way of communicating with a much larger group of friends, old and new.

I have written 1492 posts and there have been 68,570 visits from 103 countries!

Many of my "normal" real life friends laugh at me when I try to bring up the topic of blogging in a conversation. Some read my blog and think I am mad. Some humour me and actually leave comments. So many more of you have become "virtual friends" where we have slowly grown to know each other through our writing and photos. Whoever you are Thank You for stopping by. For taking the time to read my ramblings. For leaving such great comments. For making me smile!

And if you really want to make my day then celebrate my Birthday with me by leaving a comment. Whether you are a real life friend, a virtual one or haven't yet said Hi...

Here's to the next 6 years!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Twice Twenty One

Today is Mr B's Birthday. We won't reveal his age, lets just say he told the kids he is twice twenty one!

The morning was a lazy one. I was woken by Gareth who had heard the phone ringing downstairs and could hear Granny and Grandad Joe singing Happy Birthday into the answer machine! With the time difference it was getting to their bedtime at 10.30pm but was still an early 7.30am with us!

Breakfast in bed, freshly brewed coffee and croissants from the oven. Cards and presents and excited kids. Guessing and squishing of parcels before tearing of paper. Always "I bet this is going to be a pair of pants" before squeals from the kids as yet another gift was discovered. In the end a very happy and spoiled Mr B sat in a mountain of torn paper, wasabi covered peanuts, new jammies, swimmers, a big bar of Toblerone and a book on whisky. It was declared the best birthday ever before it had hardly begun!

In the afternoon Byron fired up the BBQ to cook sausages for lunch. As it warmed up he sat on the steps in  the sunshine and drank a cold beer. Yep, he said, this is definitely the best Birthday EVER!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Old Ducks Book Club.

I read a great book recently called "The Help"and loved it so much I wrote a blog post on it. I passed the book from friend to friend and it triggered a conversation. We should set up a book club!

As I played with the kids at the park my friends chatted at the picnic table. Behind me there was a lake and on it some ducks. The name of this yet-to-begin club was decided. "The Old Ducks"

My friends sniggered as they told me. They suggested the name was inspired not so much by the feather friends but in relation to me... Hmmm. I shall let that one go for now!
We met this week at the Jo's house. It had been her birthday a few days before so I brought a cake and Monica brought flowers. Jo supplied the old duck! 

Jo hadn't finished the book so we didn't really get into the real nitty gritty of discussing it as we would have spoiled it for her. Instead we drank tea and talked and laughed and put the world to rights. We decided on the date of next months "Old Ducks" gathering. By then Jo should have finished "The Help"and maybe we can actually pretend to be a real Book Club!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

New Year Promise.

Back in January I saw an interesting status on Facebook. A friend was promising the first 5 people who "liked" her status that she would send them something home-made at some point in 2011. In turn though they too would have to make the same promise to 5 of their friends. I joined the fun and then like all January resolutions it sat at the back of my mind and nagged and nagged me. Another thing on the never ending "To-Do" list.

Finally one sneezy winters day an idea came to me. Small little tissue holders. I read through lots of blogs and on-line tutorials and then got out a bag of fabric scraps and the sewing machine and got stuck in. As always when I do anything crafty I get carried away. Housework is abandoned, dinner runs late and our spare room becomes a No-Go zone! The results were worth it. As was the weight off my shoulders as one by one my parcels were posted off. Then as the parcels reached their destinations from just down the road to Ireland, Japan and America in came the emails and Facebook messages from the friends who had found one of these in the post!

Have you ever participated in anything similar? If you did what would you make?!