Saturday, December 31, 2011

P365 - Day 365 - 365 photos

365 days.

365 photos.

Thank you everyone who has read and contributed this year. I have really appreciated your comments on here, Twitter and Facebook as well as in person and by email. It's nice to know that people are interested.

Happy New Year.

P365 - Day 364 - the Taste (and year in review 11/12) (30/12/2011)

Today we went to the Taste Festival in Hobart.

Juniordwarf enjoyed the cups & saucers ride

More cups and saucers

Entry to the Taste

Inside the main hall

Outside the Brasserie. Nice & shady.

Ice cream

Enjoying an ale

Two Metre Tall Ale in a plastic cup?  What a crime against Ale!

Wheelie Bin Orchestra performing "We Will Rock You"
These guys were great!

Juniordwarf enjoyed the Wheelie Bins

The Winery

Year in Review (11/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

November: eleven

My contribution to the 11eleven Project.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

P365 - Day 363 - fun afternoon (and year in review 10/12)

For today’s ‘let’s get out of the house’ trip, we ventured a little further afield and went to Alpenrail in Claremont. 

It’s a model Swiss Railway, which has been operating since 1985, and apparently is one of the biggest in the world.

Juniordwarf had already been there with his Grandmother and was very keen for a return visit, but neither Slabs nor I had been.

It’s rather cool to watch the show and see the trains running around the track, and the amount of work that has obviously gone into the model is phenomenal. It took seven years to build, plus ongoing work sine then.

There are also some smaller models that visitors can operate themselves, as well as the most beautiful faery garden, which I would have loved to have taken the time to explore, but which Juniordwarf rushed through at his standard pace.

After that we went to the Montrose Foreshore Community Park, where there is a huge climbing rope structure in a great kids playground. Every time we drive past the park, Juniordwarf tells us how he climbed to the top of the climbing frame the day he went there with his class.

When we got there I appreciated exactly how tall it was, and thought that Juniordwarf meant he’d climbed to the top platform.

But no, he meant to the actual top – as high as you can go.

I was terrified watching him. Even though his climbing skills have improved dramatically in recent months, I thought that this was a bit much of a challenge for him.

As I watched him go higher and higher, past the platform, I was preparing myself to have to get in there as quickly as I could in case he fell off. I was fully expecting him to.

Oh mother of little faith.

He had no fear, was completely sensible about the whole thing, navigated the route that suited him best, made it to the top and then all the way down without a hitch.

It was all I could do to stop myself saying, ‘be careful’, but I bit my tongue. He knew what he was doing, he’d done it before and I had to let him know I believed in him.

Once he’d made it safely back to earth, we tried out the exercise equipment, and then set off on the recently opened Boardwalk, which is part of the Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park (GASP)

I have a photo of the boardwalk in development from back in April.

As the boardwalk was being build, Juniordwarf had been fascinated by it as we drove past each morning. He’d say, ‘I like all the blue-y bits. I like all the orange-y bits.’ And so on until the end.

This was my second (and Juniordwar’fs third) walk along it. I think it looks a lot better when you’re actually on it than it does from a distance. The different colours are fascinating and I love how the main colours blend from one to the next.

I wonder what the walk is like from Juniorwarf’s perspective, as he’s not quite tall enough to see over the top. I get the impression he’d get the feeling that he was basically walking through a giant liquorice allsort.

It was a fun afternoon.

Year in Review (10/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

I loved so many of my October posts. It was impossible to pick a favourite, so I settled on this one, because who doesn’t like choc-chip cookies?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

P365 - Day 362 - Salmon Ponds (and year in review 9/12)

It was one of those afternoons where we just had to get out of the house, so we went for a short drive to the Salmon Ponds.

Juniordwarf had fun feeding the rainbow trout (note if you will, the fine capture, by iPhone camera, of the fish food in mid-air) and we had a short walk around the grounds.

Then he said he wanted to come home.

So that was that.

Year in Review (9/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

September: Travel-log Day 2

From our holiday to the mainland - the day we drove through the beautiful Kusciuszko National Park.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

P365 - Day 361 - the pirate caterpillar (and year in review 8/12)

Juniordwarf helped me in the garden.

What I mean is, he played in his sandpit while I spent hours clearing out vegetation from various parts of our yard. Then he wanted me to fill his little clam shell pool up.

I didn’t want to say no, because I’d already told him we weren’t going to the pool today and I didn’t want to disappoint him again. But the clam shell pool is located off to the side of the house, under shadecloth, in the fenced off area where the dog can’t go, and I was working in the main yard.

He’s not at the age where he can be left unsupervised in water, so I had a problem.

Luckily there was a shady area just near where I was working, and the beauty of the clam shell pool is that it can be detached from the sand pit part and moved. So that's what I did, and Juniordwarf played happily in his pool while I continued the clearing out process.


After he got out and had dried off, I told him he could put his same clothes back on. He didn’t want to, and insisted wearing an ensemble that included the green stripy pants that I’d made for his Very Hungry Caterpillar costume for Book Week

Ok, well they weren’t intended for general wear, but he didn’t seem to care. He put on his antenna headband and his pirate eye patch and announced that he was ‘the Pirate Caterpillar’.

I’m just glad that something I made has actually been worn more than once. 

And . . . now that I have my very own sewing machine (courtesy of Lil Sis, Mr Tall and my mother), I’ll be able to get out the pants pattern I used for the costume and make some more pants for Juniordwarf that fit around the waist and in the legs – something that has proven to be more and more of a challenge when shopping for clothes.

Year in Review (8/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

A post, and a day, I am really proud of. Somewhere between the miserable post from July that I posted yesterday and this one, I started to feel like I could make some of the changes in my life that I think I need to make. This is an example. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

P365 - Day 360 - return to the purple carrots (and year in review 7/12)

Remember when Juniordwarf and I sowed the purple carrot seeds in June?

Well they have taken a lot longer to grow than the 12-18 weeks suggested by the garden guides. In fact, only two of the seeds even grew into carrots.

Today I thought one might be big enough to harvest, so Juniordwarf and I pulled it up.

These are very cool carrots - purple on the outside and orange on the inside.

And they taste so much better freshly harvested than store-bought carrots.

Year in Review (7/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

Not so much a favourite post, as one that shows me how much I have changed, and become better at coping in the not so good times over the past six months.

P365 - obligatory Xmas post (25/12/2011) (and year in review 6/12)

Just a few photos from our family Xmas.

Opening the presents Santa left

Checking the presents to take to the rest of the family

Juniordwarf played Santa and handed out the presents

More presents

Best present of the day

Part of the spread

Juniordwarf and Dad


Year in Review (6/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

P365 - Day 358 - getting ready for Santa (and year in review 5/12)

I know I’m a bit ‘bah humbug’ about Christmas, and this year it feels like it’s snuck up on me faster than usual and I’ve been so busy that I haven’t got organised and just haven’t felt very festive at all.

But this hasn’t stopped Juniordwarf, and his excitement has slowly but surely rubbed off on me.

He is so excited and it’s so much fun to see. He’s been talking about it non-stop and he has his heart set on getting a Harry Potter book from Santa.

(We’ve had several chats with him explaining that Santa can’t bring kids everything they want, and suggesting that he not get his hopes up for everything on his list so that he’s not disappointed if everything doesn’t turn up. We’re hoping that the “scary teeth” he wanted, and his big surprise present will make up for the disappointment.)

I even elicited his cooperation to tidy his room (a bit) before he went to bed in case Santa couldn’t get in there to leave his presents. (Yes, I did stoop to that. And I know I’m not the only one who did . . . now it’s just a matter of how to get him to do it on the other 364 days of the year.)

Tonight we hung up his Santa sack (or “Zak” as he calls it, getting confused with the dog that he never knew) for Santa to put his presents in. I asked him if he wanted to put a snack out for Santa, so he left out a couple of biscuits and a cup of water (well, we don’t want Santa to be drink-driving, do we?)

He was just thrilled to be doing all this, and we loved watching him. It’s the first time he’s really gotten into the whole Santa thing, and it really is good fun!

I can’t wait to see his face tomorrow morning.

Year in Review (5/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

My first hand made gifts from Juniordwarf. I was really touched. It still has pride of place on the fridge.

P365 - Day 357 - Derwent Estate (23/12/2011) and year in review 4/12

So you’re driving home from work on December 23 and you see Derwent Estate Wines is open.

Do you:

(a) keep driving?

(b) call in and get some wine for the festive season?

Year in Review (month 4/12)

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

I thought it was fitting to feature this post again, as earlier this month the Resource Management Planning and Appeals Tribunal dismissed an appeal against the proposed demolition of this building.

The demolition was a central part of the Parliament Square project.

We heard this week that the group “Save 10 Murray”  which opposes the demolition, has appealed against that decision, among other reasons, on the grounds that the building’s application for heritage listing was never assessed.

So the saga continues.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

P365 - Day 356 - on the bus (again) (and year in review 3/12)

One of the lucky door prizes at our BBQ today was for someone who could prove they came to work on public transport or by means other than their car.

This was my effort.

It was a random draw, and I won.


2011 in review: month 3/12

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I’m going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

March: Gone Fishing

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the year in review - 2/12

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end, I'm going post a link to my favourite post from each month this year over the last 12 days of the year.

It’s fitting that today was Juniordwarf’s last day of school for the year, as February’s ‘back to the future’ post is about how I was feeling the week before he started school.

This is a chance to look back and reflect on how much has changed since then and to look forward to next year when he will be a full-time school kid.

I suppose in one sense, this year was a practice for next year when he starts his first year of compulsory schooling and attends five days a week. Dabbling his feet in the water to get a feel for how it works.

Next year he will well and truly be part of the system, just as Sarah Macdonald wrote in her post that I quoted in my post

I have a touch of sorrow that my son is entering the first institution of many he’ll encounter in life.  From now on he must fit into the system and join the mass of the mainstream. Soon he’ll be assessed, ranked, judged and assigned marks. For his own good, he’ll be part of a system that increasingly likes to test and rate and label – ‘gifted, talented, dyslexic, hyperactive, challenged’ etc.  My son will have to negotiate a microcosm of society; a zoo where he’ll have to fit in, be cool, make friends and not lose them within the frenzied hive of the playground. He’ll have to wear a uniform, he’ll have to eat when he’s told, sit when he’s told, put his fingers on his lips and repress his rambunctiously annoying ways.

I fully understand Sarah’s ‘touch of sorrow’. I felt it too.

But I suppose ‘the system’ is not necessarily a bad thing. We live in a society, and a society needs rules and structure in order to function. And people need to live and behave in accordance with those rules and boundaries for the same reason.

Of course there will always be the rule breakers and boundary pushers in both beneficial and harmful ways – if not, society wouldn’t evolve – and for everyone to always live safely within the system would create a much less diverse and interesting world. (I can feel myself going way off topic here . . .)

What I think I’m trying to get at is that while I want Juniordwarf to be able to fit in and live in the society of the day, I don’t want him to blindly follow ‘the mass of the mainstream’ if he believes it’s not right for him. I don’t want him to accept everything he’s told without question, but I want him to be able to be able to make judgements about what should be challenged and to believe in himself strongly enough to challenge it.

I want him to learn for the sake of learning, not for the sake of getting a good mark. (I know. This is all very well in principle, but you often need good results to get anywhere. I wonder how you find the balance between the two?)

I look back on my school days and my university days and – even though I didn’t notice it at the time – everything I did was focused on getting a good result at the end of the year. No wonder I didn’t enjoy studying.

Even as I write this, I wonder whether what I want for him is really what I would have wanted for myself, if I was able to take myself back to the start of my school days and begin all over again. I wonder what would have happened had I not strived to be so ‘good’ and ‘smart’.

What sort of person would I be now? Would I have spent so many years putting myself down for never being good enough if I hadn’t gotten into the mindset that I could always do better very early on?

And ‘good enough’ for what, exactly?

Or would I be in a totally different position if I hadn't done as well at school and at uni as I did?

And were those good results really that important in the grand scheme of things? 

This is all such new territory for me. Trying to help my son navigate his way through this world so that he can form his own opinions and develop his own values, can develop a strong sense of respect for himself and can take responsibility for his actions. Giving him the guidance and help he needs without over-compensating for the things I think I’m missing and without being overbearing.

It is such a huge responsibility that sometimes it completely overwhelms me and I want to retreat back into the system.

But I simply can’t let it overwhelm me. This is real and it’s happening now. And all I can realistically do is what I think is best here and now, based on the information I have.

To stop questioning myself and get on with being Juniordwarf’s mum.

Tomorrow: March

P365 - Day 355 - the end of school

Today was Juniordwarf’s last day of school for the year.

When I dropped him off today, I took a few photos of him in his classroom, the room he’s been in for the past two years – last year in pre-kinder and this year in kinder. A room that I’ve come to know very well and that we will see, but no longer be a part of, after today.

I took some photos of him with his teacher and his kinder aide, who have been wonderful - encouraging and supportive of Juniordwarf in his first year of formal school. I remember the doubts I had at the start of the year as to whether he was ready (is there anything I don't doubt?), but he has proven them to be completely baseless, and the staff in his classroom have contributed a huge amount to his development this year. I can’t thank them enough.

As has come to be normal when dropping him off these days, I waited with Juniordwarf in his classroom until the bell went, letting him lead me around the room, showing me things he’d done that were proudly on display. I read him one of his favourite stories and watched his classmates dance around the room, clearly excited that the year was almost at an end.

What a contrast to his first day – which sometimes seems like a whole lifetime ago, and at other times feels like it was only yesterday.

The uncertain, nervous excitement of the first day in a new school was replaced by almost a party-like atmosphere, with kids who were comfortable and relaxed in the school environment. There were no anxious parents waiting to see how their child would react, no uncertainty as to who puts what where, no nervous ‘hellos’ and wondering how we were going to remember everyone’s names, no tearful goodbyes.

Oh except for me.

As I watched how well adjusted Juniordwarf and his classmates had become, how comfortable they were in the environment and with each other, I started to feel a bit teary that this was the end of another stage of his life.

Just like on his first day.

This post still makes me cry.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

P365 - Day 354 - on the bus (and the year in review 1/12)

Juniordwarf doesn’t travel on buses very often, so he gets very excited whenever he gets the chance for a bus trip.

The first few times, he sat right up the front in the seat behind the bus driver. If you haven’t sat in that set before, let me tell you that there is not much leg room for anyone bigger than, well, a school kid.

After that wore off, he decided that sitting down the back was more fun, as was having an entire seat to himself and moving between seats during the trip.

Today we decided to go into town to do some shopping and meet Santa. Last year, rather than park in town, we went on Hobart Council’s shopper shuttle service where you can park at the Regatta Ground and catch a free shuttle bus into the city. Even though it was only a five minute ride, Juniordwarf loved the fact that we went on the bus.

He was very keen to do it again this year, so we did.

On the way in, he sat up the back.

On the way back he sat on one of the side-facing seats, which he was particularly taken with, because we were ‘going sideways’. So that was a bit different. (He’d also been fascinated, on his class visit to the Transport Museum recently, how some people sit facing backwards in a train.)

We saw Santa, he had an ice cream and we got some shopping done.

I think he enjoyed himself.

And now for something completely different. This:

2011 in review: Month 1/12

Since my Project 365 is rapidly coming to an end - there are 12 days left - I'm going post a link to my favourite post from each month since the start of the year over those 12 days.

Today, we return to January, and one of my very first blog posts. 

It’s about an event that I was terrified of attending, and very nearly didn’t, but was so glad I did because it helped me to believe in myself and my ability to go out and talk to people. I think that going set me up for a lot of the changes I’ve made over the course of the year.

Tomorrow: February

Monday, December 19, 2011

P365 - Day 353 - posting

Remember how I said that normally we have most of our Xmas wrapping, posting and cards done by now and that, for some reason, Xmas has crept up on us this year and found us somewhat disorganised?

I wonder where we'd be without Express Post?

All of the interstate family and friends' gifts are now posted.

What a relief.

P365 - Day 352 - Farm Bar (18/12/2011)

Here are some photos from today's trip to Two Metre Tall.

Cheers! Some Huon Dark Ale

How's the serenity!

The men in the man cave. No ladies allowed.


Ashley and Jane hard at work

Ashley entertaining the punters