I simply want everything I do to be an act of worship to God. ********************EVERYTHING******************** like a spider's web, intricately woven, the threads of our lives are entwined, making us who we are, where we are, at this time in history.... here's a small record of one family's journey to love God

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

We're moving!

Not literally.
At least, not this week anyway (though we are going to an auction next week and will bid if it's the right price - but Father Bear expects the bidding to *start* at our limit - like the last one we went to!!!!)

My change of address is in cyberspace.
The hilariously-makes-you-laugh-out-loud-funny Sarah, who writes The Funniest Blog in The World commented on a discussion board that Wordpress leaves Blogger for dead. She gave some pretty compelling reasons as to why this is so....and I determined to show her how much I value her professional opinion and Made The Move. This time yesterday she was wishing she had not given any unsolicited advice as I emailed her every hour or so with very particular not confined to blondes technical unique to wordpress problems. I'm sure she would have given me undivided attention except that Karen (who recently moved from just-round-the-corner-to-me to very-far-away-from-me-and-not-too-far-from-Sarah) went to visit her. That would not have been so bad in and of itself - they could have emailed me together....but the visit meant that Sarah, who is obviously a Very Good Hostess, went out to buy milk, because she had visitors coming. And so I was left in the lurch without any help whatsoever until late at night when she was supposed to be doing business administration. Sarah's big trip out to the dairy caused me to drop from her memory and I suspect Karen-n-Sarah spent the day yakking instead of checking for my emails - I'm sure it didn't take All Day to buy milk.
Ah well, all's well that ends well.
Which reminds me, you don't know that all was not well.
At least not HOW BAD it was.

Wordpress is meant to be amazingly better.
It has more options and more themes and better commenting facilities and easier editing functions and fancy schmancy things called Widgets (that's the bit that sold it to me I think - coz let's face it, you only need one theme and you do nothing with the remaining 732 that you don't choose, except perhaps wonder if they would have looked better.....or, if you're like me, you try them all first and in the process lose half your posts and upload pictures that take over the whole computer screen).
I think you're starting to get the picture.
Wordpress was not all roses.
It ate an entire blog. It chewed up my header photo and spewed it out split into three horizontally. It would not let me access the kids' blog and suggested I transfer all hundred-and-something blogposts manually. It insisted on putting my pages in alphabetical order even when I ordered them numerically. And right back at the beginning it didn't tell me I would be stuck with my username forever....if I'd known that I would never have chosen a name with nineteen letters!
I still haven't worked out how to do anything with photos, but that is an invalid complaint right now as Father Bear played with the computer the other night and now the camera and computer are not talking to each other so I can't get photos anyway.
The camera and computer might not be talking, but Father Bear was talking to me. I have a sneaking suspcion that he got a bit nervous about my very nonchalant dropping of new words like "widget" into dinnertime conversation. Now you need to know I will never be mistaken for a techno-geek. Never. Father Bear, on the other hand, could be. Well, only if you heard him talking. If you *saw* him your fears would be allayed, because he really is quite stunningly striking/debonair/spunky/just plain gorgeous - tall, dark and handsome, that's him (though the dark now has to refer to his skin tone and not hair colour as that is becoming speckled).
Anyway, Computer Consultant Father Bear must have been a tad disconcerted that Blonde Wife could use a technical term he had not taught her (in fact, that was probably the hair to break the camel's back - she had been caught doing her own html-ing a few weeks earlier - the first html episode left Father Bear with a slight smile of admiration shimmering on his face, but this widget-talk turned the admiration to threatening-behaviour-alert)....and so he got involved in my blogworld....he even solved one of the Problems (quite funny really, in teaching me the solution, he talked about gif and png.....to Father Bear that is a such-n-such file "just like bitmaps or something else he said that I can't remember and didn't understand at the time"....to me they are gifs and penguins! I told you I wouldn't be mistaken for Computer Geek!)

There you have it. The transition from Blogger to Wordpress.
Here's the link.
Don't try this at home yourself unless you have a Sarah - and make sure you buy her a bottle of milk before you start.

Friday, August 3, 2007

speed quilting

twenty-four hours is all you need to make a quilt
(and supervise chores and knit a few rows and do some shopping and visit friends and cook dinner and read a chapter and grab some shuteye....)


the twenty-four hour quilt......
(complete with fluff that needs to be picked off but I'm oh-so-impatient about getting it onto the blog!)

Laying it on top of the Blue Quilt was probably not the most aesthetic thing to do, but I can't put it in the garden as it's raining! And I really *wanted* to lay it out on the dark brown bark...coz this is The Ghecko Quilt for The Ghecko Boy, who is turning five next week.

But I don't think it's *ever* going to stop raining, which takes me back to the impatient comment above.

TGQ is a leftover quilt: leftover ghecko material from the boys' shorts last summer, leftover cord from our lounge suite, leftover brown cotton from my pants, leftover checks and plain brown from the boys' jackets, lots of leftover suede (which never got made into what it was bought for - heehee) and a little cord that wasn't leftover, but *was* a bargain from the Sallies.

The back looks just as good as the front.....in spite of me throwing all caution to the wind and just picking up random pieces (Very Not Me, but it's how you Get It Done in 24hrs...and more importantly, Before The Birthday!)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

God Bless the Sallies

What a find at the Sally Shop....
(BTW, last week it became apparent that some of my smaller kids think the Sally Shop is so-called, because they *sell* things)
$2 for a bag of Very Useful Bits and Bobs.
More specifically, a latch hook hooky thing (OK, so not too much more specific!).
Not one, but two, darning mushrooms. Just yesterday J12 had brought me ER's wooden stacky toy thingy and suggested the base of it would make a good darning mushroom if only it were smaller. Well, now we have one each - and one of them is even red with little white dots. (Who said all preteens are into playstation and Harry Potter?)
There are self-cover buttons....just last week J12 learnt how to use these and made herself three buttons for a vest so her beady wee eye spotted them pretty quickly in the bag.
But wait, there's more.
Zips, thread, bias binding, Metal Things and a very cool wooden and metal contraption,which will probably need an Engineering Mind to devise a use for (or at least explain to me the intended use....all I know is it's something to do with a bobbin).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

ah the agony

The maths books had to be abandoned.
There was a Big Lie Incident.
How can you concentrate on Exciting Books when you're sleuthing and refereeing?
That's no rhetorical question - I have an answer.
It's quite simple really - I can't!

I can, however, make up a knitting pattern.
Looks quite nice don't ya think?

And while we're on the knitting theme, I finished this hat and vest this morning while the kiddos ate breakfast.

J11 has kindly offered to make the requested-by-M4-for-whom-the-vest-and-hat-were-made- pompom to dangle off the end of the hat. I valiantly started it myself, thinking how sweet it would be for me to make a *whole* something for my darling M4 all myself, but crikey, pompoms are BORING (and that's a word we don't use round here - except, of course, in Exceptional Circumstances - and this is one of them). J11 doesn't know it, but I would PAY him to do it! (I told you this was an Exceptional Circumstance). Now don't anyone go letting him know, OK.

(And yes, the vest is enormous for a four year old......but next week he'll be five....and next year when he's allowed to start wearing it he'll be six and I hope it'll last two years, by which stage he'll be eight....so methinks it's just perfect! Goodness me, it's nearly only one year till we go away!)

One last comment - I know I shouldn't have bothered doing a cable in a variegated wool, but I was finding the going round and round all the way from waist to armpits to be rather monotonous so I needed something *different* to do.......a pocket eventuated....and then I thought I'd better repeat the cable pattern at the top of the vest too. So even though you can't see it, I know that little labour of love and creativity is hidden in there;-) I had intended doing it up the hat aswell, but plain ol' forgot. So the hat is just plain ol'.

the height of excitement

There's nothing like hearing that knock on the door and racing up the hallway to discover, not a face-to-face-friend, but a New Friend all wrapped up in paper and cardboard and a big plastic bag.

Yesterday the first of our recent book purchases arrived. All the way from America.
Which ones would this box hold? Latin books? Knitting books? Farming books?
No, it was the maths books.

J12 and J11 are a good way through their first ever maths text book and they were keen to get a hold of A Human Endeavour after they're done this b*o*r*i*n*g, but useful one (to be honest, I'm impressed at how they are sticking with a book that is just page after page of sums - they are not *overly* enjoying it, but they can see how much quicker they are getting at the basic facts through their almost daily practise and they are ploughing on of their own free will).

We flicked through the new orange book briefly yesterday...there's no way we'll be waiting to finish the current book before starting this one. It's FANTASTIC. We didn't want to put it down, but other things (like dinner preparation) were calling and we had to be grown-up responsible people! Can't wait for the littlies to go for naps this afternoon (hence why I'm betting the blog out of the way now while I munch on grated carrot, lettuce from the garden and a fried egg).

We dipped into Challenge Math as well. I had bought that mistakenly thinking it was a small book and would be a great one to throw in the backpack for our seven months in China and Mongolia......it's not so small, but it's definitely coming with us!

And the last one: Ten Things All Future Mathematicians and Scientists Must Know (But are Rarely Taught). Well who could leave a book like that at Amazon?

We're looking forward to getting to know our new friends this afternoon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I really shouldn't have.

No brand new purchases-this-year-n-all-that-jazz.

I needed a button for my Kaffe Fasset-inspired blue bag. It used to be an open bag,

but I'm using it all the time and it bugs me that things *could* fall out (never mind that the whole bag fell off my shoulder in the carpark ~ I would never have noticed except that a lovely big burly workman shouted out to bring the misadventure to my attention. Bless his woolly worksocks.)

Anyway, I had added a "top bit" in very funky wool....

....and just needed two buttons to make it a closed bag. One had to be not too big, because one of the buttonholes didn't really work (not sure what I did wrong), so it will remain The Permanently Closed Side. The other one needed to be enormous, coz the buttonhole was gigantic (not sure what went wrong there either). I'd raided my own stash and found a suitable Permanent Button and put on the biggest one I had as the other, but it was too small and the bag kept popping open.

So I checked the local op shop clothes for Big Buttons.
No joy.
In an effort to support local business rather than The Big Red Shed, I ventured to Knitworld and they had Just What I Needed.
What's more, it was only 70 cents.

But did I have even a dollar on me?
No, not me.
And I felt silly using my Eftpos card for 70c.
So I had a quick sneak around hoping to find a cheap ball of wool to use for my last Sock Knitalong pair (it would be a reward for finishing all the unfinished socks, y'know)

There was no cheap wool.
But there was this:

Real sock wool.
Not chunky.
Will require more than 36 stitches to make a sock;-)
And needles so tiny you could mistake them for toothpicks.
But at the end of it I will have a pair of REAL socks.
Actually I hope to have four pair, all different.
All the girls have some purple in their Trip Clothes so this wool will be perfect.

I'm keen to knit both socks at once to avoid Second Sock Syndrome and I was fortunate enough to realize that if I did that working from opposite ends of the one ball of wool, the pattern would turn out upside down on one sock. Hence the TWO balls.
And that should be enough for six small socks and hopefully the tops of the last two!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Continuum Concept

I was going to write a review of Jean Liedloff''s book, but I think I'll just stick to the questions it raised for me and some Helpful Information.

1) Do people really *believe* that as babies we have expectations inside of us, which are dependent on what our ancestors experienced over millions of years????
2) How can someone who has visited a couple of remote tribes five times (totalling about two years with them) speak with such authority about how they never do this or always do that?
3) Closely linked to number 2, and assuming she's not a linguistic genius, wouldn't a huge amount of everyday interaction have gone over her head because she simply didn't understand? Perhaps the apparent total absence of arguing was merely due to the fact that they argue differently to us - just like they greet people differently and have different mealtime customs. Who knows?
4) Has she overlooked the problems that do exist in that society? (I'll be upfront with my underlying beliefs: I do not believe there is a perfect society anywhere around - of course, some may do better than others and we could all learn from each other....but none are perfect. So when someone writes a totally glowing report I am inclined to think they are romaticising it a bit. Call me cynical; I'm OK with that!)
5) How would she, as someone who obviously believes it is detrimental for a young baby to be "not carried" during the first six or so months, describe my children? With the exception of the one who cried from pain for hours a day (and he yelled whether he was held or not), they have all happily slept in an old cane pram.

We didn't experience the agonising screaming described in the book as children are separated from their mother and their world turns upside-down. When our little ones would wake we would attend to their needs and they seemed genuinely secure - certainly no signs of despair at all.

A few of them needed to be close to us for the first few days, especially at night. But this didn't last long - the worst was ER, the one who got the most holding out of all of them!!!!! She was only content if being held from 6 to 11 each evening...and this went on for about seven or eight weeks. There she is at *that* time of night:

However, this didn't last for anywhere near as long as Liedloff suggests, and she was more than happy to be separated from me during the day. How would Jean explain this?
6)At the risk of sounding like a defensive parent who didn't do what Liedloff said, I will ask my final question. Will parents be left feeling guilty if they don't follow her formula? It's not rhetorical.

I read this book having had a background of parenting reading that erred more on the side of "parents doing stuff to their kids".
So this book was VERY different, and in many ways, in spite of the fantastical (IMHO) assertions about humanity, it was a breath of fresh air.

I loved:
*the value placed on the *relationship* between parent and child
*the value placed on the children themselves
*the description of what a baby experiences upon entering the world - it explained in part for me, why our little ones really do *need* to be so close at the beginning. This was something I had *worked out* for myself (in spite of reading that books that were pretty strong on needing to teach bubbas to sleep right from the start and Plunket warning otherwise)......so I had spent nights sleeping with babes in my arms, mainly in that first week.
*the acknowledgement that babies are social
*the encouragement to allow your children to co-operate with you.
*not so much in the book, but certainly on her website, Liedloff talks very convincingly about children needing to be included in the adult world - not being the centre of the world, but just being an active participant. This is one of my soapboxes, and I'm more than happy to move over on it and share it with her!
*again, on the website, discussion about children needing to know parents are in control.
*the article about two women sharing their lives intimately - I have to admit I tire a little too easily of the pervasive view that if it's "tribal" it must be better than what we as modern white men are doing. So the terminology of this piece gets to me a little - but the sentiment of working together in community is definitely worth noting, and something we need to be intentional about these days if we live in suburbia.

Funny thing is, these ideas are not new. And I don't even think Liefloff can lay claim to them. They are Biblical ideas (OK, not the inbuilt-expectations-handed-down-from-ancestors-over-millions-of-years-bit....I mean the "good" bits!) And quite frankly, I find a Biblical worldview reflects the reality I see around me far more consistently than Liedloff's wild claims about *evolutionary expectations*.

But all in all, an interesting read.