Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Performance Week

Things have been crazy here over the last week. Caitlin has had her dance concert and her first performance for Victorian Youth Theatre, and had 3 extra (evening) rehearsals last week. We're also trying to get ready to go away (we leave tomorrow) for our houseboat/my-brother's-wedding trip.

So a super quick summary before I forget - the dance concert went well, Caitlin danced beautifully and the whole concert was enjoyable to watch. We (Millie, Caitlin and I) went to the dance paschool's break up party at Ringwood Lake afterwards, the girls had fun feeding the ducks, hitting pinatas, playing pass the parcel and sack races. From there we went to party at a friend's house in Chum Creek, SO great to catch up with the hosts and lots of other people who we hadn't seen for ages. Home at midnight - so another late night!

Caitlin's performance last night was amazing - she delivered her lines clearly and with feeling (and got a laugh from the audience when appropriate) - and the whole production was incredible. I'm so excited that she's getting the opportunity to perform with a company like this. She performs again at the end of next week and I'm looking forward to going back and seeing her parts again plus an extra play of hers, and the other performances. And to sharing it with everyone else (Mil came with me last night, next week it's everyone plus Mum and Dad).

I'll blog about our trip to Sydney at travellingandexploringourworld.blogspot.com.au although I may not have a chance to write much while we are there - we are back on Sunday night so I'll catch it all up early next week if I don't get to it before then. And I might find some photos of Caitlin before her performances when I have a bit more time...

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Steam Engines and a relaxing day.

Friday is normally our busy, out-all-day day. This week, however, everyone was exhausted, on the verge of a cold, LiAM had left karate early on Thursday night with a massive sinus headache - AND we'd been told that the steam engines heading to the Heritage Festival in Healesville  would be stopping at our place to water on their way from Yarra Glen to Healesville. So I decided we could all stay home, rest, and see the steam engines.

The only tricky bit was that I had an acupuncture appointment that I really didn't want to miss, so Mum very generously reorganised her Friday at very short notice to come and hang out with the kids while I went to my appointment.

I was so glad I'd decided to stay home when everyone got up and started playing happily and peacefully and there was none of our usual Friday morning running around and stress. LiAM and Millie played chess, then I took over from Millie, then Caitlin took over from me, then the kids had another game. Mum arrived at 10 and I went to acupuncture (which helped fix my sore wrist and shoulder, as well as upping my energy significantly) and when I returned at 1pm there were 14 steam engines parked across the front of our driveway!!!! I couldn't get into our drive, but with a bit of manoeuvring managed to park out the front in a spot that wasn't in the engine's way. Mum and the kids (and Buckley) were out the front watching, and once I arrived Mum and the younger two went inside.

It was very exciting, the sight of all these engines, and the SOUND - one of my favourite sounds is a steam engine whistle, and then the chuffing as they start to move... Thrilling. And great to watch the whole watering process, and the different ways that each engine needed to be filled. It's always great too to be around people who are really passionate about something, and that passion was flowing off all the drivers and crew. Caitlin knew one of the girls whose Mum was driving, so she got to see a bit more of the process as she chatted with her.

Eventually they all chuffed away. Hopefully we'll go and see them again at the festival over the weekend. We had a quiet afternoon, mainly watching Youtube videos. I was sitting reading my book next to LiAM who was watching Stampy and Squid Minecraft videos, and I was listening more than I tend to - those guys are really really funny. I understand a lot more now why the kids love to listen to/watch them so much.

Tony and the girls went to Healesville to get some lemons from a friend, and stayed at played at his place for a while. When they got home C and I headed straight off to Stage School. After I dropped her off I went to Costco to stock up on some bulk groceries, then to Ringwood library to return, borrow and to chill out. I found the sequel to Lament (the book I'd just finished and loved) so grabbed it and got some uninterrupted reading time before the library closed. A quick trip to Eastland shops to look for shoes to wear to my brother's wedding - I found some I loved but not in my size.

Picked Caitlin up then home and sat & read my book with the big kids while they watched videos until we all went to bed around 11pm

Friday, 7 November 2014

Halloween and School Performance

I seem to find it harder to write when something significant or important has happened - I can blog about our everyday days quite easily, then if something exciting happens the pressure to get it on the blog sometimes means I don't ever get to it. Which is fine really. It may make us seem really boring... although I like the variedness of our everyday days and it also helps me remember the little things we did, I guess the big things stick in my head so there's not so much personal reason to blog about them.

Anyway, today I feel like I could catch up on some of the more exciting stuff.

Last Friday was Halloween. The kids had been looking forward to Halloween for a long time - Amelie always includes it in her list of things when she's saying 'How long until.... (Easter, Christmas, birthdays etc)'. Costume planning has been going on for several weeks. All three kids greeting me with 'Happy Halloween' when they got out of bed on Friday morning. Millie was most disappointed to learn that trick-or-treating wasn't going to happen until late afternoon/evening and she needed to wait ALL day...

We spent the day at home and A&J came over to play. Caitlin didn't go to school as the rest of the Year 3-6s were away on camp, and she'd decided to go the following Monday instead to be there for the last rehearsal for the school production. It was a very relaxing day, lots of outside play on the trampoline and with our hose that we can finally use now that we have an outside tap! Some minecraft and Terraria and role playing and lego and kinetic sand as well.

Finally it was time to get into costumes and head into Yarra Glen.

We started in the estate at the top of town this year, and there were lots more trick-or-treaters than we saw last year. 6 or 7 other groups I'd say, maybe more. Some of the houses were decorated, and the kids had nothing but positive responses, even from the couple of houses where people said 'No, sorry, we don't celebrate Halloween'. We zigzagged up and down a few streets, trying to stay away from other groups so that each house wasn't hit with too many kids at once, and the kids had a wonderful time. After an hour or so we headed to S&V's house, and watched them cracking open their halloween pumpkins. Our kids went out and knocked at a few more houses in that area, then we went back to S&V's for creaming soda spiders and a bit of lolly eating and a bit of play. Home about 9pm and everyone was exhausted!

On Wednesday this week Caitlin performed in her school production. I still didn't have a car so T dropped her at S&V's place in the morning and they took her to school. I think the kids had one more practice at the hall in the morning and then the matinee at 1.30pm. Mum and Dad went to that performance and really enjoyed it. Caitlin went home with S&V and had dinner at their place (and she and S sold eggs door to door in the neighbourhood during the afternoon) then back to the hall for the night performance, we arrived in time to watch it. Caitlin was a scout and didn't have any solo speaking parts, and really got in to the singing and dancing and group lines that she had. She looked gorgeous and really comfortable on stage. The play was fun to watch (After a very slow start) and it was great to see some of the kids really loving performing. Some of them looked quite scared the whole way through and that bothered me a little, that it was a compulsory experience... I much prefer the experiences my kids are getting, which are of their own choice, and still pushing their own comfort zones, when they are ready. We all had a fun evening, Tony and I enjoyed chatting with the other parents at intermission and after the show, the kids enjoyed the show and playing in the playground afterwards.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Melbourne Cup Day

Yesterday was Melbourne Cup Day, so no work for Tony! (He had Monday off as well, a lovely 4 day long weekend).

On Monday night, Amelie and Caitlin went to a Girl Guides sleepover at the hall. This was Millie's first sleepover not with family - I was vaguely anxious all day Monday but did feel better knowing that Caitlin was going to be with her. I think the hardest part for me was that Tony took the girls on his way to baseball (I still don't have my car so couldn't take them myself) so I said good-bye to Millie at home, and that felt weird, I would have liked to safely deposit her there myself. Tony rang me to say the drop off had gone well though, so I was reassured a little.

LiAM and I had a lovely quiet evening at home by ourselves, watching Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds DVDs (this is my favourite of the Yu-Gi-Oh series that I've seen - marginalised and disadvantaged kids fighting back against the system that is oppressing them) and playing iPad games and reading my book (Lament by Maggie Stiefvater - it was amazing, one of my favourite authors and possibly the my favourite of hers that I've read).

Yesterday morning was similarly quiet, with just me, Tony and LiAM, then we went and picked the girls up at 10am. They had had a great time, although Millie was a bit sad at bedtime and had wanted to come home. Caitlin helped her settle and she slept well. They had made fairy wings and other fairy related pictures and watched a few movies and enjoyed themselves a lot.

From there we drove up to Mum and Dad's, where F & J & T had been staying for a few days. Nice to play with the baby and catch up in person with F, we've spoken on the phone a bit lately but not seen each other much. We went for a walk to try to get T to sleep, and the kids played with the red train track. Caitlin and Dad wrote some books about trains and other subjects and pretended they were an old married couple - it got quite hilarious at times. We played the piano and the keyboard, LiAM watched youtube videos, Dad and J and I talked computer and iPhone stuff, Mum and I walked around and looked at her garden, J played with his drone with video camera - just a relaxing family day. F & J headed home around 2, and the girls and Dad and I went down to have a quick look at the Yea photography show before they closed for the weekend. Some great photos there and enough inspiration to think I could enter something next time. We raced back to be home in time for the Melbourne Cup - Tony had organised a sweep amongst us all so it was quite exciting - Dad, F and T won all the money. After the race Caitlin and Dad got out the bikes, C was able to ride Mum's bike easily, and they went down to the rail trail and did an 8km ride! Mum and I cooked dinner and we ate outside on the balcony, played some more piano and book games and with some of the toys that were there, and headed home about 8.30. The girls were asleep by the time we got home, LiAM watched a couple more youtube videos then everyone went to bed.