In less than two days this will be me jet setting around the world :)   The packing has begun, and dh and the boys will be dropping me off at the airport Tuesday morning.  I believe their agenda after dropping me off includes taking Merry to kindy and then going bowling.  Frodo has never been before and thinks it looks 'cool'... fun maybe, but cool is not something bowling has ever really qualified as lol.  I also imagine there will be plenty of time hangin out in pj's and watching cartoons while I'm away.

DH requested a 'plan' for schoolwork while I'm away so I typed up a brief list of things he can do with the kids.  I'm gone for two weeks, but the second week of that DH is back to work and the whole crew is staying with his parents so mother in law can take care of the boys.   She'll have them busy as bee's the whole time, so I'm really only doing about a weeks worth of  'work' for him.   Mostly it's things like headsprout, math games & a couple of Frodo's History Odyssey reading/activities.   Pretty laid back stuff really.   Frodo also is interested in cursive writing, completely out of the blue, so I've downloaded the States' preferred font for him to test drive.  I think it's ugly so we'll probably ditch it though ;)  I don't know how much DH will get done with them.. but I do know it's much harder to plan out what I do for someone who has no idea WHAT I do, much harder than it is to plan for me.  

If you made it through that last sentence and your eyes aren't tied in knots, congratulations lol.   I'll be back around August 15th, see you then!


Sometime during the night, as he always does, little Merry came toddling down the hall and hauled himself up into our bed.  This actually happened twice, but the first time he was redeposited in his own bed, after he decided that NOBODY was allowed blankets on, and that he had to sleep parallel to the headboard :S  

The second time he realized he had to at least be reasonable if he wanted to stay ;)  Dh gets out of bed at 430am, leaving just me & Merry for a queen sized bed... somehow I still end up with no bed or blankets.  Go figure.   When Merry wakes up we usually lay in bed and cuddle and he sings to me and asks 30times 'what doin mummy?' as I try not not be awake, and fail miserably lol.  (Which is followed by 'are you ok mummy??' to which I must reply lest I scare the poor kid!)   This morning I was serenaded by the dude singing some Josh Groban and met with THIS sight ..

 ZOMG! lol  This child is a combat sleeper (I coined that phrase with Sam, who thrashes around in bed to the point that we hear him banging into the walls all the way down the hall!) and I'm fairly sure that when we aren't in the room, he stands on his head to sleep.   Or he steps out into a hurricane .. or something LOL.

This is totally the reason I grew my hair out longer... because when it's short, I look precisely like that when I wake up.  Skeery.

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Well I wondered why the few commenters that post on my little blog have been so quiet despite relatively regular posting!  A friend has reported that there is an issue with the comments feature on my blog.. I thought it was my posh new template, but I switched to a boring old standard one and it was still a no go :(   I'm attempting to work it out though.. don't go away!
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Is apparently NOT so common after all.   Let's say that you have a sick child and take him to the ER on the weekend and they inform you they'll test him for swine flu but it will take a few days to know.  And let's suppose that you keep said sick child out of day care on Monday because he's... well,  SICK.   On what planet would a parent think it's a GOOD idea to rock up to child care Tuesday morning with said child, having yet to recieve their results?   My answer.. NO planet, certainly not THIS one.  

This is exactly what happened at my youngest sons' day care today... and this child was in the room with a dozen other children, mine included, for TWO HOURS before being removed & quarantined. I guess after dropping him off his parents got the call that his test results were positive.. the gods only know how long it took them to call the centre and inform them that they'd be picking their little biohazard up early and why.    

I'm pissed at the centre... they should enforce their 'If your child is ill' rule of not allowing them to attend (they do not),  but most of all I'm PISSED at these stupid fucking parents for not having the good sense to look at their child and say he does not need to be in day care.  They should not have to have their hands held for this pretty cut & dry decision.   The centre is NOT closing (although MY child won't be there this week!) so they will be extremely lucky if they do not end up with a domino effect of more cases every few days.  EVERY single staff member in the building had contact with this child.. plus a dozen or so kids that were in the room playing with him for 2hours.    Not.Happy.Jan!    

Not the news I need exactly one week before I fly out to the US that's for damn sure!

In other news.. we were to be going to the Art Gallery today for a childrens workshop.  That didn't happen... Frodo announced in a most whiny voice about 10minutes away from the Gallery that he was car sick and then proceeded to spew on his brothers car seat (thankfully his brother was not IN said seat).   We laid on the grass outside the Gallery/ convention centre for about 20minutes, and when he didn't perk up after that I made the command decision to go home via the highway to head off more spewing.  Not that it worked... but at least there was only one more chuck when we were almost home.   It seems like at least half of the things that I plan to do, we end up missing because one of the three is carsick on the way there.  It's getting rather discouraging :(

Friday was our fortnightly EC (extra curricular) day with our distance ed group.   We had Living History Australia out to do a big presentation for the day, and it was great!  Living History Australia is a group of 4 people that generally go out to schools and bring history to live by getting in the garb of the day, and 'becoming' that character while talking to the group about what their lives were like.   They have a great display of real artifacts from the colonial period as well as reproductions of a few items.   The kids really got into their presentation and listened really well, which is saying a lot since it was 1.5hours long or about!

This gentleman was a miner in the 1800's.  He was American and had come over to Australia to work the gold fields in Victoria with his business partner after California got too chaotic.  He pulled off a reasonable American accent even.  

This man was an Irish merchant just trying to make a living with his shop here in 'the colonies'.   The ladies with him are his neice and a customer being helped into a nice new outfit (both volunteers! from our audience) Was funny, whenever a new character appeared he asked if they were married, because of course he was responsible for finding his neice a good husband!

The youngsters on the left have been nabbed by the local constable.  It appears they did not have their miners' license to present to him upon request!  Those are real cuffs from about 1850 give or take!

On the left& below, are Frodo & Sam having a go at a typical dance of the time... it was rather like a line/square dance.  They had quite a good time with it and even got us olds' involved lol.

And last, but not least, the younger students adjourned outside and had a fun time playing some games that kids back then would have played.  They played tug of war and collapsed into a giggling heap at the end. Then  they played a chasing game called 'wooly wooly wolf' which involved (as I'm sure you could guess) sheep & wolves ;)     Nice way to round up the day, by wearing them out so that mums' get a nice, reasonably quiet drive home! 

Lately I have decided that I spend entirely too much time focused on the Hubby & the Hobbits (ok, I've known this for a long time... )I really DO love that we have so much time together as a family, but somewhere in there 'me' gets lost, as it tends to do with mums.  I've also felt slightly adrift spiritually of late and just can't seem to 'feel' it, if you know what I mean?   I've pondered quite a few things to nurture myself .. I considered writing classes, getting a job (ok it was working in a bead store so it would barely have been work!), and a few other things... but nothing really called to me.  

 Then DH suggested I look for a belly dance school locally.  What a perfect idea, it's time ''s physically active and I could definitely use that!, and it can be very spiritually awakening.  I took classes just before Merry was born, but DH went into a night shift job so it was impossible for me to continue.  Now, however, he's home by early afternoon at the latest!  So the door was opened and I jumped at the chance to step through.  

Dancing will fill the need to have ME time, as well as bring a bit more active spirituality to my days.    Throughout history, different cultures (probably most of them if I actually could google worth a damn ;) have used special dances to honour their Gods & Goddesses.   Hawaiian myths (used in the positive sense of the term here) say that Pele's sister first danced the hula oh the Hawaiian shoreline to appease her sister the volcano Goddess, and stop the flow of lava.  In India, they danced Garba dances to honour Durga before worship rituals, as well as Dandiya  dances afterwards in celebration.   

At the open day for a local belly dance school that I attended yesterday, I was lucky enough to see Anu dance a form of Dandiya.  It's traditionally done with two 'sticks' (think rhythm sticks sort of) that simulate swords in battle as Durga is a warrior Goddess.  The sticks are tapped lightly during the dance as if she were in battle, but the dance itself was very graceful and lovely.  I didn't get any photos yesterday as I was too busy watching, and getting the occasional free lesson, but here is a photo I found on wiki showing women doing a Dandiya dance.

Yesterday I saw gorgeous women of all sizes & shapes performing various dances.  There were vendor stalls selling scarves & dancewear and middle eastern food *yum*  And numerous dance performances ranging from Australian aboriginal dance, to the more traditionally thougth of Egyptian style belly dance and finishing up with the Dandiya.   And each gave us a brief lesson afterwards, although I'd have preferred to have my embarrassment in a less public venue lol, it was quite fun.    

I start classes tonight, and while I don't really have a cultural Goddess of my own to honour... I will at least honour my own Inner Goddess and learn to express the beauty I know is there, even when I'm not loving my own skin. 


The hobbit hole is  in rather dire need of a good clean, not my first choice of activity on a Saturday but oh well.   Due to this the entire hobbit family shall be doing their part today.  When I say 'dire need', I do not mean tracks through piles of rubbish... more like 'there's a mountain of laundry waiting to get taken off the line & folded, the kids rooms are destroyed by toys (and our room isn't looking all that flash) and the floors could use a vacuum/sweep.   So really, more like an hour or two worth of work ;)  

Two moves ago, I did some fast & furious decluttering... then the last move, I did some more!  I think toys still are a bit out of control, but it's so hard to thin them out!  Clothes I thinned out a couple of weeks ago, nobody has overflowing drawers anymore (except Merry, and in his case that simply requires a diaper change lol)  and there's a healthy box of stuff to get donated.   Which may get added to today.   

Cleaning isn't the only thing that will happen of course,  we are test driving a 'netflix' type thing where we request dvd's online and they get mailed to us.  So this afternoon DH is going to watch a movie called 'The Storm Riders' with the boys,  he says he thinks it's appropriate and it's rated PG so I'll hide out & craft or read blogs, or go sit in the garden with a book and read :)   And I'll probably make them popcorn, they do love standing on the stool watching the kernels hit the glass lid to the pan.  

Frodo & Sam have pulled out the Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of world history   and have been having a look at all sorts of stuff.. Frodo is patiently reading the bits of info to Sam and they're talking about what's going on in the pictures.   History without any pressure from me to learn it.  I'm liking this natural learning thing thus far...

Yesterday Sam was drawing pictures outside of various things he saw and I asked if he'd like to be able to put his name on his drawings.  He thought that'd be just grand, so I made dotted line names for him & let him have a go.  Then he asked for more tracing names, so I of course obliged.  Frodo was feeling a bit left out because I told him he didn't NEED dotted line names.  In an effort to include him, I wrote his name simply in cursive and showed him how it was done.  WOW, you'd have thought I showed him how to do the coolest thing ever!  So dad came home to find his boys out on the veranda practing their names while mum tried to read a book ;)  

I haven't exactly 'told' the boys that there is no more 'scheduled' school and that we're trying something new,  they seem to have clued in and will come to me and ask to 'do math' or play headsprout etc  almost daily.  But there's no stress on me to get it done, and no stressed mum grumping at them when they get silly instead of focusing.   I really don't have any doubts that, at this rate, we'll be ticking off quite a few KLA's (key learning areas, our form of reporting) to show that the boys have definitely been learning. 

I've been procrastinating long enough, in the name of updating my blog, so I should go help out before DH feels unloved!  


Ok, I'm going to try this again (blogger ate my post and I bitched a little about it here ;)  Yesterday Sam, Frodo & I went on an adventure to a somewhat local Medieval Tournaments kids' day.  It was much further than I thought (about 100km total) and we got seriously (but briefly thank Goddess!) lost on the way there, and it rained.  Ye gods did it rain lol  <----See the 'castle'?  Amazingly enough it's a giant 'set' sort of.. totally fake, and the kids thought it very cool.  It was placed on the tournament grounds to add a bit of ambiance and every kid there was just fascinated!

There were tons of activities...we did brass rubbings, medieval coin making, crown, mask & shield painting (those three were huge hits).  We listened to a few olden tales, and Samwise even tried out Stilts!   He was happy enough to get a couple of steps with the gentleman helping him though, and wasn't keen to have another go.  There were Middle Eastern & medieval dancers, drummers & drum making workshops;  junior knight training, archery workshops  and lots of food on a stick ;)   Food on a stick is always a hit at these things for some reason.

(blogger rearranged mah photos sorry)  Here Sam & Frodo 'stormed the castle gates' and tried to get those gargantuan doors open, to no avail.   This was during a rare moment where it was only barely misting, the rest of the day there was a very annoying light, steady rain.  The grounds were slicker than owl sh*t in places as well.  I felt rather like a pack mule carting around umbrellas x3 (when the boys were in an activity), my handbag, and their Great Helms (see photo below!) among other things.

Here are Sir Frodo & Sir Samwise (Frodo is in red) posing with their little wooden shields and great helms.  They have barely taken those things off lol.  And below is a photo of Sam's very own 'Edward I silver penny' ..which he is sleeping with tonight (it's a lucky coin I'd say.. it already survive the washing machine thanks to it's trusty plastic baggie!  I figure these will be great keepsakes for the boys to have.. but seeing how they will get lost, thank goodness for digital photos and blogs to prove they ever existed.                                                          



In a previous post I hinted at a possible shift in my blog and life, and this seems like as good a time as any to elaborate.   After my extended illness, we had so much trouble getting back 'on track' .. the kids' behavior was pretty bloody ordinary (Aussie slang for suckful), and lessons were met with 'how long will this take?' or 'can I be done now?'  *sigh*    There was fighting and yelling ... some of it even from the kids ;)   I was thoroughly at the end of my rope, I was looking for a full time job and going to put their behinds in school.  I honestly had no idea WHAT to do, and didn't really think school was the way to go, but I was feeling like a complete failure.

What saved us from this fate?  Logistics & scheduling!  I have a 2 week overseas trip coming up, which did not even come close to coinciding with school holidays.  That got me started thinking about how stressed I was when Frodo WAS in school, feeling like my days were dropping off/picking up and little else.   So, in short, no the boys are not going to school... and no I'm not going to work full time (although I may look for a casual evening job)  We're actually going the opposite direction.  

Which brings me to the title of this post.. My DH suggested to me that maybe it was all just too much, and maybe I needed to try what Ms. x does (a homeschooler we know that is an advocate of Natural learning).. and you could have knocked me over with a feather.   What brought this on, I asked him?? Do you realize what that means exactly?  No required daily curriculum, just following what they are interested in etc?  His answer was ' But you said when I came home that the kids didn't really do any schoolwork today, but here's Samwise counting coins he's scrounged from all over the house and grouping them into like piles.  Then you're discussing how much he has and what he could buy with it etc.  That sounds like math to me?' *insert jaw drop here*  I knew that, but it's the first time he really put it that way to me.  

So, I hit MDC as I do for all things ;) and asked the Unschooling mamas' there for advice on how to actually DO this thing.  I was referred to another message board and on it I found a thread with various terminology for 'unschooling' (delight led learning, child led, natural learning etc etc) but one mama coined the phrase LIFE, or Learning In Freedom Everyday!  and I just thought how COOL is that??   

So without further adeiu,  HERE is our new classroom -------->

I have no fears of them 'doing nothing' all day, because everyday is filled with so many possibilities.  They quite often ask me to 'do math' or to look at their great Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History etc that I'm just going to stop telling them it's time to do X, and wait for their lead.   It should definitely be interesting, and I'll still pick up library books on things I know they are interested in (dinosaurs, space, ocean stuff, anything ancient) and I'm sure I'll pick up lots of little educational games & kits at Aldi and the Early Learning Centre (our fave 'toy' store) and they won't lack interesting things to get stuck into!  

Here goes nothing!


Why, oh why, did it never occur to me that there would be NICE, free blogger templates somewhere to download?   Ok ok.. it DID occur to me, I just never bothered looking *sheepish gryn*   As you can see if you're reading this, I finally got around to it and I found the perfect template for my little blog.  

When I came up with the pseudonyms that I use for the boys, the only group of 3 names I could think of was the Hobbits from Lord of the Rings and they seemed to fit fairly well to boot.   Well, when I came across the Hobbit blog template here  , I just had to have it :D   I hope you like it as much as I do!

I don't think I've ever mentioned on here just what a LOTR geek I am?  I was heartbroken when I heard that the people in NZ that owned the land Hobbit town was build on were just dismantling it! I know I for one, would have paid damn good money to go there as a holiday spot.. it being just across the ditch was just that much more convenient!   Probably about every 3months or so The Ritual begins... I get the hankering to watch The Trilogy again and we start from the beginning.  It takes us a few weekends to finish it (hey, we're old we like sleep... and 9+hours of movie would be impossible at one go with 3 hobbits of our own underfoot).

So no, there's not a better template out there for me... Unless someone knows of a REALLY good Coffee themed one ;)

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