The mad zoo that is family

Do you ever have days when the mere thought of putting on your parent hat just paralyzes you?You stay in bed in that half awake, half sleep state of warm bed, doona fug and hope that the 6am stirring from the next room is your dream, not your babe rousing. You hear a light being turned on the toilet flushing and you sense your eldest is up and now snuggled next to the heater reading.

For a moment you can roll over and pretend that there are not 6 mouths to feed today, 6 minds to expand, 6 souls to nurture. Not to mention the lunchboxes to be packed, the right uniforms and bags and forms made ready for school, the music practice to be done, hair to brush, mouths to wipe….

We rush about getting our days off to a start. I am always sluggish out of bed and I fight it every single day. I mutter my prayers from the haze and warmth of a sleep almost gone and find myself in a frenzy of family activity. Our very own zoo!

A has recently decided to get up at 6am with our eldest to read and practice music. This morning I came to life, serenaded by Star Wars theme music on the piano, followed by blues on the guitar….Allegro on the violin post breakfast and some recorder to boot. Music helps me to smile and I do watch in awe as each child grapples with something new they have learned on their instrument of choice. We do endeavour to fill our home with music and praise our God in song.Music helps me to smile when life is hard, when we fail as parents to do the best we can for our kids, when my desire for sleep makes me grumpy and unable to love those around me with grace.

We had a family trip to the zoo recently. It was amazing, walking around in the rain. The animals, they exist simply. No rush to start their day, a frenzy of activity, the to do list and blackberry in hand. Can’t you just hear the music the two baby elephants dance to in their pool of water? Or imagine the tranquil tune Ms Orang-utan hums to as she admires her nails.

What tune will you dance to today?

Holiday in Robe, SA

We have had 10 whole days away from work, people, demands, chores, stresses……well we have had each other. And you know what? It has been brilliant to have time together. Oh it is such a simple truth and idea really – the whole notion of a holiday and time together as a family. But this is the first time we have had so long in….I don’t know how long. We had 2 weeks in France in 2003 during our year away and that was not solid R&R but escape and adventure.
Robe is in South Australia on the Limestone Coast. Beautiful coast, surrounded by wineries…and plenty to keep us all occupied. We hired a house from this wonderful group We had a shack this time but it was moments from the beach and when you are trying to get 6 of us there and back quickly being close is really, really important. But due to the enormous amounts of sand and sunscreen I did not take the camera very often, so we have not captured much of the trip for you. But here goes….a few snaps of some fun times – here and home.

Hangin’ out with friends….

We have known these guys for many years….pre-children in fact. We managed to swim lots and eat out too. We visited the much publicised The Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld. Good food and particularly great kid’s meals.

This is A taking a much needed rest in a local park after lunch. And below is a photo Maddy took of Lily and me.

We now have 2 days alone before we take off to the beach for a much needed rest.

one more day to go

It is almost New Year’s Eve and we have made it to Melbourne. For the first time we have been on holiday over the Christmas period – we rented a new renovated beach house in
Point Lonsdale. Well the house was very comfortable and the idea of waking up there on Xmas day and then driving to Melbourne was even quite pleasant. However, post Christmas 4 out of 6 of us have been struck down with gastro. So we have had horrid nights of vomiting and waking babies followed by days of lethargic moping. Jakob at least now understands how cricket works, following hours of the test.

There is so much to be joyful about at this time of the year but the general busyness and materialism can suck the life out of you. We all have felt in need of a holiday, an escape and time to reflect. In some bizarre way, maybe this was God’s answer – just seems harsh with the gastro.

So now we are in Melbourne for a week to catch up with friends and play in our old haunts – a coffee at Brunetti’s, lunch at Tran Tran in Victoria St, yum cha in China Town, shopping at the Mediterranean supermarket in Sydney Road and a wander through Camberwell , Fed Square and so on. The week ahead is meant to be hot, unlike the last one……rain and hail. We so need the rain, but while we were at the beach??

Prior to illness I managed to read Alice Garner’s memoir, The Student Chronicles. We went through Melbourne Uni at the same time so I enjoyed reading another woman’s musings on university life. As a college student and eager CU member my take would be written differently, with interesting points of sameness. Like we were all handwriting or using a typewriter for our first year essays!

I am also churning my way through Yancey’s Prayer. I have found it challenging on many levels and quite meditative to read in small chunks. I had intended to cook last week but the gastro and with a commitment to cut down on coffee, alcohol and chocolate not much got done. I cannot wait to use the new Nigella Lawson cookie cutters I was given for Xmas…..sweet….alphabets!