Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sam's Award

Sam came home from school on Friday and presented us with an award that he had received at his 3-6 assembly.  It was one of those rare awards from the Assistant Principal, one my boys have never been recipients of.  It was the Assistant Principal's Award : For excellence in Improvement and Application - Great improvement in completing tasks within time frames.

Sam has been having trouble finishing tasks (the boring ones) in class so we've been working on trying to focus and complete things at school and home.  The other week we received a note home from the teacher telling us he has been trying really hard in class and had been finishing his work.  It was really lovely of his teachers to let us know that he was trying hard and improving.  But it  really makes the children feel special when they receive awards in front of the school for their hard work.  Even though Sam doesn't really think he's been doing anything different, we know & his teachers know he is a wonderful boy who will try his best and has such a lovely spirit.  He's been growing up alot lately and has been responsible and caring to his whole family.  I think you're a keeper Sam, one of my treasures.

Ethan's Talk

Last Friday it was the K-2 assembly at school and Ethan's class were hosting it.  Four children out of his class were asked to present an animal that they had written about in class and Ethan was one of those 4.  A little note went home the week before with Ethan's talk asking if they could practice their talk before presenting it at assembly.  So Ethan & I spent the week helping him to learn his talk.  Now I didn't have to beat him with a ruler or take away his nintendo for him to learn his talk, he just did it.  It's amazing how children just soak up information effortlessly and can tell it back to you.  Ethan was the only one out of the chosen 4 who had eye contact with the audience and who had memorized his talk.  He has such a lovely gentle yet expressive speaking was beautiful.  Ethan is very dependable and you know that he will feel confident enough to get the job done without any fuss.    I'm so proud of him and he was pretty chuffed at being one of the chosen 4.

Here is Ethan's talk that he wrote:  This is a Cheetah.  The Cheetah has many black spots.  Their eyes are orange and brown.  The baby is called a cub.  They are the fastest mammal on the land.  They have long and skinny legs.  The baby calls to its Mum.  They live in South Africa.  They are good at hunting and are dangerous mammals.  Cheetahs are from the cat family.

After their talks the class did an African Zulu dance, it was so cool to watch and  Ethan was so serious with his dance performance, but he clearly loved it.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Childhood dreams

Ethan confided in me one day what he wanted to be when he grew up.  To me this was exciting finding out the hopes and dreams of my beautiful 6 year old.  What has he been thinking about, being a vet, a farmer, a chef, an artist??  He said to me, "Mummy when I am 10 years old I want to be a Pokemon trainer"!  It made me realize that my boys have dreams which may not match those that I have for them and that they need their childhood dreams to get them through the harsh world of reality that I keep forcing on them.  Let their dreams live on.........

Well yesterday Ethan's dream partly came true.  It was book week at school and they had their book parade.  This is where the K-2 years get to dress up as a character from their favourite books.  So Ethan went as Ash Ketchum the Pokemon trainer from the Pokemon book series.  These are the boys favourite books at the moment and they have been read and re-read until the new issues come out in school book club.  

Ethan only decided the night before that he wanted to be Ash so we had to magically come up with the right costume pieces.  His hat had cloth hockey tape covering it to make it white, his gloves were my washing up glove cotton liners, dyed in green food colouring with the fingers cut off.  I think Ethan was pretty pleased.  Ethan was really home for the day with conjunctivitis but we couldn't miss the book parade and was able to dress up and parade with his class mates and then come home with Toby & I.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Time to stop and smell the flowers

My favourite flowers are springing up all over our garden.  The previous owners of our house have planted fresias all over the front garden and our back garden beds.  It's always so lovely smelling the perfume from a posy of fresias.  Their delicate purples with a brush of yellow are so pretty and just keep on flowering.  They seem to last a while in a vase so long as you keep the water up to them, they're very thirsty flowers.  

The boys teachers at school always benefit from a bunch of our fresias and a few lavender flowers thrown in for good measure at this time of year.  The two lavender plants that I moved from large planter boxes have taken off in the sunny corner of the house and am always guaranteed a nice bunch of flowers from them.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Flaming torches!!

Little did anybody know that when the Olympic torch was in Australia it made a secret detour to an outer suburb of Sydney.  Sam was fortunate enough to have a run with the Olympic torch without it's Chinese torch guards.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Tin Tin

It has been a bit of a struggle the past few months getting Toby to agree to go to bed at night.  His reaction at bed time is like a child being punished, "I don't want to  go to bed, I don't want a story!!". Slowly but surely Donald has won him around, every night Donald has been reading Tin Tin to Toby, who has just been soaking it in.  Of course now Sam & Ethan are in on story time too and the four boys squash up on Toby's bed to hear the tales of Tin Tin & Snowy the dog.  Toby has been very excited every night to go to bed because he knows that Donald will read him Tin Tin.  He's not so fussed on preschool story books with Mummy now.....sniff....sniff, but I'm turning him around again with his afternoon story before a nap.

The things we do...

Sunday, 10 August 2008

End of Season

Well soccer is over for another year and the Walkers can breath a sigh of relief.  To make the end of season a little special for Ethan's team Donald and I made up some pennants for the team.  So Friday afternoon Donald ran out to Spotlight and found some black and gold felt and he designed and cut them out while I sewed them up.  After adding a few special touches (wording) they were ready for the next day.  Nothing like a last minute rush job.  

In between sewing I was baking cupcakes and stuffing lolly bags for Sam's team as I was their manager this year and wanted to give them a little treat after their final game.  I'm afraid we couldn't stretch making pennants for Sam's team, as there are 14 on his team and only 6 on Ethan's.  After the games on Saturday we all went back to the lovely home of one of the boys on Ethans team for a BBQ, where we got to present the pennants to each of the players.  Which they all loved. 

Ethan's team so far had won every game this season, so Donald wrote on the pennants that they were undefeated.  Little did we know that the game they played that morning was going to be as tough as it was.  My goodness it was heart wrenching and neck and neck.  In the end they drew 6 all, still undefeated thank goodness, otherwise Donald was going to have to add a little amendment to the pennants - Almost Undefeated. 

We also made a pennant for Donald too.

We had a lovely BBQ with some fun families and one of the mums, Caroline, had made a fantastic soccer ball cake which was delicious.  It was hard to stop Donald going back for 4th and 5th servings.......he does so love his cake.  

Now for a summer season of indoor soccer.......aaarrgh!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Chopsticks and fortune cookies

With the Olympics starting there has been a little excitement in the house.  The boys have been learning about China and the Olympic games at school, so I decided to have Chinese for dinner last night. Prawn crackers, Pork & Sesame stir fry followed by fortune cookies & orange slices.  

The kids went crazy with the prawn crackers and chopsticks, they finally got to use their special kids chopsticks which we've had for ages.  They are joined at the top so the chopsticks don't slip out of your hands. 

The fortune cookies were kind of fun too.  

I liked Ethan's fortune "You find beauty in ordinary things.  Do not lose this ability."  Poor Donald received an old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times."  They both kind of work well with the photo below,  but please don't look too closely.  

Interesting times!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Athletics carnival

After being postponed for a week due to wet grounds, the boys athletics carnival went ahead this morning with blue skies and warm sunshine.  The Walker clan were all decked out in green to support Sam and Ethan's house colours.  First up was Ethan in the 6 yr old 70mtr race, after a slow start he passed a few runners and came third.  Yippee!!!   

Next was Sam and his valiant effort in the 200mtr race for 9yr olds, I think he ended up with a few 10yr olds in his race as they were taller and faster and I didn't recognise any of them from his year.

He did much better in the 100mtr race, he and his best friend Lucas were battling it out for for 5th place, both with big grins on their faces......Sam came 5th.

Then while the older kids raced, the junior primary had their novelty races, egg and spoon and sack races........ 

............crab walking race, hopper balls, relays and other ball games.  I think they had lots of fun with their class mates.  

When they finished a race they all got a sticker to put on their bit of card pinned to their shirts, by the end of their races they all had lots of stickers.  Meanwhile Toby was just hanging out with his truck and digger and being generally very cheeky.  

After Sam and Ethan had finished their races and had lunch we could sign them off with their teacher and come home early. We made a little detour to the Pokemon card shop to buy Toby's first pack of cards (he's been feeling a bit left out lately) he managed to get two cards that Sam and Ethan were drooling over.  It was a good thing we came home early as the beautiful sunny day turned into rain and thunder by 2pm.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

On this day.....1997

I often look up our old journals from 1997 to see where Donald & I were on our travels.  We spent 3 months (from May to August) backpacking through the Middle east and Europe before landing in Canada where we lived for 3 years.  In Donald's journal he made a little calendar that detailed where we were each day.  

On this day, August 2 in 1997 we were staying with my friend Christine, who lived in Taunton, Somerset in the UK at the time.  We went on a day trip to Devon to seek out some of Donald's ancestors graves.  It was a cold and rainy day (in summer), the kind of day to stop at lots of little Devonshire tea houses for hot chocolate, scones and clotted cream......... 

......or to a lovely Exmoor pub for lunch.  

We spent the day searching various church grave yards for headstones of Donald's ancestors.  This was all done with much prior research by Joan, Donald's mum.  She had names of towns and churches and we literally drove around until we found them and scoured the church yards.  We managed to find all of the graves to match the names that we had.  A pretty exciting time for Donald. 

I think we visited about 3 or 4 different churches in the areas of Weare Giffard, St Giles in the Wood and Torrington, lovely little towns with stone churches and manor houses, rows of workers cottages and patchwork fields.

I do love the English country side.......although at the time I remember I was a bit tired and cranky with the cold, wet weather.  Not a happy girl!