Saturday, April 21, 2007

March / April photos

We had this goanna visit a cabin we stayed in on the Sunshine Coast. It was at least 3 feet long and the kids enjoyed following it around for a while.

Shortly before school broke up for the holidays, AJ's teacher had a birthday celebration for him. The morning started with their usual morning circle and for the story, the teacher told the Rainbow Bridge story then Cary and I took over with a brief synopsis of AJ's birth and life thus far. Before the circle started, AJ had the privilege of wearing the golden cape and crown, which he actually kept on all day. The teacher had knitted him a woolen cat as a gift. In the afternoon, we went in early to share their afternoon tea time. The children had made a banana birthday cake and they sang Happy Birthday to him before enjoying the cake and some fruit. He felt very special and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

The day after AJ's birthday celebration was the Easter celebration at school. The children watched a puppet show and then performed a little play. While that was happening, the Easter Hare gathered up the baskets they had made and hid them in the garden. In the baskets were a woolen bunny the children had made and a felted egg, about the size of a chook egg, they had also made and some wool for them to rest in. There were also some plant bulbs. The above photo shows AJ holding his basket and Nicholas excited for him.

While AJ's class was having the Easter Celebration, Sami's class had their performance as part of the Main Lesson Sharing that happens on a regular basis in the school. We missed it so the teacher gladly said they'd do a special performance just for our family. Here we are inside the classroom. Sami is the second student from the right wearing a brown shirt and black pants. The large wall hanging behind her is actually a woolen felted picture.

Sami, Nicholas and AJ on Easter morning.

What a busy time it's been lately! It started with celebrating my birthday a week early with my dear Dad and wonderful stepmum Frankie who called in on their way back from a trip to Brisbane to celebrate the launch of a book that Frankie had helped to illustrate. She's such a talented artist and a beautiful person on many levels. We had a lovely time with them. Then a week later we had my birthday which was a lot of fun. Cary and the kids had made a vegan chocolate cake that we had for breakfast. Sami wanted to go to school but AJ took the day off and spent the morning with us swimming at Sawtell beach followed by lunch with friends at the Sawtell surf club. I had a few surprise guests and had a great time. We made a yummy mexican dinner in the evening and just took it easy.

About a week later we had the celebrations at the school and then my sister and her family arrived for 4 days. We celebrated my birthday again, Easter and AJ's birthday early. After they left, we started preparing for AJ's birthday and party that he had on his actual birthday. We had 10 children, 3 toddlers and 5 adults plus our family at the party. After meeting here, we walked across the street to the playground to play. We were going to go down to the creek and run and splash there, but the kids were all having a good time at the playground so we just stayed there for a while. Then we came back over to our place for lunch and cake and more playing. It took us quite a while to get it all together between cleaning the house and making all the food but it went smoothly and a good time was had by all.

Since the party, we've been checking our clothes status for winter gear. The days are still beautiful here, usually in the mid to high 70's F. Though the nights and mornings are getting cooler. I took AJ to Target to get him some more long pants but he found everything too scratchy and uncomfortable. A pair of kids jeans there are $25! Yesterday we went to some thrift stores and ended up finding him 8 pairs of long pants of various kinds and colours that he actually liked and worked out at an average cost of $1.50. So I think we're all set for winter now. Nuke has enough clothes but we'll see if he will actually wear them. He's so particular about what he will wear.

We've still been playing lots of games here. Sami has really gotten the hang of mancala and sees the strategy of it. AJ can be walking past, look at the mancala game in progress and within seconds see how everyone should move. AJ constantly amazes me with some of his statements and questions. I'll never forget the question he asked one day about a year ago when he was just 5 years old. We were in the car on our way home from a gathering with our Life Learner friends. He was quietly gazing out of the window when he said "..what if WE were the ones in the snowglobe?"

Sami's been amazing us lately too. Her thoughtfulness has shown a maturity we were not expecting at this age. She's mellowed with AJ and they do not have the same number of challenges that they used to. She's been a really great helper with Nicholas and around the house in general. She has made some amazing connections in her own life that show how she is integrating herself into the larger world out there and how that all fits into the family life. I won't go into specifics, but it's beautiful to watch her blossoming right before our eyes.

Nicholas is incredibly busy. He is speaking more every day. He knows the names of a lot of the local birds and animals and can recognise some of the bird calls, like the kookaburra. Mind you, that is pretty distinctive, but we haven't heard them a lot lately so I was amazed when we did hear one the other day and Nuke said "burra!" We had three kangaroos grazing 3 feet away from our family room window yesterday evening. Nuke knew to be very gently and quiet while watching them graze. Which is amazing because most of the time he goes non-stop like a pile of nuclear energy. He confidently rides a three-wheeled scooter and every day he gets on the tricycle to see if his feet will touch the pedals yet. I must get him a small trike for his 2nd birthday in about 8 weeks time. And loud! Oh my goodness! He certainly wants to be heard.

I'd better get going. I'm going to pack a picnic and we're going to go and check out a gold mine near here. Then on to a labyrinth that I saw a sign for. I'm fascinated by swirls and labyrinths. I got some sidewalk chalk and drew some labyrinths on the pavers at the side of our house. They were great until the rain washed them away. Now I'm playing with a new design to try. Speaking of swirls and things, have you seen the go gratitude site? After watching this, you can sign up for the 42 day experiment which consists of daily emails which are lovely. I thought I had a pretty good appreciation of my life, but the emails did help to deepen that.

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