Friday, May 31

squeak squeak BANG!

This is a wordy one so skip it if you'd like.

The old saying - the squeaky wheel gets the oil is so true. The education and readiness of my twins has long been a concern of mine and I have been active in the school to try and make sure they are getting what they need. I am at drop offs, pick ups and special events - but only just discovered that that is not enough. If you want something to happen you NEED to be an advocate for your child. I have got the the point that I don't care how pushy I appear, I just want what they need.

Now, the boys are in grade 1. They are on the young side of things and current trends say that boys in December should be held back in kinder, and twins - well even more so. Put into that mix auditory processing disorder and you now have a bit better picture. With the help of speechies and OTs the decision was made to go to prep and they excelled. The structure was what they needed and socially they are doing fine.

But I felt they were behind educationally. They were initially in separate grades to give them the opportunity to develop as individuals. This was great. I would pop in and see the teachers, both independently said They're doing fine. I would say Really? And they would give me a weird look and say - Yes! Really! So, I would wander off thinking how different are the kids at school to at home????

Come end April and a big move happens. They move into new pods. This is all of the grade 1s (some 90 kids) in one big open space. They are taught as 2 large classes, each with 2 teachers. So my boys who each have their own friends are now thrust back together, people asking which one is which, to boys that they didn't even realise was a twin. One step forward two steps back.

The big room is noisy, filled with kids and the teachers are learning each others style and how to work as a team in a new environment. All fine - but I feel it is at the expense of my kids. During this time. the boys come home with stickers on them and the story of where they come from seems to vary. When I finally get a chance to grab a teacher, she explains that they are getting additional help with words and handwriting. As I tried to explain to her, the additional help is appreciated - I just didn't know about it and I can help if I know what they are doing.

I then try and organise to catch the other teacher as Benji is displaying some troubling behaviour. The poor kid thinks he is stupid and to punish himself for not knowing things, he is pulling out his hair, hitting, biting and pinching himself. I can't do nothing, so when the meeting falls through I wrote a letter. I am not having a go at the teachers, I just need them to understand how I feel, what the kids are doing and how we can all move forward and fix the problems.

Not surprisingly a meeting was quickly arranged and it was action stations. There have been a lot of issues that have caused this - teachers strikes from last year and this year meant no comments on reports, no parent teacher interview this year, the move to the new room meant notes didn't get sent etc for which they were very apologetic. I am fine with all that - I just don't want my kids falling through the cracks - particularly 2 of them.

The meeting was positive and I now feel that both teachers have an eye on them. Lots of information was not passed on from Prep so it is almost like a term wasted. Something that does bother me is the political correctness of the whole system - where no-one likes to say it how it is. If they are behind then just tell me. If they are slow to pick things up - then thats how it is. Don't dress it up with a bow. Nothing is going to help them down the track - we have to get on it now so that they don't fall too far behind.

As a result, I actually feel better. We have set up a communication book where the teachers will let me know they program for the upcoming week and I can do some pre-teaching at home. We have a greater focus on home schooling, with reading, spelling and fine motor becoming much more of a focus. Hopefully, we are on the upward swing and have caught it early enough. What it has shown me is that you have to trust your gut and go out an fight for your kids because no one else is going to do it for you!

Sunday, May 26

B Inspired

My clever girlfriend Marg bought a shop. She has made a big switch from the corporate accounting world, but if anyone can make it work - it is this one.

I was privileged enough to work, no, I played shops, for a couple of days and it was fabulous fun. I finished my stint with a party - as you do. The launch party of Marg's B Inspired was also her birthday. 

Her store is in Mailing Road, Canterbury and it a long standing stationary store - but full of other goodies which we had fun stocking.

This is a new range of specklefarm that is great for the kids.

The beautiful store with pressed metal ceilings and chandeliers and all the cabinetry is antique furniture, has an olde world feel.

Homewears and desk accessories sit beside cards, soaps and hankies.

Decorative globes, waterbottles or environmentally friendly notebooks

Oh - these are the cakes from the bakery down the road. DELISH!

Huge range of invitations and kids cards. She has a great range of vintage inspired childrens cards.

Oh - and whats a party withouth champagne. I love these little bottles with the straws (which are also available at B Inspired - Mailing Road, Canterbury)

If your out that way - go say Hi to Marg!

Sunday, May 12

Happy Mothers Day

 My darling boys spoiled me this mothers day - even with one of the heat packs I made! and I thankfully got the change to spoil my mum one more mothers day.

 We had a lovely turkey dinner and raspberry cake served hot - a Donna Hay in todays paper.

Happy Mothers Day - to all the mothers everywhere.

Saturday, May 11

Andy Griffiths

It was a warm May afternoon and we ventured to the Dandenongs to the Rhododendron Gardens for a Book week special. A girlfriend had organised the kids tickets, and to look after the twins at her house, while I took our bigger kids to the festivities. A big win for me.
I took a blanket and a magazine, and unbelievable got the change to lay out in the afternoon sun and read while Xandy and friend ran off and became part of the show. It started with a show and then an activity which saw the kids run off into the garden in search of words. When they found all the words - which were hanging from trees they had to write a poem.
Kids were dotting everywhere and it was only when everyone seemed to be settling to write that I began to worry where they were.

 This is how I found them. Everyone else had gone back to their parents for help but these too had no interest at all in me and were determined to get their winning entries in. Bless.

Then we were hustled into a long line and marched up through the gardens to the main building. This is where Andy Griffith would be speaking. The kids got a spot on the floor and I headed to the back. He spoke for about an hour - talking to the kids about how he gets his inventive stories. The kids had opportunities to ask questions. All the kids seem to enjoy this, and what was lovely to see was how many boys he attracted to reading.

Now was the time for form a line for book signing. Seems a few people have problems with this and whilst we weren't a long distance from the front, the line was increadibly 'thick' towards the front. We stood, unmoving for 45 minutes. DID NOT MOVE! By that point we'd invested so much time that we may as well stay. The kids were no longer in line and I was holding a space for the kid behind us.
In the middle of the room, the three kids got out their books and started brainstorming their own Andy Inspired book. One of the kids they had only met in that line!
 Finally, a whole hour after we'd lined up did we get our book signed. As we were considered the patient ones, he even wrote their names! I can't say I envy that job. Having waited that long, the kids really were happy for the meeting.

Friday, May 10

The Big Sale

Our school mothers day stall went off without a hitch today. We sold out of EVERYTHING and didn't even have to do an afterschool sale as we were clear out of stock. Truly a fabulous result - and a massive relief.

We had wrapped everything in cellophane which made it look much more professional. My 140 heat packs were wrapped and looked great - and thank god- they all sold too.

Now to put my feet up and hope that I don't get three heat packs for mothers day!

Thursday, May 9

Tshirt art

Its Mr P's birthday next week and his life has changed a little- both personally and professionally. I had seen this saying on pinterest and both ways it was just perfect for him. Rather than a print, it was calling out to be a tshirt - and one he could wear to work.

Obviously photos were an afterthought in this process - but I designed it using a basic font and cut it with my silhouette using freezer paper. Then  with a light iron, I stuck it to the olive green tshirt.
Then I used some fabric paint. I started with the black, and then the bronze which I actually mixed with a bit of black to tone down the contrast. 
The freezer paper pulls off and I was really happy with the results - lets hope he is too.

Wednesday, May 8


Some people have enviable powers of persuasion. A girlfriend had asked me along on her weekly ride with a group of mums. I was all full of a head-cold and having already sat through an hour of basketball by 8am I knocked on her door to give my apologies for the ride. This however was not acceptable.

I still don't quite know how she managed it, but luckily I had put on my cranky pants and runners as I ended up on her bike with her helmet and riding before I knew it. Really - even though the seat was too low, the brakes didn't work and I had no idea where we were going - I was riding.

Apart from being inappropriately prepared and thoroughly exhausted, I rode with them into the city and thoroughly enjoyed the coffee. The ride home was good until the home stretch. We had to detour as we rode through (literally) a cross country race, which meant the last k was a long, straight, slow incline. My legs were burning, my heart pumping. Sweat running down my back under my pleather jacket. (told you I was inappropriately dressed) I was so thrilled to find my car outside of her house and that my legs worked enough to drive home and collapse on the couch.

Sunday, May 5

Run on the G

 Though our local Auskick, Xandy had an opportunity to run on the hallowed G at the centre half time game.
 It was a highly anticipated game - between Carlton and Melbourne - more people than this did come!

 The got decked out in Melbourne colours and hit the field

It must be an amazing feeling running out there playing footy with that many people watching.

My little Auskickers

Friday, May 3

Cultural Afternoon

Hollywood Costume

Mum and I visited ACMI today and its the first time I've been in there. We didn't have a huge amount of time so we only did the Hollywood Costume exhibition - I must go back and have a bit of a look round at the rest of it. The Costume exhibition was actually one of the best displayed fashion exhibitions I have ever seen. The costumes were all on appropriately sized dummies and the lay out was well themed but the absolute best bit was how they used technology. 
Each costume had a screen - like an ipad or bigger, with the face of the character in the costume. This really made the outfit and film come to life. There were interviews and information using technology. Some of the highlights were Marilyn Monroes white subway dress and Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's dress - above. Both were so incredibly tiny. But we couldn't stay long because we had to rush off to the Gallery. 

 Alexander was there again this week with the Gateways program and today they were enacting the painting behind them - as Cleopatra and Mark Antony. The rest are dresed as guests to the banquet. They learnt history behind the painting, the reason behind the meeting and their relationship. Xandy loves this stuff.

It was such a lovely setting to see the kids enact the painting. They really enjoyed it and so did we!