Saturday, 28 November 2015

Feeling Content

I've been feeling really good lately. Very happy with the way we're doing things, really thrilled that this is the lifestyle we are choosing every day. That's not to say that my anxiety doesn't pop up at all, or that I'm in a good mood all the time, but lately those lower moments have really only been moments, and even through them I know that overall I am feeling content on a very deep level, so the frustration/anxiety doesn't take over completely.

I realised last week that we weren't getting much consecutive time at home - little bits each day, but I wanted a bigger chunk of time so that we could all re-energise a bit. Last weekend we had Saturday at home, then Caitlin was working at the Girl Guides stall at the Lilydale Show - Tony took the 3 kids to the Show for the day, and I had a day at home by myself, which was lovely. I did a lot of housework and organising, and was pretty tired by the end of the day, but my restlessness and feeling of frustration at never being home was all gone, which meant I was able to be more present for my kids and Tony all week.

They had a great time at the Show too, LiAM came racing in the door to show me his Minecraft showbag, with 3 books, lots of Minecraft stickers and a few other bits and pieces. He loves going to the Show (or the Fair, as he calls it) so much, and it was beautiful to witness his excitement as he told me all about it. Millie got a Pokemon showbag, with a backpack, carry bag, temporary tattoos, a hat and sunglasses, and Caitlin got - oh I can't remember the name - it's a picture of a monkey face, and she got a backpack, a make up bag and lots of stationery. Tony got a Bertie Beetle showbag to share with me which was quite exciting - I LOVE Bertie Beetle chocolates, and the only place I can get them is in show bags, so it's a less-than-once-a-year treat. (And they were great!) They went on the dodgem cars (Caitlin and LiAM drove their own cars for the first time - very exciting) and saw lots of animals and played some Sideshow Alley games. Caitlin had a ball at the Guides stall, chatting to people about Guides and helping them make little catapults out of cups and balloons.

During the week we managed a fair amount of time at home, and I can tell LiAM is really exhausted and needs more, because he is watching a lot of television - he usually needs several days of TV when he's quite worn out, and then he suddenly turns it off and plays a heap of really creative games. I love chatting to him when he's watching TV though, he notices holes in the plot or weird assumptions that the characters make, and he thinks a lot about what he would do in the situations the characters find themselves in, and really ponders the decisions that the characters do make. The girls join in on a lot of those conversations too - we've re-written (verbally) a lot of TV shows and movies in lots of different ways.

On Tuesday we went to Healesville Sanctuary with my parents and my sister and her son. A very fun day - and great to have extra adults there, I was able to spend most of my time with Millie, letting her go at her pace (which is often quite slow in terms of moving through the zoo - she wants to look at things in detail, or go back and look at things again, and stop and touch things, and have a little talk or play at any spot she finds interesting - I love being able to go with her on her intricate journey through a place, which is sometimes too tricky when it's just me and the 3 kids, as the others want to move on more quickly).

At home this week we have played lots of games - the Penguin game (like Trouble or Headache, but with penguins, and you can drop your opponent's penguins into the ice which can be fun), Headbanz (like Celebrity Head), games with Millie's soft toys, Skylanders, Pokemon battles, lego, games under the hose, on the trampoline, Barbies, adding and subtracting games, Minecraft, and other iPad and computer games. We've been to the library and the op shop, and had a great afternoon at Homeschool Group, where Caitlin showed everyone how to make the catapults from the Show, 2 different types, and the kids were able to propel little fluffy pompoms all over the room. Caitlin has been practicing cursive writing, and we've been trying to clear out half of the dining room so we can convert it into a small bedroom for Caitlin - a work in progress, but we're slowly getting there.

Caitlin had her first acting performance for the season last night, Tony took her in and watched the show, she came home so pumped and excited, with her stage make up still on and so keen to get back there next Friday so I can see it as well. I'm looking forward to it - she's in a militia scene and has camouflage paint on her face, and is dressed in army gear - she loves it and I know it's a very powerful scene.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Caitlin's Confirmation

Caitlin made her Confirmation on Sunday, in Mum and Dad's church in Yea. (Although I'm not sure if I'm using the right terminology, I think it's better to say 'Caitlin was Confirmed'). Anyway, it was a great day, a beautiful ceremony (again, that's not the correct term anymore, it is supposed to be celebration or service, but to me it felt like a wonderful ceremony).

Caitlin had gone up to the Catholic school a few times over the past several weeks to take part in the preparation for Confirmation - she had an afternoon making the Stole (scarf) that she would wear on the day, and there was a parent/student night where the kids all shared with us the reason they had chosen their Saint's name, and which gift of the Holy Spirit they were choosing to focus on. The kids from the school prepared all their information in class and had their speeches written out - Caitlin only found out a few hours before the get together that she would be asked to speak, so she did it fairly impromptu and did a great job. She also spent a full day at the school when the Bishop came to visit - he talked to each of the kids in detail about their Saint and their gifts, and it really helped to give a lot more meaning to day, rather than just going through the motions.

Caitlin and I braved the new Eastland shopping centre last Thursday to find a new dress for her - it had only been open a week so it was pretty crazy in there, and it is SO big - I left with complete sensory overload and was exhausted for the rest of the day. We found a beautiful dress though and she was so happy with it, so it was worth the excursion. We got shoes on the way to acting on Friday night, also beautiful - and women's shoes, not girls. Her feet are at the top end of the girl's shoe range, and most styles don't go that high, so she got to browse the women's shoes which gave her a lot more choice.

Tone's sister is Caitlin's godmother and she came down from Brisbane to be Caitlin's sponsor. Tony picked her up from the airport on Saturday and we had a great day at home and then out at the cheese shop at De Bortoli. I was babysitting for my sister on Saturday night so the kids and Tone and his sister had a quiet night at home without me.

Caitlin and her sponsor needed to be at the church early on Sunday, so I took them, and Caitlin's friend S came with us for the day as well. Tony came up with LiAM and Millie in time for mass. Mum and Dad sat behind us in the church so we were all together which was nice. The mass was lovely, the Bishop again explained things well and made it all meaningful. There was a great sense of community and family throughout the whole service. The Bishop asked some of the kids to come up and explain about their Saints to the whole church, and Caitlin was one of the children picked to do that. She also read a Prayer of the Faithful, and was confident and clear in both cases.

After mass there was a morning tea with a great cake and some other nibblies. I'd made shortbread (using the Thermomix recipe) and it was delicious - the Bishop loved it and came and thanked me for it when he found out I'd made it! I met Mum's old neighbour, who used to live in Leeton - we don't think we knew each other from there but it was pretty cool to meet her. I also caught up with another friend of a friend whose son now goes to the Catholic School in Yea.

We went up to Mum's for a BBQ lunch which was very relaxed and tasty. Tony's sister hadn't been to Mum's property before, so she and I did a big tour and she loved the location and the view. It really is a beautiful spot and a great house. After lunch the big girls went in the spa and the kids played terraria and hide and seek and some board games. We had some dessert then Tony took his sister back to the airport. Caitlin and Dad went for a bike ride and Caitlin had an accident and hurt her toe. She iced it for a while and didn't think she could walk easily - but it did settle down and she was able to hobble around after some rest. The kids played for a while longer then I took S home and we arrived home in time to have leftover BBQ meat for tea and a quiet, relaxing evening after a very big weekend.